“I’m not sure what a brand is, but I don’t really need one.” I hear that sentence all the time. If you’ve ever said or thought that, you need to understand what a brand is and then decide if you need one. In this post, I’ll describe the concept of small business branding in a different way than you’ve seen in the past. I’ll explain why you need a brand, and then you can make your own decision.
How Can You Recognize a Brand?
Raise your hand if you recognize the car in the photo.
If you didn’t raise your hand, all you know is that it’s a sporty-looking car. Just looking at the car, for all you know, it could be a hybrid with a top speed of 60 miles an hour. That could be your perception just from looking at the photo.
If you did raise your hand, you know that you’re looking at an Aston Martin. And, now that the rest of you know it’s an Aston Martin, you probably have quite a different perception of the vehicle.
What do you know about Aston Martins? If you’re a car buff at all, you know that James Bond was fond of Aston Martins. So, does that fact make you feel differently about the car now that you know it isn’t a hybrid? Indeed. Why?
Because you now perceive the car to be a hot sports car, capable of making beautiful women swoon, achieving high rates of speed, completing very sharp turns, and in the hands of “Q”, launching rockets.
And, that perception is reinforced by other things you may know if you are a car buff. For example, here is a short list of famous folks who drive Aston Martins: David Beckham, Elle Macpherson, Ben Affleck, and Pierce Brosnan.
So, even if you’ve never driven an Aston Martin yourself, every perception you have of the car is consistent. It’s a hot car that anyone would love to own.
So, That’s It. That’s the Brand.
Now, look at the photo again, and point to the brand. You can’t, can you? Why? Because the brand is a perception that the company worked hard to implant in the public’s mind.
The brand is your perception of what the Aston Martin is all about. You developed that perception because everything you were exposed to concerning that car reinforced its brand.
When people ask me what the result of branding is, it can be difficult to explain. There isn’t something you can see, feel or taste. It’s not like a website or a marketing brochure. And, that is a big part of the reason why branding is often misunderstood.
When we do branding, the product is a market positioning statement and a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Just words on a page. But, the point is that you can take those words and use them to start implanting a perception in the minds of the people in your market area. You can use variations of those words everywhere: on your website, brochures, blog posts, and in an effective “elevator speech.”
The branding process gives you the opportunity to clearly identify:
- your target market
- your target market’s needs and pain points
- how you satisfy those needs in a way that is different from your competitors
Without a Brand, You’re Just Another Face in the Crowd
Until you know what the Aston Martin’s brand is, it’s just a car.
Until you have a brand, you’re just one of many competitors trying to grab your prospects’ attention.
And, that’s why you need to do small business branding.
Supercharge your marketing and sales with an effective brand. Contact me for more information.