Do I Really Need a Brand?
(I’m just a small business/organization/blogger)
Do you want people to remember you, trust you, and think of you first in connection with the product or service you offer?
If so, you need a brand.
Your brand isn’t your product, and it’s a lot more than a logo.
Your brand is your personality, your promise, and what sets you apart.
A brand is what turns you from a guy who mows lawns into The Lawnmowing Guy. You may have the same mower as the kid next door. But a good brand identity assures people that you are professional, reliable, and offer a quality of lawn-mowing service they can count on. In short, they can trust you.
Branding is more important for small businesses and organizations today than ever. Your business isn’t just one of a few in your hometown. It’s one of thousands represented on the web that have equal access to customers’ attention.
In an article for Forbes Magazine, Scott Goodson, founder of New York City advertising agency, StrawberryFrog, writes, “Products have life cycles. Brands outlive products.” He points out that “Many companies put the value of their brand on their balance sheet… when Kraft bought Cadbury for $19.5 Billion what did they buy? The chocolate? The factories? The recipes? The candy makers? No they bought the brands.”*
Let’s say you’ve built a brand based on a line of organic, home-made cleaning products called “Clean Cottage.” Then you decide to start baking cookies. If the Clean Cottage brand has come to stand for healthy, attractively packaged, small-batch creations, people may just want to give your cookies a try, too. After all, Clean Cottage has made them feel good about living in a pleasant home cleaned with eco-friendly products. Maybe you can help them feel good about eating clean too… a cookie from Clean Cottage is sure to be healthy and good. That’s how your brand is more than a product – it’s your promise.
Are you skeptical about branding because you don’t want to get too corporate and stuffy? Your brand can actually say that!
One of my favorites is “Two Men and a Truck” moving company. Plain white trucks with a black stick figure drawing of… well, two men and a truck. It makes me think, “Yeah, that’s all I need… a couple guys with a truck. I’ll call them instead of those big, expensive moving companies.” Based on their childishly simple drawing and the plain black and white color scheme, I’ve already concluded they are no-frills and more affordable than the competition. All before I’ve done one ounce of comparison shopping.
The clothes you wear and the way you speak say something about who you are. Sure, there is a lot more to a person than pink hair, a Texas accent, or a conservative suit and tie. But these things form the first impressions people get when they meet you, and they are likely to remember your pink hair or expensive watch. They will respond to you as fun, trustworthy, or intriguing based on those first impressions. Likewise, your brand says something about you right up-front.
Now it’s up to you to do business in a way that makes them want to stick with you. You need to stand behind your brand… you need to keep your promise.
*Goodson, Scott “Why Brand Building Is Important” Forbes Magazine, May 27, 2012. Accessed October 17, 2017 at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2012/05/27/why-brand-building-is-important/#25b889bc3006