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Branding the small business

Many small business owners tell me that they want to “build a brand name”, or “we are building a brand name”.

First, let’s answer the questions, why brand? The main advantaging of “branding” is to have your products enjoy a higher profit margin and greater customer loyalty than similar products of the same type. There are many components to the branding process, one is as follows: “ images loaded with sensory stimulation and the potential for emotional associations are the key to brand/product imagery positioning. Little or nothing is ever said about the product and no explicit statement of uniqueness is made.  Examples include “The Pepsi Generation”, “Coke is it”, The Marlboro Man”, and I am sure each of you can add to this list.

Another, simpler look, and which is easier to understand is as follows: Marketing is largely the art of brand building.

  • Step one is to choose a “brand name”, “and then its various meanings and promises must be built up through brand identity work. “The following are from Kotler on Marketing.
    • It should suggest something about the product’s benefits. (Beautyrest mattress, craftsman tools,)
    • It should suggest product qualities such as  action or color. (Sunkist oranges, spic and Span cleanser)
    • It should be easy to pronounce, recognized, and remember; short names help. (Tide, Crest, Puffs)
    • It should be distinctive. (Kodak, Exxon, Mustang)
    • It should not carry poor meanings in other countries or languages.
    • The best known brand names carry associations. For example, McDonald’s include: golden arches, Big Mac, Kids, Fun, Happy meal, etc.  The following are 5 dimensions that can communicate meaning.

Attributes. i.e. Mercedes brings to mind a well engineered car, rugged, expensive, etc

  • Benefits:  a strong brand should suggest benefits, not just features. Mercedes features include “prestigious to own”.
  • Company Values: a strong brand  should connote values that the company holds dear. Mercedes offers engineering innovations
  • Personality: if Mercedes were a person we can imagine a person  that is serious, well organized and somewhat authoritarian.
  • User: a strong brand should suggest the kinds of people who buy the brand. Mercedes buyers are affluent, professional.

This is the start of the brand building process. Tomorrow I will continue this brand building process. Most of my notes for this article come from a book,  Kotler on Marketing by Philip Kotler.

Building a brand is an ongoing process. Marketing is the key to the success of most small businesses and that marketing has to be based on the results you want your brand to exemplify.

The difference between the rich and the poor is that the rich invest their money and spend what’s left, while the poor spend their money and invest  what’s left.

Nick J. Petra    Certified Financial Planner      Business Consultant and Coach

When success is of paramount importance, call on the Strategic Duck.

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