Should I spend time more of my developing a brand or keeping the baked beans hot? Read on and you decide.
“I own a café in Cheltenham and I don’t think branding is relevant for my business. Branding is for big companies whereas my main concern is keeping the baked beans hot!”
This is the attitude of many small business owners and I want to tackle this misconception.
Your business is ‘Special’
A brand is defined as the attributes that identify a seller’s product or service as distinct from those of another seller. Put simply, it’s what makes you [or your product or service] ‘special.’ Commonly it's made up of stuff like your:
- design style
You may ask yourself, 'why do I need to be concerned about a brand as a small business? Isn’t it only large organisations that spend money on branding while small companies just get on with the job?'
However, whether your business is cleaning windows in Peckham High Street, or you’re a multinational IT company, a strong brand helps customers choose you.
A truth well told
One of my favourite definitions of brand, is of ‘a truth well told.’
To do this we work with businesses to describe what they do in a short sentence - no more than eight words.
We call this a narrative.
We believe a short narrative that captures the essence of your business, will motivate you and inspire others. Try it out…eight words or less!
Here's some that we prepared earlier:
- 'Helping good people say important things'
- 'Ideas worth spreading'
- 'Financial choices for successful businesses'
Blaise Pascal was quoted as saying,
'I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.'
American author Ernest Hemmingway was challenged to write a six word story that would make people cry. He considered the challenge for some time before offering the following:
‘For sale: Baby shoes: Never worn’.
I may have deviated slightly but the goal is to craft a short description that captures the heart of your business. This can be challenging. Get it right and it will not just provide a strategic focus, but a way to communicate and inspire that focus, to others.
The front window
We encourage any business owner redesigning their company website to take this approach:
Aligning your website, which is your company’s front window, with your central strategic focus.
The elements that combine to create your brand identity, such as your:
should be replicated throughout your website, aligned and consistent with your brand communication.
The front page (homepage) of a website acts like the cover of paperback, attracting attention and forming the basis of a new client’s decision to either pick up the phone or check out a competitor. First impressions count and if in those initial seven seconds when they are being formed, your website can communicate a consistent and inspiring brand message, it will contribute to the success of your business and you may even be able employ someone else to keep the baked beans hot!