what a strong brand does for small business

brand-as-business bit:  I recently spoke at CAMEX, the trade show and educational event for the collegiate retailing industry, produced by the National Association of College Stores.  My topic was “More Walk, Less Talk: Build Your Brand through Culture & Customer Experience and I inspired and taught attendees how to drive their brand promise into their company culture and implement a brand-building mindset throughout their organization, and how to translate their brand into compelling customer experiences.

One of the attendees wrote me after the conference saying, “We are a small regional group of stores and e-commerce serving the fans and alumni of X University.  I am not sure that we would meet your criteria for brand building when our marketing niche is so small.” (name of the school is withheld to protect the writer’s privacy)

I was disappointed to hear that the writer didn’t see the relevance of brand-building to his small business and that he seemed to see brand-building as relevant only to marketing.  I wrote back, “I know of many small businesses that are great brands, and as Robert Allen says, ‘The future you see is the future you get.’  When it comes to brand-building, greatness is not about size, it’s about creating a lasting, valuable connection with your customers.”  I hope I was able to encourage him to think differently about his brand.

In light of this exchange, I thought it would be good to resurrect a piece I wrote last year for OPEN Forum, What a Strong Brand Does for Small Business.  I hope all small business owners out there will read my article or take a listen to this podcast:

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