What do global Brands such as Cocacola, Apple, Samsung, KFC and Local Brands such as EABL, Safaricom, KCB have in common? Their brands stand out. They have invested consistently in marketing their brands over a period of time leading their brands to be being top of mind for both customers and non-customers. As a small business, these examples might feel like giants that have the muscle to be able to advertise, but they all began as small businesses that grew into the most admired brands over time. We have watched local brands such as Marini Naturals, Bonfire Adventures, Valentine Cake House, Vivo Active Wear amongst others grow right in front of our eyes to be top brands in the country.
What is a brand anyway? It is the sum total of the perception of a business in the minds of people. It includes the business name, the logo, the reputation, customer service and the communication including advertising. Some of these seem like small things but they really have an impact in how your business is viewed. Some of these seem like small things but they really have an impact in how your business is viewed.
So why is branding important?
First, branding enhances recognition. For instance, when you see a tick you immediately associate it with Nike. This logo is simple enough and it creates an impression in people’s minds. A tagline such as ‘Safaricom is for you’ has memorability and when repeated over and over sticks in peoples’ minds. As a small business, you have to think long term when coming up with a business name and logo. Some businesses tie themselves up and are not able to expand beyond the business name. For instance, for a bakery, if you include the name cakes in your name, you might not be able to grow your lines of business to include other pastries or providing other food services.
Secondly, branding creates trust. Your brand gives a promise to customers and if this promise is fulfilled, the customers will trust the business and be loyal to it. The reverse is also true. The image that a business portrays through your website, business cards, company profile, employees etc. is what customers will remember. As a small business, any interaction with the business should be memorable. Any communication sent to the customer as well as the customer service should reflect the image the business wants to leave with the customers
Branding increases sales. When the brand is impressionable and memorable, customers are likely to recommend it to their friends and families. Quality, great customer experience and image are some of the brand aspects that have an impact on the sales of the business. Word of mouth is one of the most affordable forms of advertising that a business can have, and small businesses should take advantage of it to grow even as they gear up for formal advertising mechanics that are sometimes quite expensive. New customers can be acquired through a memorable brand experience.
Branding leads to employee pride and satisfaction. Employees want to be associated with a brand that is recognized and makes a good impression. There are organizations where employees proudly give out business cards to people because they are proud to be associated while others never want people to know where they work because what follows is a stream of complaints about the brand. Research has shown a strong link between an organization’s brand and employee satisfaction and productivity. Reversely, employees have a big impact on brand reputation as they are key to the experience that customers have when they interact with the brand. It is important that employees see the big picture so that they are part of bringing the brand to life.
Branding can bring customers together into a community. For instance, Apple customers have come together to form a community that rallies up to champion their needs and values. This has led to a bigger brand recognition built from customer loyalty and eventually brand longevity. As a small business, you can see how to create a community around your business so as to increase loyalty and eventually grow through word of mouth.
In conclusion, the impact of branding should never be underestimated and taking the time to curate the brand identity will determine how well your business is going to perform. Branding makes a huge difference in the organization and for small businesses, it is a game-changer
In our November 2020 Springboard Webinar titled “Growing your Business Brand”. Our speaker for the day, Kanyi Ohawa, Director of All and Sundry Ltd, gave the trainees insights of how to grow their businesses by ensuring brand excellence.
You can watch the full webinar below.
Article written by Richard Mwangi (Marketing Officer)- Springboard Capital Ltd.
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