How do you brand your small business?

branding imageThe purpose of marketing is to increase your visibility. The goal for most of us is to identify leads, or prospects, who might be interested in buying our products. Marketing is the first of many sorting exercises on the way to creating more sales. We want to separate the universe into two groups – those that probably won’t buy our products from those that are interested in us.

Marketing is what you do. Branding is who you are. There is a common misconception that the work you do to market your business is the same work that you do to brand it. That may be true for very large companies, but for most of us, working on our brand is probably not going to result in more sales.

Large companies work on their brand by embarking on big, expensive campaigns to define their image in a way that differentiates them from their competitors. Those types of campaigns cost a lot of money and time. But for most of us, branding is done at a local and personal level. The best way to improve your brand, or image, is to do great work. Customers will notice, and they will tell others.

When I had my record stores I took a lot of time with customers, trying to understand their music preferences. Since I was well schooled in many music genres, I was able to give them good suggestions. I also made sure I had the product in stock. Nothing is more frustrating to a customer for a salesperson to recommend a purchase and then not have it to sell. So by taking the time to understand my customer’s tastes in music and having that music available was a great way to build my reputation which was directly related to the brand I wanted for my stores.

–Barney Cohen

President, Business 360 Northwest

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