I’m starting a business and wanted to get your thoughts on branding. How do I go about creating a well known and liked brand?
This is an excellent question and is another one I’m constantly covering with my private coaching clients.
‘Branding’ is the big marketing buzz-word at the moment, and it has been for a few years now.
We all know that massive companies like Coca-Cola and McDonalds spend hundreds of millions on branding, so it seems logical that the same principals will work for our small businesses, right?
Well the thing is that those massive companies spend that money so that years down the road people have a positive associations with their products and will choose them over the competition. The problem here is that it does take many years and an immense amount of money to get good results.
Your small business doesn’t have the luxury of a great deal of time and a huge excess of money, so branding in its traditional sense isn’t a great idea.
Instead of putting your efforts into creating positive brand associations design a killer Unique Selling Position that completely separates you from the competition.
The Costs of Branding
Branding works by creating a positive association to a product or service so that when a person needs that product or service the brand pops into their head and is the obvious choice.
For this to work you need people to see your brand dozens of times before it is committed to memory, and it needs to be associated with something positive (beauty, happiness, wealth etc)…
The cost of this is obviously enormous.
Imagine the advertising cost to get your brand in front of just 20% of the people in your city at least a dozen times per person (enough for them to remember). You’d be looking at hundreds of thousands, and probably millions of dollars, with the hope that it will result in profits down the road.
The Smarter Approach
For small businesses who obviously can’t follow the business system above, the smartest approach is to simply create advertisements that are targeted specifically to the few people in your city who are looking for what you offer right now, and then give them a reason to choose you over anyone else (this is your Unique Selling Position).
This way you might be advertising to just a fraction of a percent of the people in your city, but they will all be interested in what you offer right now, so your costs will be very low, and profits will be returned very quickly!
So Is Branding Useless?
No, it’s still valuable to create branding elements such as a business logo and business colours that remain constant through all your work, such as on your business card, website, portfolio and in any material such as your new client kit and legal documents.
But we need to get over the idea of using the strategies massive companies are using in our small businesses. Simply realising that branding isn’t something to stress about will free you to look into the more effective alternatives.
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