If you’ve been running a business for a while, your business has a brand reputation. Your business is a brand, whether you know it or not. People associate your business with something, either positive or negative and have a view of what they think of it. This perception of your business in the minds of customers and competitors is your brand. Right there.

I remember when I was in school, decades ago, every now and then someone would join our class halfway through the year from another school. Their parents have relocated and now they are joining our school. When this happened we would not know where this new person fits in, who will be their friends, what they are like as a person and whether we would like them. In essence, they didn’t yet have a brand. On the other hand, those of us moving from one year to the next all had a clear social status. We knew our place and had known friends and foes. The same applies in business.

When your business is the new kid on the block, you don’t yet have a brand. No one knows what to think of you which is why it is so important for a new business to go the extra mile to establish a presence. Marketing investment should be higher in the beginning! On the other hand, when you have been operational for a few years your business already has a reputation and your job becomes to actively manage it. As the business owner you need to maintain the brand of the business through consistent marketing that reaffirming your presence. Depending on where you are in this cycle, you need to follow a specific marketing strategy – this is what many in marketing don’t understand.

Taking a strategic view of your marketing means starting off with a good look at the status of your business brand. How people perceive your business in the market? You then need to develop a clear plan to enhance the positives and eliminate the negatives. Marketing is first and foremost an exercise in brand management and should be approached as such.

You can’t do marketing strategically if you don’t understand your brand position in the market. Are you the new one with no friends? The nerdy one? The naughty one? It’s like a classroom! What do people think of your business and how do you actively manage it through your marketing!