To brand or not to brand, that is the question
I recently had a conversation with the CEO of a company I was consulting with and he asked me my opinion of branding and how his company should go about branding itself.
I told him that I was skeptical about the number of people and companies who are enamored with the need for “branding” or to “build their brand” in order to market their business.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that brands such as Coca-Cola, Colgate Palmolive, Kraft and most of the large companies have power and influence with Americans, but I’m not so sure that branding has much of a place with most small to medium-sized businesses.
Branding makes sense for these large companies and they spend huge amounts of money on building their image. Brand name products almost always outsell generic products.
Branding for a small to medium-sized business doesn’t create the profit necessary to survive the first few years of being in business. You want to create sales immediately. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, there are many ways to create profitable sales.
In my opinion, direct-response marketing of a product is probably the most effective way to create profitable sales. Branding is the selling of the name of a company or product through general advertising, so that in the future, when the customer is faced with buying your product versus another one, they will choose the brand they are familiar with.
I’ve written past articles about USPs…Unique Selling Propositions. It’s not like branding at all. Most products and product lines will benefit from marketing that stresses the USP. To find out more about what a USP is, please refer to the other articles I’ve written.
Creating a USP and having it be a major component in the design of ,and sales copy in, your advertisements will have the effect of creating an idea in a potential customer’s mind that will have the same effect that branding has for large businesses.
Therefore, branding to promote your USP can also work great in conjunction with whatever back-end mechanism you have created to sell more products to people who have already bought from you. This is how most individuals with small and medium sized businesses should think of it.
Once you have created your USP, which is defined as something that is unique, different, one of a kind, extraordinary, or rare, and you have implemented it into all of your ads, mission statement, and anything else that has your name in it, you will be branding your company without the high cost the larger companies have when they brand themselves.
Remember, a USP is that unique advantage that distinguishes your business apart from your competition. It really is the important characteristic of your business.
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.