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Small Business Branding : You Can't Avoid It

You can't avoid branding, so make it work for you, not your competitors. Many business owners believe branding is only for the big guns, for major companies with large marketing budgets. People that run small and medium sized businesses often have a reluctance to invest in branding. But branding isn't about what you believe. It's what your customers and potential customers believe.

EWO Consulting can help you build and promote your brand to your strategic advantage.  We have graphic designers in-house so we can start with a blank sheet of paper and support you throughout your branding journey.

Here's the secret:

In the hearts and minds of your customers, you have a brand whether you strategically create it and nurture it, or not.

Therefore branding is relevant to any business no matter how large or small.

So what is a brand?

A brand is more than a name - it's a perception in the market about what your company or products represent. Since the early 70s branding and positioning have been inextricably linked.

"Positioning is not what you do to the product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect." Al Ries (1972; "Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind" by Jack Trout and Al Ries).

It's easier to understand branding and positioning if we work backwards. Every company or product has its position in the market. Your customers have their own perception of your position. For example, they might perceive you as:

  • The established leader a strong number two
  • The most experienced a new player with potential
  • Good with small clients the biggest operator
  • Premium quality cheap alternative
  • Most reliable product best service support
  • Stable and proven most innovative

The list is endless and it varies depending on the market you are in. Your company or product might fit in to more than one, but there's usually one element (positive or negative) that resonates in their perception of your company or product. It 's a position that your brand occupies in the mind of your customer.

Is this perception rational or emotional?

Extensive studies in recent years have shown that most decisions we make are emotionally driven. We may be able to support them rationally, sometimes with amazing intellect and logic, but they're born in emotion.

University of Washington : "Brain scan imaging supports the idea that every time you have to make a choice in your personal life, you need to feel the projected outcome of each choice - subconsciously or intuitively. You then make that choice according to the projected feeling."

Michael Newman, Creative Director of ad agency DNA and author of "The 22 Irrefutable Laws of Advertising (and when to violate them)": "Human decision making is emotional, spiritual, political and, perhaps least of all, rational. The truth is, we aren't really rational beings. We are more human than that."

It's worth repeating:

In the hearts and minds of your customers, you have a brand whether you strategically create it and nurture it, or not.

If you have ignored branding, for whatever reasons, then the good news is there is an untapped marketing edge you can explore in your business. For a business with minimal marketing budget and tight market, branding can provide a cost-effective edge over your competitors.

So is a strong product or business name important to good targeted branding?

Yes, a relevant and memorable company or product name is important to a strong brand. But so is almost everything else you do in your business. Anything that may affect the perception of your customer affects the value of your brand.

A simple but important key is to know the values and image you want your brand (company or products) to represent. It's surprising how many small to medium businesses ignore this basic step in building their business.

Then it is important that your staff, bank, customers, suppliers, competitors and alliances all have the same perception. Like most business principles, establishing and maintaining a good branding isn't rocket science. It just requires some focus.

Every business, no matter how small, will be a stronger business with the right approach to branding. EWO can help you quickly analyse your brand and positioning and work with you through the process of creating, re-aligning or building your brand strategy.

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"Eyes Wide Open have enabled brand awareness to become a staff-wide responsibility and in doing so has meant that all the business is engaged in the journey."

Jeff Jones, CEO Total Construction

"EWO excelled from helping to clarify our strategy and message right through to the development of exceptional digital and physical branding for Xacom."

Matt Kirwan-Hamilton, Chairman Xacom

"Without that work completed with EWO we certainly wouldn’t have been in the good position we are in now to expand to the next level."

David Crampton, Vantage Freight

"The staff at EWO are very friendly, patient, eager to please and very good at what they do. We gladly recommend EWO as we are very happy with the final product and very much value the relationship built with EWO team members along the way. "

Mandy Glendenning, National Business Manager ATEL