- What about branding?
- How do I get my brand out there?
The answers may be obvious to some and rocket science to others; but they are vitally important. At the time I opted for the safe answer and replied with a question: How important is your brand to you? The majority of attendees nodded and muttered that it was very important. But many business owners miss the point of branding and so I followed up with a story. When I was involved in the music business – an industry in which the artists rely on their names and talent to keep them in the limelight – I remember sitting with artists on more than one occasion as they tried to find names that were cool, hip and happening. You can imagine some of the obscure results that came out of those late night sessions. Far too many creative minds in a small recording studio and so many crazy ideas…
At the end of one particularly long night, I turned to the band in question and said: “A name means nothing until it’s famous.” They were stunned into silence. I’ve repeated these words when meeting with clients who are looking to rebrand ever since.
Power to the brand
To build a powerful small business brand there are a number of big business brand rules you need to follow.
What’s in a name? Many entrepreneurs name their businesses after things that hold meaning for them, and miss the opportunity to concisely describe their offering. Those most guilty are professionals such as attorneys and accountants. They use names such as Johnston and Associates, which could be a group of plumbers or bricklayers for all we know. Look at your name. Does it describe your core activity? If not, consider adopting a brand identity statement (BIS). This is a short phrase that explicitly describes your offering. Don’t confuse this with a slogan – your slogan should be creative and catchy, whereas your BIS is a descriptor such as marketing consultant, web strategist, pool services etc.
How do you ensure continuity? Brand continuity is the next important element. A strong name, creative logo and brand identity statement that resonates are important to those who think you’re famous – your customers. But what you deliver builds brand credibility and trust. That familiar phrase – people like doing business with people they like – rings true. Once a client or prospect recognises your brand as trustworthy and credible, building a lasting business relationship will be easier. All your marketing collateral and stationery must be fully branded.
Who looks after the brand? Many large businesses employ brand custodians who protect how the brand is used across mediums from print to television and radio. Their guidelines are often incredibly strict; right down to dictating the spacing that must be maintained between the logos and any other copy. This is done to protect the integrity of the brand that has been nurtured at much expense over the years. Small businesses can learn from this. Protect your brand because it is famous to those who know it now, and will be famous to those who come to know it in the future.
Your brand should resonate with the people you want to target and entrench itself in their minds so they become brand loyal. Is branding really that important? Well, let’s put it another way: Is making a success of your small business really that important?
About the author: Darryl Comley‐White is a DerekJay Expert. For the past 8 years Darryl and his team at Market Magnet Consulting has helped hundreds of businesses and individuals grow their bottom line profits without spending unnecessary money on advertising. For more information, courses, audiobooks and eBooks, visit www.DJEvents.co.za.