“If you’ve never heard of it, if you wouldn’t choose it, if you don’t recommend it, then there is no brand, at least not for you.” — Seth Godin
As a marketing professional, never in my career did I expect to find myself defending the importance of focusing on brand within an organization—until it happened.
And I now realize that it’s a common problem among small-to-midsized businesses, where resources are stretched thin and every employee wears multiple hats. Branding has been reduced to be synonymous with colors, fonts and design—what makes things pretty. In many organizations, it’s considered unimportant “fluff.” But it’s so much more than that.
In that situation where I found myself completely dumbfounded by the resistance to branding, I replaced the word “branding” with “reputation”, and I instantly had everyone’s attention and buy-in.
What is Branding?
If you continue to ignore branding, your business will suffer. A lack of emphasis on branding creates confusion in the marketplace. If you’re not controlling your brand and your message, someone else is. If you fail to tell a cohesive brand story, chances are, people don’t truly understand what your company is about. That’s when you give competitors an edge up. If you don’t create a strong brand that you control, your competitors will control it for you.
Even if you’re a small business, the decision-makers you deal with on a regular basis are used to dealing with brands and names they can trust. Your customers and clients have expectations, even of a small business. The good news is you don’t have to drop millions on ad spend. Be your brand. Believe in what you say, and do what you believe. Create an identity for yourself, and stand by your values (and be sure those values align with what your customer wants). Whether you like it or not, you have a reputation in the marketplace. What does your reputation—a.k.a. brand—say about who you are as a company?
Your brand—your message—should be abundantly apparent on your website, in every communication and anything that touches your consumers. It is the role of everyone within your organization to know and live your brand. From your values and mission statement to your website content and social media footprint of yourself, your company and every employee—it all matters.
When branding is on point, it creates a beautiful, cohesive, strong message that you and your team know who you are as an organization and you believe in the products and services you offer to your clients, customers and consumers. And that is what increases sales and builds businesses.
Know you need help with branding but not sure where to start? Let us help you develop a top-down strategy that focuses on the big picture.
Read more about branding from Seth Godin’s perspective here.