The most common question small businesses in Birmingham asked me is…
What the hell is branding?
Picture this, you have a beautiful 5 bedroom house, few nice bedrooms, nice kitchen, bathroom, who knows maybe an indoor gym, now imagine you wanted someone to design your house. After the job is done each room looks completely different, the colours shades are different and your house doesn’t represent you at all? Of course it would annoy you, now let’s go into exactly what would annoy you? The fact that it looks nothing like you wanted to or the fact that you spent money on each part of the house?
Now answer this, would you get the same person to design your house? Or a different person to do each part? Probably the same person to design your house, yes? Why? Well you’ll save time for starters, you will also only have to explain what you want once and having something designed by one person, keeps the design consistent.
Now comes quality, would you let your mate design your dream house? Would you let someone who didn’t understand your vision design your house? Probably not, because your dream house means a lot. So why don’t we think the same about our brand? As new small businesses, we put a lot of thought into designing websites, logos, our social media etc but if they are not designed properly and kept consistent across all areas of your business, then it will not be efficient. Like rooms in a house, these elements speak everything about you and your business, and the same way the look and feel of your house determines how many people want to come inside, the look and feel of your brand determines how people want to interact with your business.
Jeff Bezos said ‘Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room’ Although I entirely agree with this, because we can’t see what they are saying when they are not in the room, we create our own perceptions of what they’re saying, sometimes fooling ones, maybe overly optimistic views. Every sale is important but what about the sales that aren’t happening? Why aren’t they happening? What does someone think when they go to my website? What do they think about me? Most importantly what do they think about my service or product before they’ve tried it? I know it may seem impossible to know that, but by thinking about these things you can begin to try.
The point is what’s the goal? I’m talking to you guys who have a great idea, a motivation to grow, to make a level of influence as a business, if this isn’t you then hopefully you learnt something from the above, and for those of you who that does apply to, when has doing a quick, shabby job ever benefited your business? If there has been a time that pops into your mind please email it over to me. I would love to be proved wrong. If you are creating your brand yourself then dive into every part of your business and think about what your target market is thinking, or more importantly what they are not thinking.
If branding is done correctly, everything they feel and think leads the right people into your community, your real, authentic, loyal community. This is how sales happen, repeated sales.
Think of your favorite football team, you go watch them live, there’s hundreds of you all together cheering and singing. Now picture another smaller football team, who have supporters but are not really that loyal or committed, they are just there to watch a great sport. The side that looks like they are having more fun will be noticed a lot more than the side who have people there for no reason. So why do we not create this same support for our business? Imagine selling a ManUtd Shirt to an Arsenal supporter? You’re laughing right, but this really happens in business, why do we pay zero attention to our target market?
What the hell is branding? It’s more than a logo, it’s more than a website, it’s more than your social media accounts, it is the way your customers perceive you. It’s your reputation, your business reputation. So why do so many small businesses in Birmingham ask me what it is, why do so many small business owners neglect such a crucial part of their business?
The truth is a brand will never just happen, as much as you like or want it to, it’s a well thought out strategic plan. Change branding help small businesses with their strategic plan to ensure they get the best out of their brand and help grow their business.