QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
“Who knows you best? You do. That’s why it is imperative that you tell
people clearly and concisely who you are, what you do, how you do it,
and how your business, service, talents and experience are useful to
them or to someone they know.” Lisa Bentson, President Leads Club Inc.
By Jason Eisner5 Minute
For many small businesses, branding is as mysterious as the meaning
of life and makes BAS statements seem like a ‘walk in the park’. Far too
many small businesses fail at marketing because they fail to
understand the importance of branding as an outcome of their
marketing strategy. Branding is the ‘repeated and consistent’
messages that create awareness of your benefits, and lay the
groundwork for a trusting relationship.
There are many misconceptions that SME’s don’t have the need,
resources or ability to brand themselves. Let’s explore three of the
most common branding myths and clear a path for a better
understanding of how you can, and why you should effectively brand
As a small or medium business owner you may believe
branding is something only large corporations with big
name products and huge budgets can do. The fact is all
companies, irrespective of their size, product offering, or
market position need to create and nurture a brand identity.
And critically, the way to build your brand is to start today.
Every large corporation started as a small business at one time or
another. News Limited, Westfield, Qantas, Harvey Norman and many
other household names all started as a humble, small business with a
better idea or a better way of doing things and a big ambitious goal.
When these businesses opened their doors nobody had ever heard of
them. They were just another unknown start-up looking to make a sale,
gain a customer and survive until the next month.
Sound familiar to you? Yet each of these companies (and almost every
other big company like them) created a brand that steadily evolved as
their dream and their company grew. The common thread they shared
is they all found the “unique value” that made them stand out from
everyone else in the marketplace. This “one thing” was their unique
value, points of difference or customer proposition they offered the
market that their competitors did not posses or could not match.
Creating and communicating the unique value your company offers,
regardless of your size, is just one of the 6 unique foundations of a
successful brand. As a SMB, you need to discover the “one thing” in
your business and build your efforts around it and then communicate it
with great consistency and passion.
Big Brand Myth #1: “Branding is
only for the Big-Boys with lots of
Big brand Myth #2: “If the product or
service is right…the customers will come”
Unfortunately, this overconfidence and delusion that
the customer is ‘waiting for your product’ is the
downfall of many honest and well intentioned
entrepreneurs. They dismiss one of marketing’s
People only buy from you when they know and trust you.
Hearing about you or recognising your name is not enough.
Launching your web site, printing business cards, and placing yellow
pages ads online may be acceptable methods of announcing you are
‘open for business’ but ‘positioning’ your company in their mind as one
they can trust requires much more. Today’s consumers are well
educated, busy, and possess many alternatives to your product in the
Recognizing your business name is only the first step in a journey that
requires numerous branding encounters or customer ‘touch-points’. In
order to understand the customer, you must first ‘seek to understand’
the customer motivations – in order to provide a relevant and salient
message delivered to satisfy their immediate, or future needs.
When you make a decision to do more than simply “get your name out
there” you will be on your first step to developing a marketing strategy
which in turn will develop branding ‘tactics’ that will give you the
competitive advantage over your competitors.
This is great news for you if your competitors think like this. However, if
you buy into this statement you are heading for deep, deep trouble. No
product or service is good enough to sustain growth in a dynamic and
highly competitive marketplace without any marketing and branding.
This is why the ‘big boys’, having got to their lofty market leader
positions, continue to invest millions of dollars each year on
maintaining their brand image (along with their market share and
profitability). Your product may be the greatest thing since sliced bread
but without consistent branding it will become as stale as last week’s
The one constant in business is change. No matter how good your
product or service is, it will face competitors that are aspiring to
overtake it. Your target market is always looking for a better, cheaper,
more innovative, more efficient way to solve their problem and your
competitors are busy scheming to provide it to them.
This is a serious threat to your business when you choose not to have a
marketing strategy to drive brand tactics. When you operate on the
notion that your product sells itself, you are at high risk of becoming a
marketing “DUFF-er” – this is a terrible ailment that results in lost sales,
low credibility and eventually, disappearance.
“DUFF-er” stands for the three negative emotions of:
Doubt; Uncertainty; and Fear.
Without branding to protect and defend you,
your competitors will attempt to paint a
unflattering picture of your product to a potential
customer so that it becomes less desirable to them.
This is not ‘fair play’ of course. But then it happens
all the time in a competitive marketplace. Without
branding, you hand your competitors the perfect
opportunity to dictate the conversation with ‘your’ prospect.
The troubling thing is you have little defence against their scurrilous
attacks because you have no marketing strategy to drive your branding
tactics and overcome the Doubts, Uncertainty and Fear being placed in
the mind of ‘your’ customer. You have handed over control of your brand
– and it’s entirely your fault.
You must take control of your brand, and therefore
control your (business) destiny. You must nurture and care for it. You
must overcome the ‘Brand Myth Makers’ and you must begin branding
today – each day wasted is another day before your brand will become
robust, recognized and rewarded in the marketplace.
If you want to grow your business, a marketing strategy that is the
foundation of your branding tactics is as important as a sound financial
Author Jason Eisner (area of expertise – Strategic marketing and operations) offers 15 years of
strategic marketing and operations experience in senior management and consulting. Jason’s worked
in the US with Andersen/Accenture and The Cambridge Group (a Chicago and New York based
boutique marketing strategy) and in Australia with SME companies. Jason has a Bachelor of
Commerce from UNSW and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Chicago,
learning from the guru’s Dr Philip Kotler. Jason heads up strategic planning and growth development,
being a popular speaker at seminars on developing effective strategies and judging on business
panels. Jason Eisner is currently a Director of BrandQuest, a leading brand and marketing strategy
consultancy. Source: Kochie’s Business Builders http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com.au
Brand Myth #3: “Our product sells itself –
and we save on marketing and branding”
The bottom line is:
So what are you waiting for?
My door is open
Are you there?
One of the most common mistakes
SMBs make is the belief that
prospective clients are sitting around
just waiting to purchase their product
or commit to their service. Confident
that what they have to offer is the best
product and everyone in the market
will be running to them with money in
hand, beating down their doors to
make a purchase.
And when the customer comes “they’ll come back again and again and
again” and their sales will increase incrementally.
Coffee News comment: Trust takes time – Coffee News has been
specifically designed for low-cost, long-term, affordable
marketing that allows you to share your ‘repeated and
consistent’ message and lay the groundwork for the market to
develop trust in your message. Give Coffee News a call now and
see if your category is available.
CoffeeMail18 © All rights reserved 2010 Sue Mazur – Coffee News publishers can reproduce this newsletter. Please give credit to the resources and authors if reproducing. TM
Overcoming the Myths of Branding