If you own a small business, arguably your reputation is your brand. It really isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money on branding your business — just market your reputation. It may be a subtle point but I don’t think it’s even understood well by some business coaches who advise local small businesses. Just like the black-and-white TV was the start of the in-home entertainment revolution, so a great reputation provides a solid foundation for growing your business.
Big business spend a lot of money on branding. Having a recognizable brand like Nike, or Kleenex can have a big impact on your sales so it’s worth spending money to keep your brand name before the public. Hand-in-hand with that comes management of the brand, so that any news that could hurt it is put out like a forest fire — before it can damage the brand and sales. And any good news is amplified to increase the good reputation of the brand — again, to increase sales.
For a small business, spending money on advertising the business name doesn’t make a lot of sense. First of all, there is less money in the ad budget to focus solely the name. A better use of funds is to advertise the reputation of the business.
One area that is often overlooked is reviews. Reviews by happy customers are the best kind of branding that a small business can take hold of and market. These can be marketed to social media sites, and put up on videos to be marketed on sites like YouTube.
Support for local sports teams and charities is another way to positively brand a business, and one that has been used a lot over the years. Basically, any positive involvement by a business in the local community can have a positive effect on how its brand is viewed and in attracting the business of local residents.
Leave spending money solely on branding a business name to the ‘big boys’. If you are a small business, focus instead on marketing your reputation. This will probably cost less, and almost certainly bring you a greater ROI.