This week I hosted a brand development workshop for a new client. Armed with giant post-it notes, Sharpies and some chocolate brownies the goal is to create an informal and collaborative environment to understand what a business really stands for, something that can be used to guide strategy in all communications and help to build a robust marketing plan.
It's something I believe strongly that businesses of any size should care about - not only that but it should available and affordable to small businesses who want to lay the foundation for a strong brand.
Compete on something other than price
And if some small businesses wonder if getting to deep into the whole 'brand thing' is really necessary, think of it like this: Creating a strong brand from the outset means building preference and fostering loyalty, and crucially competing on things other than price. For the sceptics the rational reason is this: if you have a strong brand you get the chance to charge a premium for your product or service.
And as I've said to many small business owners before once you're seen as cheap or you start to drop your prices you're in danger of entering into a race to the bottom. And you're going to have a hard time getting away from that 'cheap' perception.
Not convinced on brand positioning? A story from big business that has resonance: Toyota discovered that nobody would buy a luxury premium Toyota, an automotive brand that was perceived as 'good value', so in order to enter the premium luxury car market they had to invent Lexus. Brand positioning really matters.
Aligning your brand
But the thing I've noticed most when running these workshops for small businesses is how often there can be a dissonance between the stakeholders perception of the brand and how it is currently presented to the world. There's often a moment when the attendees look at their promotional materiel, the copy, images, and overall visual representation of their brand and realise it's quite disconnected from their values, their vision and their mission. A brand workshop helps realign the visual representation of the brand (logo, web site, social media content etc etc) and the brand itself.
So brand is all about audience perception of the intangibles, the essence of why your business does what it does and that point of difference that makes your product or service unique. Articulating that in a way that resonates with your audience is vital and where the creatives can come in, and to get to that point it's well worth spending a day discovering what your brand really means.
Looking to discover your brand essence and articulate your vision? There will be brownies! Get in touch.