Here’s the funny thing about branding –
People instinctively associate the term with a nice logo and maybe a bit of marketing. It is also only something done by big, established, companies. Small business owners tend to shrug their shoulders and say: “we don’t need a brand. It can wait till later…”
But in my discussions with small business owners I realise that the real power of developing a strong brand for your business does not lie externally with finding new customers. The real benefit lies internally. Put simply, small businesses need to focus on building their brand first and foremost for their own sake.
The thing with a brand is that in order to develop it requires a real sense of clarity about the business. The type of clarity that makes for a better business, never mind a better brand. In this way it is counter intuitive: The most important reason why a small business should build its brand is not so that outsiders can understand what the business sell, but so that insiders can understand what the business is.
The below chart is from a blog post entitled: Is your brand a flash in the night sky? by the Seattle based agency copacino+fujikado. I believe one can rephrase their title to read: Is your business a flash in the night sky?
Venn diagram Authentic Differentiating Relevant
Take a careful look at the above figure. In order to build a strong brand, you need to be clear on three things:
  1. Authenticity: what is the soul (culture + purpose) of my company?
  2. Relevancy: what is important to my target market?
  3. Difference: what makes me different from competitors?

Answers to these three questions don’t just make for great brands, but for stronger companies.

I see too many business that start and stagnate. They become mediocre too soon. Not bad and bankrupt, but also not flourishing and growing. Just average. And it strikes me how often these mediocre businesses have mediocre brands. It boils down to a simple fact: careful consideration of your brand forces you to pay careful consideration to your business.

Ultimately, no small business should be without a strong brand. Counter to popular believe, this has nothing to do with marketing and advertising and aggressive selling. It has all to do with developing a strong & sustainable business.

Brand your business for your own sake.