Branding Basics

Stick to the basics before you launch some major branding initiative that some branding pundit sold you on that is the silver bullet to your business success. Chances are you’ll do better if you focus on the basics first.

How can anyone brand anything without a budget? Most small companies don’t have an advertising budget to build a brand. The only way you can really brand anything on a budget is by using good old PR, low cost internet tactics and customer loyalty programs to drive awareness and word of mouth. In the world of communication noise today people don’t believe ads anymore. They need help to dig through all the B.S companies say about themselves.

A 3rd party editor can be their friend if they don’t have a friend who has used the product or service before. That’s why all these REVIEW magazines are so popular these days. REVIEWS sell products and services not branding… At the end of the day you could have a pretty brand that means absolutely nothing to the customer from a credibility or usability standpoint because the value hasn’t been assembled correctly for the customer to see they MUST have this product or service NOW. If you have million dollars than by all means create a beautiful perception map so you can understand how you are perceived in the marketplace. otherwise just ask your customers some key questions. Its cheaper.

The next tool is knowing what the heck you’re selling… no not your first answer either. Chances are you really don’t know what you’re selling. 90% of the time what you think you’re selling is not why people are buying it. Knowing what you’re really selling connects you to the pulse of the customer so you can improve upon it and focus on the right things. Guessing at what you’re selling is a fishing expedition that might yield some dead fish that aren’t biting if you don’t get this answer right.

The most important tool though is TIME. This plagues every manager or business owner on some level. Why time? Its the most valuable resource on the planet that can’t be renewed. Once its gone, its really gone. There is no getting it back. It moves forward without you whether you like it or not. So how can someone brand anything if they have no way of managing time properly? You can’t. You can try, but spending time on the wrong things creates poor results. Time runs everything. How you spend your time really determines everything. What you spend it on creates the results you see daily. So lets say you had all this branding wisdom but had no skill in managing your time or budgets. You will fail because you will spend your time in ways that created your previous poor results. So how much time do you spend on PR, developing your basic selling case, your delivery methods, your accounting methods, return policies, customer service, etc.. that is the BRAND. You have to have a really strong million dollar brand for someone to put up with marginal experiences in these areas. How much time you spend on each one of these will determine your success. But more importantly what you do in that time will impact it even greater.

The amount of time you can spend on the wrong things and greater friction present in your BRAND (however unknown it is if its a small business) will depend on you having something someone can’t get anywhere else but from you. If you’re selling diamonds from a mine with a special diamond no on else can get anywhere in the world except from here then you have a lock on the market and can be rude to customers or create friction for them in doing business with you.

Branding is about creating desire and reducing friction. You can create desire but if you have a lot of friction than desire will diminish quickly. And if you can’t create desire it doesn’t matter how little friction you have because people won’t want it. Put your efforts into the wrong things and you will generate the same results over and over again without even knowing it.

So stick to the basics before you launch some major branding initiative that some branding pundit sold you on that is the silver bullet to your business success. Chances are you’ll do better if you focus on the basics first. If you have something no one wants it doesn’t matter how well you dress it up. Junk is still junk.

Focus on how you spend your time and what you’re selling and how much you have to spend to get known.

business branding and promotion