• Andy Whiting

Your small business and the importance of building a BRAND




The most common mistake I come across when working with small business clients is that they don’t spend enough time on defining and building their brand. And when I say ‘brand’ I don’t just mean a nice logo. Your brand is much more than a logo or the colours you use on your website. It is about the PROMISE you make to your customer. Your brand helps signify the quality, value and experience of your product or service.  


For example, let’s look at a weekly food shop ...


If I say that I’m going to Lidl for my weekly shop, you will instantly know that price is paramount to me. The store layout may be a bit higgledy-piggledy and customer service less attentive, but you’d expect great value. Whereas if I go to Waitrose I’ll pay a premium for my weekly shop in comparison, but the store layout, customer service, quality and range of produce is second to none. This knowledge of each store is based on the brand offer, values and promise they have created for their customers.

Of course this is now a raging debate in the world of grocery shopping. Lidl and Aldi have forced the likes of Waitrose, M&S etc to really examine the needs of a more price conscious shopper, by introducing their lower cost/value ranges too. Brands like most things in life can’t stand still, so they continually need to evolve based on the economic, social and technological times they are faced with. So how do you want your business brand to be perceived? Are you the cheapest in your area, the fastest to offer your service, or maybe your view is that quality and workmanship takes time, patience and deserves to charge a more premium price? Are there other things that set you apart from your competitors, for example are you a champion of environmental issues whilst delivering your product or service? In marketing we often use the seven P’s of the marketing mix as a strategic tool to help position a business  ...

Price - What is the cost and value of your product in relation to your competitors? It’s not always suitable to be the cheapest. Do you provide offers or a loyalty scheme discount?  Product - What is the quality and what does it look and feel like to use your product or service? Do you offer follow up or on-going support or maintenance? Place - Where do your customers buy your product or access your services? Promotion - How do your customers know about your business? How do they find you to begin with? People - Are you a one-person business or do you have a team? How do you or your team represent your business to customers? How do you train them to be ‘on brand’? Process - What do customers need to do when using your product or service, how do they interact and how do you evaluate their experience? Physical Evidence - What is it like to visit your store, premises, website or handle your products? What is your customer experience like? When I work with clients, whether it’s on a new website, a new logo or an entire marketing strategy, my initial task is to get under the skin of the brand, understand the brand PROMISE and devise a branding and marketing solution that is appropriate for them. For me, a brand that I’ve encountered that has really nailed this is Apple. From the moment you visit their website, walk into an Apple store or unwrap your newly purchased device at home you know what you are getting … and will happily pay premium for the experience. And with regular new models being released they keep us coming back for more. What brands have you encountered that have really embraced and succeeded (or failed!?) at this approach, I’d love to hear your thoughts?

Look out for my next BLOG ... it is all about my experience of starting up my own business and starting over after redundancy a few years ago.

Thanks for reading.


www.andywhiting.com

Brand & Marketing Consultant

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