Memorable marketing solutions exclusively for small businesses in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire   Nov 2007

 

 

 

Brand management is only for the big boys ... isn't it?

Marketers often speak about branding with reverence.  It's almost as if it is the holy grail of marketing... to build a brand.  They'll lapse into all sorts of jargon and start talking major league budgets.  Yet, brand building is something that all companies do, whatever their size.  Many even do it without thinking ... and that's a problem.

Consistency is everything

When you rub away all of the jargon around branding you come down to the simple notion that a brand is just a piece mental shorthand used by customers.  It encapsulates all of the tangible and intangible elements of a company's offer to the market in a single word, a phrase or a logo.

But beware, it encapsulates the bad as well as the good.  And customer's have very long memories.

You can spend úthousands on brand building programmes.  You can also waste úthousands on brand building programmes if the customer experience doesn't match their expectation.

The two strongest brands in the world, Coca Cola and McDonalds, have been built through delivering a consistent customer experience ... oh, and loads of expensive advertising.

As a small business you don't have the advertising reach of Coca Cola, but you can deliver a consistently positive customer experience.  Over time your customers will know what to expect and won't be disappointed.  They will add that to their mental shorthand list and your company brand will take shape and grow.

Take proactive control of the brand

As your company attracts new customers and expands it is easy to forget the ideals that you started out with.  It might be that next day delivery was a strength that you wanted to have for your business, but as you got busier you start delaying deliveries to the following day.

It won't take long for customers to adjust their mental shorthand and strike through the line that says 'next day delivery'.  And pretty soon after that, they'll start to shop around for someone who can reliably deliver next day.

For your brand to work for you, rather than against you, it is vital that you proactively decide which elements of your offer you want to be 'sacrosanct' as they deliver most competitive advantage.  Then make absolutely sure that they stay 'sacrosanct', even if it means investing in new operations sooner than you had planned.

That way you will always be seen as the company that can reliably deliver next day, even when you're busy.  And your customer's mental shorthand will become reinforced and exert a stronger influence on their buying habits ... in your favour.

So take great care that you choose sustainable attributes of your offer to emphasise to customers.  Don't make a rod for your own back just because it 'sounded nice'.

Brand building needn't be expensive but it's importance must never be overlooked.

Memorable marketing

Thinking and working pragmatically like this will help you to make your marketing work better for you in a more memorable way. This means that your target customers will be able to differentiate your products and services from those of your competitors and clearly see the value in buying from you.

If you would like some advice on memorable marketing techniques for your own business, or you know someone at another business who might need help, then please contact Adduce Marketing. The sooner you start, the sooner you will benefit.

 

Creating A Brand

Download this handy guide which explains how to get the best from creating a brand in order to improve business effectiveness.

Written by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as part of their Directors' Briefing series, this document makes easy reading for business people of all experience levels.

 

Marketing Effectiveness Assessment

A free service to small businesses in the Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire area, the Marketing Effectiveness Assessment delivers a professional audit of how a business is using the tools of marketing to communicate to existing and potential customers. It also includes a series of simple and cost-effective marketing activities that the business can implement immediately and at low cost.

Download the factsheet now.

 

Useful Links ...

Adduce Marketing

Chartered Institute of Marketing

Marketing UK (information portal)