In our last post, we highlighted some strategies to build and establish your SME brand. As a reminder, your brand is like your reputation as a person. It is what helps your customers recognise and decide if they want to do business with you.
Think of Giant’s massive yellow and green signature, Nike’s swoosh sign, Coca-Cola’s red colours and contoured bottles, Jimmy Choo’s four-inch stiletto heels, or even Air Asia’s “Now Everyone Can Fly” slogan. Branding seems simple enough and easy to get right. Unless you are doing it wrong.
So, you have gone ahead and created a great business name, logo, and tag line, and set up accounts on all the social media platforms. And now you are sitting back and waiting. Still, no customers are rushing to your store.
How is that even possible?
Well, you could be doing it wrong. And there are several reasons why your branding initiatives may not work like you expected them to. These factors can have a similar impact as not branding your business.
Not knowing who you are
We previously shared strategies
that you could use to establish your brand. To do that, you must first understand who you are as a business, what you represent and what your business will do. A mistake most SME owners make is not bothering with doing that first.
Being the same as your competitors
If your business offers the exact same thing with the same branding as your competitors, why would customers choose your business instead of theirs? Sounds simple now but many SME owners are guilty of this. You see a business model that appears to be doing very well and you copy and paste the exact same thing with a different name.
Making everything complicated
Remember those brand names from earlier and how simple they appeared? That is how simple your brand should be. If you put the work into understanding who you are as a brand first and what your business does, then making this as straightforward as possible would be easier to do. There is no need to try to do everything; do one thing and do it well.
Trying to please everyone
You cannot serve everyone. Your business must have a specific group of people that it is targeting, and you must know who those people are for your business to be successful. Popular brands like Ramly Burger may seem like they are for everyone, but they have different options for different target markets. There are the street-side burger stalls and you also get the supermarket frozen patties for people who prefer to cook at home.
Your business will grow and evolve with time. Your customers will also change. Failing to grow along, understand the market and trim your brand as necessary will result in failure. Just think about taxi companies that have been wiped out by newer brands like Grab. They failed to understand that the market was changing and rebrand to take advantage of that change.
Of course, creating a brand and marketing that brand can be expensive. But if it is done correctly, the results and impact to your bottom line will be worth the expenses. A business without a brand is like a blank, unlabelled can. No one wants a drink from a can that they do not know anything about, and that might be one thing now and different the next day.
Another mistake SME owners frequently make is assuming that marketing is branding. They are not the same. Your brand is how people should feel about your product or service; what you promise to deliver and the trust that customers have in your business. Marketing, on the other hand, is about creating awareness of your brand.
While marketing can influence branding, defining and creating your brand should come before you start to market your business. In our next post, we will explore some free and cheap ways that you can market your brand. Stay tuned!
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