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#2 Understanding What a Brand Is

This article is an excerpt from our upcoming book: 101 Ways to Market Your Service Based Business.

Branding is often a marketing mystery. The average person may consider a brand to just be a name, but that’s not true. A recognizable name, is a result of a strong lasting brand.

Branding typically depends more on something over-looked and underrated by most small business owners, because it’s something that happens somewhat naturally, can’t really be forced and is often associated with larger companies that have massive marketing budgets. However, there are certain steps one can take to plant the seeds of what the brand will be, it will just take time and experience to be able to develop it. Branding is a threefold recipe of imagery, culture, and service & reputation. How -you are perceived by your target market is what your brand will be considered. Lacking in any one of these three will create an awkward sense for your customers, I’ll explain what I mean further down, for now let’s look at each of these items individually before bringing them together.

The first major force of branding is of course, imagery. This is both the easiest and the most controllable of all three parts to implement and enforce. Imagery has everything to do with how your business is presented, how you, your employees and your customer experience your business on the level of the senses. How do they see your business, how does it smell, what do they hear when they come in and what are the materials/furnitures that they will interact with, and how good is the coffee you serve (or other beverage/food item), these are all aspects that will help to define your brand and get your customers thinking on a surface level about how they feel about your business, and how much they’re willing to pay for your product. Imagery alone is not enough to create a lasting brand however, the next two major forces work on a deeper level of the client’s mind.

The second major force of a brand is Culture. Culture is the summation of everything, & everyone that happens inside your business. Your attitude, their attitude, how often you clean the store, beers for the team on Friday, a powerful and long-term mission, smooth flowing operations and ease of doing the jobs, etc… The list really goes on, but you, your employees and the types of customers you have will really be the defining aspects to having a strong culture inside your business.

This culture aspect is one of the top contributors to employees staying long-term and doing good work, if they like where they are and have no real reason to leave, why would they? Same thing for your customers. There will always be someone who will do it cheaper, someone who’s willing to pay an employee more, but if the environment is positive and constructive you should have no problem keeping the people coming back to your business. Culture becomes very closely tied to the branding of your business.

And finally service & reputation, the reason people came to see you in the first place. If you’ve built great imagery for your customers, you and your employees project the sense of a healthy, positive culture, then they it should all culminate in an excellent customer experience and quality delivery of the product or service your business provides. Remember people always remember how you make them feel.

Pull together imagery, culture and a good reputation, and you’ll soon be the talk of the town or city where you’re located!

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