Small service business branding
We all know that branding means creating a mark on a cow’s backside. In business terms when we think of ‘brands’ our minds generally conjure up big consumer brands. You could probably name several. This article explores to what extent ‘branding’ can be applied to small service businesses, the sort that you might find in your local town or city.
The first question to discuss is what is a brand, exactly? We probably remember brand logos and packaging, but a ‘brand’ consists of a number of different attributes beside those concerned with brand identity. An obvious constituent of a brand is the customer experience of using the product or service, for example, for a drink this could be the taste. For a service, this could be how well a job was done or how timely a service representative turned up at your house.
Another aspect of a brand could be the emotional attachment that s customer places on your company and its values or culture. In fact, for a small service business, virtually every activity that you do will have some impact on your brand. For example, you may characterize your business as being ‘friendly,’ but your grouchy receptionist may be detracting from this and hence ‘friendly’ is not really part of of your brand portfolio. Or perhaps you are targeting the youth market and attempting to portray you company as ‘young.’ Your picture of your 70 year-old CEO on your web site, dressed in his best, slightly threadbear suit, will not bear out the potential brand value to younger customers.
But as a small business owner, why should you be concerned about building your brand? For the same reason that big consumer brand companies spend millions of dollars preening and promoting their brands. They hope, all other things being equal, a strong brand has value because customers may tend to use their product or service over a competitors. They may also be wiling to pay a premium price because of the perceived values inherent in your brand.
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