You’ve heard it all before: your brand matters. Countless articles claim that a strong brand is essential to long-term business success. However, branding is still something you find hard to relate to you and your business. So, could it be that you got the wrong idea about what branding is?
Branding can be a confusing and misunderstood topic. This is probably why many businesses shy away from it. However, a well-managed brand can give you a genuine long-term competitive advantage. This especially relevant if you are looking to accelerate your growth. Here we’ll aim to dispel some of the most common myths about branding.
Myth 1: Branding is only for multinational businesses
Most very well-known brands tend to also be huge global corporations, such as Apple, Ford or Sony. As a result, many people assume that only huge businesses have a brand.
Nothing could be further from the truth. All businesses have a brand, regardless of their size or industry sector.
Your brand is what people feel and think about you when they see or hear your company name. In a nutshell, it is your reputation, and who hasn't got one? As the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, says: "Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room."
By managing your brand, you will shape your reputation in the marketplace. A powerful way to convince more people to do business with you and increase customer loyalty. Also as Lord Karan Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra beer says 'A strong brand will get you through a crisis’.
Keep in mind that sometimes, the best way to revitalise a brand which has been neglected for a few years will be to rebrand.
You have a brand whether you look after it or not. But if you don't take it seriously, who will?
Myth 2: Branding is only for consumer brands
The most famous worldwide brands tend to influence how we see branding as a whole, as they are so visible . On the whole, they tend to be consumer brands operating in the Business to Consumer (B2C) sector.
As a result, many businesses operating in the Business to Business sector (B2B) assume branding isn't relevant to them.
Indeed, few see building and managing their brand as a priority. If you operate in the B2B sector, you might even rarely use the word branding yourself. You use words such as credentials or reputation when talking about your company. But, these are critical components of any brand.
The main difference between B2C and B2B marketing is the vocabulary used. In both cases, the goal is the same: convince others to buy from you. Their decision will be influenced by how well you communicate your company strengths to them and the strength of your brand.
Also in the B2B sector, price and risk tend to be two of the most critical purchase decision factors. The last thing you want is to do is compete on price alone, as this is a race towards the bottom.
Have you noticed how companies with a strong brand tend to be seen as a less risky choice? Clients are happy to pay more for the reassurance that buying from them gives. These businesses are less under pressure to competing on price, which results in better margins with every sale.
Myth 3: Branding doesn’t impact business performance
Many businesses find it hard to measure how something like branding could impact business growth. In the day-to-day running of your business, branding seems distant and abstract. Something nice to have, but with no real link to the bottom line.
It's important to dream big, even if you are not planning to become a giant like Google or JPMorgan Chase. A strong brand can help you boost growth by giving your business better visibility in your wider marketplace.
In fact, many small businesses have achieved stunning growth in highly competitive sectors by focusing on building their brand.
In Italy, branding seems to scare many SMEs. Velasca Milano is a young company selling handcrafted men shoes and accessories. They managed to achieve a stunning growth over the last five years by focusing on branding from day one.
They defined the Velasca’s brand as a mix of tradition, passion and innovation. This is encapsulated in their brand value proposition ‘The future of tradition’, featured in all their marketing material.
Their story is a good example that great products aren't enough to succeed in a highly competitive industry sector such as fashion. By combining great products with a great brand, Velasca Milan managed to find their niche. The success of the business is directly linked to this winning combination. Branding runs through every aspect of the company, from the core business strategy to marketing and the products themselves.
Branding enabled this small company – which owns only three stores across Italy and sells mainly online and – to become a recognised luxury brand and grow much faster than competitors.
This chosen example is from the B2C sector, just because it's easier to relate to. However, in any industry sector where there is competition to become market leader, there are leading brands which dominate the market.
This is the power of branding, and you should take advantage of it.
François Reynier François Reynier is Creative Director of Acacia, a multilingual marketing consultancy working across borders, languages and cultures.
ACACIA EVENTS & SEMINARS
Boost your business growth this year! Join the 'Accelerate your growth' seminar on 27th September 2018 in Maidstone, Kent, UK.
During this seminar you will learn:
How building a strong brand increases client loyalty and profitability
How to become a giant in your market with digital marketing
How to get the right legal support at each stage of your business growth