Brand is the personality that identifies the product/service and the company, yet 55% of brand creators say that businesses fail to consider their target customers when developing a brand.
Only when a business understands why it is valued by its customers should it start to wonder whether its imagery is up to scratch, was the comment made by James Fields at the Business Exposure Group Manchester meeting.
It was agreed by all the attendees at the meeting that the true value of a brand identity lies in the view of the target audience, and that the only way to build a robust and financially viable business in today’s market is to build a brand. One that gets your business to stand out and emphasizes what you have that your competitors don’t. Yet it was no surprise that considering the importance of brand, that most of the attendees at the Business Exposure Group meeting failed to discuss brand at their usual team meetings.
This led the discussion onto a question posed by Lyn Walker ‘Does a brand even exist among SME’s businesses, or is it just a large company issue’. Perhaps the answer is that the word ‘brand’ within the SME world should be replaced with the word ‘reputation’.
Clearly people prefer to buy goods and services that they feel familiar with, and the suggestion around the table, that in tight economic times, that it was not wise to bolster your brand, saying it was more akin to spending money on a high end stereo for a vehicle that doesn’t run well, was firmly rejected.
It was agreed by all that a brand should be developed and tweaked in parallel to the business plan. Starting with value for money, being ranked as the number one priority for SME branding, followed by reliability and trust.
A brand positions a business in its niche, and if continually enhanced will become one of the most valuable assets of your business. So, don’t underestimate the value in obtaining legal protection of all your intellectual property and ensure that any outsourced creative input has been transferred to your ownership on completion. Otherwise, at worst your business valuation will be greatly diminished and at best the ‘creative’ will hold you to ransom when they realise the value of the brand and your need to get your ownership in order. Quite simply, after each outsourced brand initiative, box off the ownership issue when no-one yet realises its potential value.
The above were just a selection of the comments taken from a round the table discussion during a recent Business Exposure Group meeting.