Your Brand is Your Business - by Dave Titchenal
Updated: Jan 14, 2019
Excerpts from SCORE counselor Dave Titchenal's recent article in The Union Democrat.
You have a brand whether you realize it or not.
A small business owner who is only active on a local level might wonder if worrying about branding is important. I believe that the brand is just as important for local businesses as it is for a Global corporation. Here's why:
A brand is an idea or a belief that a consumer holds in their mind about a particular product or service.
A brand can be either positive or negative.
Your brand is your promise to your customer and is the cornerstone of building loyalty and trust.
Things that can hurt your brand:
When you don't deliver on your promises, you break the trust with your customer. That starts a negative idea in the customer's mind.
If employees are ever anything but kind, courteous and helpful then your brand takes another hit
Anytime you have a dispute with a customer your reaction must be measured. Being dismissive or disrespectful will do more to damage your brand than almost any dollar amount your dispute may involve.
In a dispute with a customer, just because you are right, doesn't mean you win. If they leave mad you have failed as a business owner.
Things that are important to build a positive brand:
Consistency. Your logo needs to be the same everywhere. Letterhead, business cards, signage, invoices, email, website, Facebook etc. Make sure your colors, fonts and logo are identical everywhere.
Customer service must be an everyday concern.
Trust. It is built over time. It's destroyed in an instant. Never lie or take advantage.
Loyalty will come from never disappointing your customers. Loyal customers stick with you through the bad times.
A good brand strategy will help your employees be better at their jobs. If they understand what your company's brand is, they will communicate it through words and actions.
You need to figure out what your brand message is. What is it that makes you special in the mind of the consumer? Are you the "always on time" or "best value" or "friendliest and most helpful" company? Whatever it is, identify it, build a strategy around it and then guard it against all attacks. Whether you are a barber shop or an attorney or a logging company every business can benefit from having a brand strategy.
For help building your brand or any other business concerns, contact SCORE for local no cost, confidential business counseling.