It’s Time to Get Serious About Your Brand (Part 2)

business (7)Last month I talked about what a brand is and how it’s past time for small business owners to get serious about theirs.  It’s a concept that’s here to stay.  How you create and manage your brand can often be directly linked to increased or decreased sales.

Knowledgeable customers are increasingly expecting (demanding) an overall positive buying experience.  If they don’t get it from you they’ll go elsewhere.  You can produce the experience people are coming to expect by thoughtfully managing your brand.

The idea of creating a brand can seem overwhelming and confusing to a lot of owners.  But, it doesn’t have to be.  If you start with 2 basics and do them consistently well, that might be all you’ll ever need to do to establish and support your brand.  You’ll certainly be far ahead of your competition. 

One of the first things owners lose sight of is their company’s visual image.  They get caught up in the day to day duties of running the business (the inside) and forget to look at how the world (the outside) sees them.  You ignore the outside at your own risk — that’s where your clients are. 

As your company gets more successful its image should change accordingly.  Are you using the same materials (cards, web site, letterhead, logos, taglines, graphics, customer paperwork, signage, etc) you’ve had since you were a start-up?  Does it look cheap, out-of-date and homemade?  Don’t trust your own judgment; ask a lot of other people how they see it.

Also, what do your service people and vehicles look like?  How about the outside of your building?  Do you want this to be a potential customer’s comment, “What do I know about Acme Electrical (fictional)?  The building needs painted, the yard has trash in it and their service people look unkempt.  They must be going out of business.” 

What people see is powerful, and what they see first forms their lasting opinions.  Your brand should represent your business now and where you’d like to be in 5 years.  You want it to convey success, professionalism and trustworthiness.  You may not care how things look, but potential and current customers do and it’s their viewpoint that matters.


Understanding that their viewpoints matter is the second basic strategy you need to create a successful brand.  It’s commonly called excellent customer service.  The biggest complaint consumers have about most buying experiences is poor customer service.  This includes business to business transactions.

This is not a new or revolutionary idea, but it’s still one many companies get wrong.  That’s good news for you if you’re serious about taking your company to the next level through positive brand awareness.  As your competitors’ customer service gets worse, it makes it easier for yours to surpass it.

The simpler you make it for people to do business with you the better chance you have of selling more.  When was the last time you used your web site?  Do you require your salespeople to have ideas about improving service?  How long has it been since you’ve asked a client for feedback on their buying experience with your company? 

For most small businesses developing an effective brand doesn’t have to be complicated if you focus on these 2 basics first.  It does, however, take commitment, effort and time to implement them successfully.  But, the effort will pay off in the long run. 

As Peter Drucker said, “Suppliers and especially manufacturers have market power because they have information about a product or a service that the customer does not and cannot have, and does not need if he can trust the brand. This explains the profitability of brands.”