,

Got “Brand”?

What is important about your brand when you are a small business owner?  Who cares, right?  Everyone cares and you should care the most.

Brand is defined by Wikipedia as follows: “A brand is often the most valuable asset of a Corporation.  Brand owners manage their brands carefully to create shareholder value, and brand valuation is an important management technique that ascribes a money value to a brand and allows marketing investment to be managed (e.g.: prioritized across a portfolio of brands) to maximize shareholder value. Although only acquired brands appear on a company’s balance sheet, the notion of putting a value on a brand forces marketing leaders to be focused on long term stewardship of the brand and managing for value.”

The word “brand” is often used as a metonym, referring to the company that is strongly identified with a brand.

When you hear the name Coke… What goes through your mind?  The taste, the color of the can, the type of containers you drink it from or maybe the last commercial you saw.  Coca Cola has probably one the most recognized brands in the World and has for decades.

Now, let’s put things in perspective and relevant terms for your business.  Think about local businesses in your city.  The leading air conditioner service is a good example since they are generally not a franchised business.  Here are some good subjective questions to evaluate your view of that company and its brand:

  • When did you see their last commercial, billboard ad or perhaps their truck driving down the road?
  • Do their vehicles and signage look professional?  Do you readily recognize their logo?
  • Do their employees dress in professional uniforms?
  • Maybe you have used them before.  What was your experience with them?  What have you heard other say?
  • Do you know the face of the owner(s)?
  • Have you called upon them more than once?  Was the experience consistent in quality of delivery of their service?  Was the price reasonable?

Creating a brand should be an obsession.  A good brand is the most valuable asset your company can have.  You want a favorable impression by everyone that comes in contact with your company.  After all, the experience anyone has with your company is a measurement of what will be expected in future business interaction.

What does your Brand look like?

, , ,

Don’t copy the competition ..

Over the last 35 plus years as an entrepreneur and business owner, I have seen so many organizations come and too many go because they fail to adapt.  To succeed, a manager or owner must always be looking outside the box and observe what the competition is doing and what the trends are among successful companies.  You do not have to be like everyone else, but it sure is a good idea to see what others are doing in the areas of marketing and branding practices.

About three years ago, I started service business.  When I decided to do this, I immediately looked at the competition and saw a lot of opportunities to excel where they were not.  To start with, I looked at how the business were establishing their identity (brand).  This included looking at their locations, reviewing their websites,  and their advertising methods and messages.  The first thing I noticed was most of their websites to be no better than what my seven old year grandson could do.  Their advertising was very traditional.  Advertising included thousand dollar a month ads in the phone book, expensive television and radio ads.

The first thing I did was setup a website with a creative URL (web address).  I did a lot of work with SEO (search engine optimization )so that we could easily be found on Google, Yahoo and Bing(among 100’s of other search sites).  Customer testimonials and quoting online I felt was important, so I added them as well.  Our rankings quickly shot up to number one and have stayed that way for four years now.

I knew that advertising was necessary for a start up, so I immediately attacked this task by committing to a ninety day blitz on TV, Radio and the phone books (just like our competition).   Note: We started the business in 2008 right about the time the economy started going bust.  Guess what happened .. my expenses where greater than my income for at least the first 6 months of business.  It just about sunk us!  To top everything else, the cheapest and most effective advertising was my website that I did my self for almost nothing.  The traditional advertising methods of TV, Radio and phone book proved to ineffective and expensive to boot.

The cell phone ah the cell phone.  I kept reading and hearing about how people are going to start using cell phones to find products and services.  Even the laptop or home computer is becoming less of a tool for managing day-to-day activities.  So, what I did next was to get a mobi URL (Mobile or smart phone compatible version of our website).  The project cost me a whole $10 to setup.  Guess what, it is now our number one source of hits on our website.  I gave the customers a scaled down, no frills bit of information like our phone number, map of our location and email address.  This is all they need to find us.  If they want more information, they simply go to our primary site on their home computer or laptop.

In summation, our business has grown 40% per year since I started my marketing through the web.  My advertising cost is approximately 1.5% of my gross profit.  How is that for growing on a dime?

If you want to learn more about how The Business Coach can help you, drop me an email at coach@makenewrules.com.