Nothing helps customers associate a business more with the goods or services it provides than its brand. This recognition gives any sized company a huge advantage in its field. It is therefore a misconception to think that only large companies like the ones that make up the Dow 30 can benefit from a strong brand.
Establishing a brand is not the final step. It must also be maintained with effective marketing campaigns and business strategy and protected from attack if necessary.
Establishing a Brand
Meeting the goal of having a strong brand has two benefits. Obviously the recognition is huge, but it also helps a company refine its mission and objectives. What the company sells, who it wants to sell to and how it wants to be perceived are some of the many qualities a company defines through its branding.
One example of branding for the target market came from a financial software company. The company was originally known as TallyUp, and its solutions were sold to financial executives. TallyUp’s management decided the image wasn’t quite working and decided to hire a branding consultant.
The name of the company was changed from TallyUp to Callidus, which is Latin for ‘skillfull’ or ‘expert’. The new name reflected the image the software company wanted to have and the sophistication of its audience.
This reinforces the idea that branding helps smaller companies. TallyUp/Callidus sought to serve a niche market and it was through re-branding that they were able to be more successful in selling to a narrower market.
Maintaining a Good Brand and Protecting it if Necessary
Having a good brand won’t last long if the company does not live up to promises. Making a promise and keeping it improves brand equity but failing to do so will trash the brand rapidly.
There are two ways to solve this problem, either (a) deliver on promises of (b) don’t make promises you cannot keep.
No matter how well a company performs and how effective it is with the image it projects, there are always going to be those who don’t play fair. Anyone can set up a free email account, set up more accounts with numerous review sites and start trashing a business with impunity.
No one is held responsible for their comments if they are inaccurate and since the libelous reviewer operates with anonymity, there is not much legal recourse. These bogus bad reviews unfairly count against the company and its overall profile score.
Online reputation management sites exist to help companies that have been the target of defamation, especially when they cannot solve the problem on their own. Reputation management firms, work to diminish the effects of negative content so that it does not show up on the first page of search engine results. This is a huge part of contemporary branding.
The conventional wisdom that small companies do not need to bother with branding is wrong and it can limit or even prevent a company with good products from success. In fact, brands are critical to companies that need to differentiate themselves by establishing a niche.
Analyzing what you want to be, who you want to sell to and other aspects of the business will not only create an effective image, it will focus the company’s efforts in the right direction.