Whether you realise it or not, you already have a brand.You may not think your firm has a brand but chances are pretty good that it does, and if you’ve got a brand you need to manage it, to get everything you can out of it.
Branding is consistently presenting the personality of your business. It consists of your business name, your logo and all your communications. It is really important to see your brand as a business asset that translates into valuable goodwill when the business is sold. The investment you make in branding will be reflected in the sale price, years from now.
A Brand Is Not Just For Big Business
You might think that only big companies have a brand but almost every business has a brand – including yours.Brands can be worth a lot of money to a business. They can be very good for you when looking for new customers or for retaining existing ones. But they do require management to be effective.
Your Brand Is You
We get the word ‘Brand’ from an old Germanic word meaning ‘Torch’. In earlier times slaves were branded with a hot iron so owners could find them if they tried to escape. Farmers still brand their livestock today for purposes of identification.
Most businesses these days have a logo – a graphic symbol of the firm and a way of indicating what they do in business. But that’s not all there is to a brand.
Your brand defines you and your business; it is a combination of what you are and how others see you. You have already made an impression (good or bad) on suppliers and customers even if you’ve never advertised or promoted your business.
Where Do Brands Live
Some brands are so strong they actually live in our heads. Who or what are they:Coca Cola, IBM, Holden, Nokia, Dell, Toyota, Nike, Woolworths, Target
More Than Just A Logo
The most important thing to understand about a brand is that it can be represented by a logo or some other symbol but it’s much more than that…and managed properly it can be worth a lot of money to you.
It is widely recognised that Coca-Cola’s brand value alone is worth as much as the total tangible asset value of Ford, Sony, American Express, Kodak, Ikea and Shell combined. And each of these are very valuable brands by any measurement.
Take On The Big Guys With Your Brand
The owners of most small brands have an inferior complex about taking on the big brands. But why should they?
Any coffee shop can survive a ‘Dome’ up the road. If it does a better job than Dome on everything it does.
Small brands can be more flexible than one that’s locked into a product or delivery system that can’t move fast enough. Small brands can be more creative, especially when circumstances around them change.
A small brand can get closer to its customers and actually mean a lot more to them than what is, on the surface at least, a much better-known global brand.
Brands Are A Strategic Tool
If you ‘build’ your brand you have access to a new weapon in the battle for market share. Your brand will help you combat the attempts of competitors to enter your territory, help you retain existing customers by leveraging their loyalty.
Having a recognised brand also enable you to avoid discounting and maintain pricing levels when less-recognised brands are cutting theirs.
How Do You Establish Your Brand
• Start with a business name and be careful in selecting it – try to ensure it covers what you do…but don’t let it be too narrow in its focus. Is it easily read? Is it easily pronounced? Does it have negative connotations? Is it too restrictive? Does it represent where you want to be?
• Position your brand in the market place. Do you want to be known for high quality and high price…or is it low quality and low price, or perhaps it’s a different combination of these positions. But you need to know where you want to be.
• Get you brand up in lights – use it in everything – your letterhead, business cards, signage, all promotional material, website and so on. Even extend it to the way you answer the telephone.
• Get your team involved – your team should be part of all your marketing. Make sure they know what you want to do, provide uniforms for them – give them a chance to share the pride and ownership of the brand.
• Be consistent – The name should be used in the same way wherever it appears. Make sure the quality is maintained at a high standard. And your brand should also be reflected in every aspect of your business performance
• A familiar brand name is more acceptable to consumers
• The good attributes of a brand are seen to carry over to any new product
• A familiar brand name is more acceptable to resellers
About David Officen
David is the Founder and Managing Director of proCFO. David combines an accounting and consulting background with commercial experience both as a manager for large commercial businesses and as the owner of private and family businesses.