Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How Branding is Relevant in a Slow Economy

If you understand your brand and are passionate about it, then you have a better than average chance to weather the storm of a slow economy or recession. If you've been addressing brand issues and have built your company on values that are rock solid, then there is every reason that you will come out smiling at the other end of this down-turn.

Take myself - I rely heavily on referrals to grow my business. To even hope to benefit from the value of a good referral, my brand has to be like a shiny nickel. Brand being reputation, I continually do what I can to drive home the message that my service is as good an offering as it can be. I have to continually grow my list of contacts and tirelessly try and get my message out there. I've found that blogging is an exceptional tool in this regard.

A referral brings a smile to my face, not only for the obvious benefit of potential new business, for the fact that an individual felt good enough of my brand to recommend me to a trusted peer. Nobody goes out on a limb and refers someone who may bring disrepute back on them. We all want to make sure that our network of businesses are professionals who will do an outstanding job for those seeking their services. This quality result reflects back on the individual who gave the referral as a person who is connected to quality people.

While business is challenged to a huge degree during an economic slowdown, if your brand is strong and focused, you will have much to build on. Even a small independent retailer, has a better than average chance if their brand stands for something that differentiates them.Success does breed success, and if in your market, that retailer brand is considered a leader, then what income is disposable will be steered their way first. It is then up to that company to recognize the opportunity and make the bold move to over-deliver on the services desired. Smaller companies are flatter than large competitors and therefore can twist and turn faster to take advantage of these opportunities. Nothing is of course guaranteed, but a strong brand makes your battle easier.

Every positive experience reflects on your brand. Don't take any chance meeting for granted. I can't tell you the number of times I've dragged my butt to an event that I was reluctant to attend only to get into a passionate discussion on branding and develop a new lead. Listening to businesses explain the hardships they suffer at the hands of a slowing economy gives me resolve to stay positive and to spread that positive vibe when ever I can. How you face your challenges speaks to the power of your brand.

If your brand is weak, it is time you put concentrated effort into shoring it up. Don't delude yourself into thinking that what I am talking about is changing your logo and slogan. As a matter of fact ignore those items. They have cache. Concentrate on your reputation. Get your face out there. Contact past customers and show that your brand is still relevant. There is nothing that I am suggesting that is rocket science, as a matter of fact it is things that is in every book on sales out there. The fact of the matter is, if your brand is weak, it is because in the course of doing business - it got lazy! You relied too heavily on technology to deliver service and forgot the basics.

It's time to make your brand shine again. Get out there and tell your story. Tell them them all why you are relevant, and why you matter. Make your brand the best it can be.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ed,

Those graphics you get for your articles are great... Do you get them done specially?

The nature of the web is fantastic for networking and I can only see it improving in terms of how we connect with people in our industries in the future. Google is working with technology at the moment that determines people's relationships based on how they link to each other on the web. With that sort of technology and the minerals to adopt it in your sites and business, you can expect many more smiles brought by referrals.

Just boils down to how effectively you can connect with someone online - there are limits. Lately, I've found the phone to be a great tool, especially when people call after stumbling across your website.

"I can't tell you the number of times I've dragged my butt to an event that I was reluctant to attend only to get into a passionate discussion..."

I have no idea why this happens but it's so true.

Though you don't need it, goodluck riding the recession, Ed. Hopefully Canada isn't affected too badly.


Ed Roach said...

I do the graphics myself Rob. It's sort of the last thing I do. A bit of fun.

Yes, what is it about low expectations that reverses itself. Any psychologists out there?

Canada isn't in recession, but I am located in the industrial heartland which is heavily dependant on the domestic auto industry. It is in a down cycle at the moment. I'm busy though.

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