Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Perils of Ignoring Your Brand

I believe that most small businesses ignore their brand. They have absolutely no idea what the perception of their brand is among their stake holders. Many even fail to recognize that they are a leader and are content with settling with following the perceived leader. They allow that leader by default to define their brand for them.

If your understanding of a brand, is restricted to that of your image then I've got some bad news for you. Your brand is so much more than that. Your logo and marketing materials are simply the face of your brand. Every touch point reflects on your brand. When I speak to groups of businesses on the subject, I simply say that "Branding = Your Reputation." At the end of a work day, stake holders don't leave your brand behind, they take it with them. If you the leader, take your brand lightly imagine how they (the stake holders) regard it. More to the point - how they misrepresent it. Your brand when managed properly allows you to command a leadership position, attract great employees, draw the attention of other brands who may want to acquire you and motivate sales staff driving meaningful sales to you.

Your brand is real. When individuals contemplate you, they have to draw their conclusions from some where. If your brand has grown free-style then you are what you get. Perception is reality. Assumptions are the foundation of your brand. You have absolutely no control over what the message is. In describing you, the marketplace defines you by comparing you to the leader - "They do stuff like ABC Company." A brand like this is definitely not a thought leader. Publicity eludes you, they want to speak to an authority. As you can see so far we haven't even touched on image.

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