What is a Brand? How Does a Small Business use Branding?

 

What is a brand? A brand is the sum of people’s perception of a name, a company logo, the products carrying the brand, and the packaging of the product. If you are in the business of selling, you are either selling your own brand, selling the brand of another or in most cases, doing both. Unfortunately, most businesses do understand the importance of brand. However, they fail to organize, or better yet capitalize behind it.

 How do we know that Small Business Owners are failing?

“In a recent report, it was discovered that 47 percent of Small Business Owners either aren’t sure or don’t think their customers spend time on social media sites. Further, 24 percent of Small Business Owners don’t think their customers do research online before finding them” (Barone, 2011)

Branding Makes You Stand Out in the Crowd

Branding is also important in the marketing of services such as the Painless Dentist or the Computer Geeks. Branding attracts certain types of people and makes a small business stand out in the crowd. Branding may not make you seem to be all things to all people but it will make you important to some people.

When developing a business, you should find a need then tailor to that need. If you create a product and then hope people need it, your success will likely be short. Your brand should be treated the same way. Target a need or concern and meet an expectation.

Kohl’s has done fairly well with this, while much credit has been given to the brand in being a great “price for value”, the Kohl’s brand has started to shift from general value to specific. When Kohl’s started excepting any item for return at any time, they shifted from value when you shop, to value for life. In response would be casual shoppers started spending at Kohl’s like it was an investment.

Over time a company normally develops a brand identity, through customer experiences and the perceptions of others who are outside the business. Creating a brand identity is different but it takes a lot of the chance out of the situation since creating a brand identity is carefully thought out and carried out consistently across the product lines and services that are offered. This ensures that the effects of branding have a positive impact on customers and also attracts potential customers to your brand.

How Does a Small Business Use Branding?

Major brands have strong corporate identities; these companies spend a lot of money making you remember their name, their look, and their products. This is branding, and it is a carefully thought out process that is important for large and small businesses alike. Branding makes people remember you and hopefully put you on the top of their list which can make or break the success of a small business.

To be successful a small business should:

  • Discover what they do best and then do it.
  • Do what you do best over and over again.
  • Quality customer service is also important when trying to establish a brand.
  • Consistency in packaging, advertising, and quality will make your brand and your small business stand out in people’s minds.

Developing a specific identity and then communicating your identity consistently is key to creating a brand identity. Social Media has created a great new tool for Small Business Owners to capitalize on strategies used by the big boys for centuries.

More than just being on social media, consumers want a Small Business Owner to establish a real presence there. (Barone, 2010)

For example:

  • 81 percent say it’s important for businesses to respond to a post.
  • 78 percent want to see promotions.
  • 74 percent want regular posts.
  • 66 percent want to see pictures.

Summary:

Brand or Branding, is a crucial part of any business in any field, while you may be successful with what you do, without a brand strategy you will never reach your full potential. This may feel fine to you, just realize that your capitalization will be limited by the “brand” investment you have put into your concept, product or business.

Sources:

Fan Page List, retrieved October 28, 2010

Kohls.com retrieved on December 28, 2010.

Las Vegas Business Press retrieved on December 30, 2010

Small Business Trends retrieved on Jan, 2 2011.

Wenatchee Business Journal retrieved on December 30, 2010

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

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