What is your favourite brand of laptop, hair dye, tooth paste, or peanut butter? There are thousands of companies that are producing these categories of product, but when confronted with such a question, most of us would hardly take more than a few seconds to give our answers. We have only a few names picked out for each. That's how branding works. It helps one to quickly differentiate a product or a service from other similar products or services. From a marketer's point of view, branding, therefore, can be a magic wand for success.
Is it possible for a small firm to become the most talked about brand in the market? Some skeptics view it is difficult -- nearly impossible -- to create a successful brand while big guys are competing for share of the same cake. But I believe otherwise, and there is no dearth of small business success stories to support my view. Any business, big or small, can build a sensational brand from scratch, and many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) already did that in the past with extraordinary success. For example, Nirma, once started as a one-product, one-man outfit from a 100 sq ft room in 1969, is today among the most well-known brands in its category in and around the country.
Today, every small business owner knows that branding is critical to business, but many still do not seem to have a clear idea how a brand image could be created. Their efforts just never go beyond creating a unique logo, launching a product, marketing it, and putting some money on advertising. Of course, these factors are important by their own means, but branding does not happen that way. You cannot create a lasting impression just by doing that.
At the heart of branding, there must be consistency, determination and integrity.
None can create a successful brand within a few months. You have to think long-term, and work constantly on how your company can be transformed into a renowned brand. Branding is all about creating a lasting impression in your prospective customers' mind, and naturally it will take time. The journey is usually very long and tiring -- most of the times generating no immediate result. Only those who are determined enough not to give up can succeed.
Consistency and integrity are crucial. No doubt, a unique product may help you attract your prospects, or your marketing efforts will let them know about your brand, but so long you don't take these actions consistently, you can hardly move a step forward in creating a successful brand. In addition, branding must be built on what is true. You have to do what you say, deliver what you promise, and better if you over-deliver.
So next time you think about creating a brand image for your small business, get ready to go that extra mile.