Time to take a look in the mirror at your brand

Clare Tucker explores why your small business branding matters and why rebranding need not be a terrifying prospect for SMEs.

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21st October 2009 at 8:12 am

When was the last time you stood back and reviewed your brand?

Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, in all honesty does your company image accurately reflect the quality of service that you provide and is it appropriate for your target audience?

If not then it’s time for a change.

Your brand is far more than just a logo. It incorporates everything relating to the image that your company is looking to achieve. This includes your logo but also the quality of your marketing materials, where you operate from, the manner in which you deliver your product or service and the people who you employee.

All of these elements combine to give an impression to the outside world of your company and the quality of its service. So you must make sure all of these components of your brand give the same consistent message, otherwise you risk confusing your potential customers.

It is essential that your company brand is appropriate for your target audience. You must ensure your logo and marketing materials are of a quality and image that is appropriate for the audience you are looking to attract.

Consider Argos, the company focuses on competitive pricing and value for money combined with a convenience-based service. Buy a pair of earrings from Argos and you might not even see them before you buy, you certainly don’t expect a personal service or quality of product that you would expect from Tiffany & Co, for example.

So it’s appropriate for Argos to develop a brand that reflects this value market whilst Tiffany & Co must ensure its brand clearly portrays the same quality as its exclusive jewellery.

There is nothing wrong in developing a value based brand but it must be because you are delivering a value based product.

My advice is, if you are unsure of the perception your own brand portrays, then conduct some form of research. Find out from your existing customers and suppliers how they perceive your company and what your brand says to them and act on the feedback.

If upon reflection you find your brand is not suitable for your target audience, inconsistent or simply in need of a revamp, then don’t panic.

Many companies I meet dread the thought of a ‘rebrand’, it fills them with fear of escalating costs and an administrative nightmare. It doesn’t have to be either of these.

Managed properly a company rebrand can be a relatively stress-free, inexpensive exercise and actually a very satisfying project, you just need careful planning, a vision and a realistic budget.

The good news is that you can introduce a high quality brand without blowing your marketing budget!

In next month’s article I’ll take branding one step further and offer some advice on exactly how to develop a new brand, including some hints and tips on keeping the costs down and working with design agencies.

Clare Tucker

Clare Tucker is the Managing Director of Sterling Marketing Management and a Chartered Marketer. She has spent over 20 years in the business services sector and the past 12 years as a marketer. Clare is passionate about nurturing start ups and small businesses by advising them on and implementing affordable, realistic marketing strategies http://www.sterlingmarketingmanagement.co.uk/

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  1. Steve Fair says:

    We encounter a lot of companies who are looking at rebranding (or they think they are) when we’re undertaking new business activity (we’re a new business agency, so we tend to be talking to companies at review time). TOo many of them don’t heed the advice above – they think they can control the impression people have of their company without improving or reinforcing their client or customer servicing. Small companies like Sponge NB have little brand presence compared to their own clients, so our actual work and the way we present ourselves in the small window we have (we use Twitter, Linkedin, our blog and more traditional things such as Google Adwords and a decent fo at SEO) are all we can do to shout about ourselves.

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