Why branding matters for small business

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Why Branding Matters

People don’t buy products, they buy the benefits of the products; you buy a camera to capture memories and not just take pictures.

People use brands as a one way of realising a benefit – just think of any of the coolest brands. They all work on the subconscious or conscious belief that there is an added benefit over their competition simply because of the brand.

Brands work by:

  • Making identical products seem different – Milk (Cravendale for example)
  • Developing positive expectations which are self-fulfilling – Moet and Chandon
  • Inspiring loyalty – Apple, Coca Cola
  • Creating perception of quality – Volkswagen
  • Instigating trust – ella’s kitchen

However on average people:

  • See 3000 branded messages a day and over 1,000,000 a year


  • They only noticed 80
  • And reacted on 10

Simply put brands fail due to all of this “brand noise” we are exposed to. If large companies with larger marketing budgets struggle to connect with potential customers how can early stage businesses established their brands?

Put briefly brands should be:

  • Clear
    • The aspects of the brand should be easy to explain and understand. Complicated and lengthy brand promises are easily forgotten. Think about the cool brands again – they all have a clear promise and message.
  • Consistent
    • The many aspects of the brand should be consistent with the company, the products and most importantly the target audience. This includes the message, the colour palette used, the logo, the strapline – the list goes on. Brands are built through colour consistency – so much so Easy Jet tried to take Orange to court over the use of the colour Orange and likewise Cabury’s have lost a case which relates to the colour purple. Brands are built through consistent messages – think of Carlsberg and their use of probably the best….

How can we translate that into something memorable for a small business?

Firstly we must work out what the overall objectives of the business are. What do we want to achieve, what is the overall goal? We need to know where we are going before we set off on the branding journey.

Secondly we need to decide who to seek the opinions of and then ask them. These are people that will be important to the business – existing customers, prospective customers, staff, friends, family. Getting their thoughts is important as you may be too close to the business to provide an unbiased opinion.

Finally create a brand promise. A brand promise is a promise to deliver something in a particular way, act in a particular way, achieve certain results. Think of Marks and Spencer with their Plan A. This will be the “personality” of the brand so try and ensure it’s something that matters to your existing and prospective customers and something they can relate to. It is also something that you and your staff have to believe and be able to deliver. You and your staff represent the brand of your company just as much as the logo and strapline.

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