brand-building for small businesses

brand-as-business bit:  I just taught “Why Small Businesses Need Brands and How to Build Them,” a session in Marketing Profs University course on Marketing Your Small Business.

I talked about how brands don’t only create value for large companies — they’re also important to small businesses.  A couple of reasons:

Small businesses need to build relationships with suppliers and distributors, the media , investors, local government, banks, etc.  You need to stand out among the sea of proposals or plans they are inundated with and you need to be crystal clear about what your value is so they will want to business with you.  A brand can help you do just that — a thoughtfully-designed brand identity and substantive brand story communicate what the company stands for and express it in a memorable, compelling way.  If your company doesn’t have the salience and clarity that a strong brand provides, your business is likely to be passed over by these people without a second thought.

Also small businesspeople have so many decisions to make and a brand serves as a compass for making them.  For example, the pressure to grow and produce immediate results can lure entrepreneurs into pursuing areas outside the company’s initial charter.  While branching out into a new technology or adding to your service offering may make sense when viewed through the lens of short-term growth, these distractions divert precious dollars and manpower away from your top priority – that is, developing a strong and sustainable core offering.  Because a brand embodies the values of the company, it can serve as a decision-making filter when you and others are evaluating growth opportunities.

Heather Rast, the course curator, tweeted some of the other points I made — here’s a screen grab of her Twitter feed during the session:

P.S. If you’re interested in the course, it’s recorded for use on demand.  Use my code “BRANDASBIZ” when you register to save $200!

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