Branding for small business


(An update of an article published on January 14, 2014)

(Click here to read mechanics of SERDEF’s Brand Slam Contest for micro and small biz)

Branding is for large businesses only.  Branding is only for high-end products.  Branding is something small enterprises cannot afford and should not care about.

That branding is not for them is a common misconception held by small businesses.

Without branding, products come off as  run-off-the-mill, unexceptional.

In this age when customers are often faced with many, almost boundless choices, the only way to make your item stand out as a product of choice is through branding.

Branding is defined as the process of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. 

A company’s brand is its promise to its customer, a statement of what they can expect from its products and services.  It makes a product stand out from similar products offered by the competition.  A brand is a representation of what the company is, what it wants to be, and what people perceives it to be.

The Tronvig Group refers to branding as “what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service, or organization — whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy.”

A successful small business brand name is Pinakurat which Green Gold Gourmet Enterprises of Iligan City adopted for its spiced vinegar line.  Pinakurat has become so well-known it has triggered a legal case where another company which launched its Kurat brand was charged for infringement.

There are other memorable brands that small businesses have successfully built up — 13 PM Enterprises’ Eureka brand of educational toys, Marigold Manufacturing Corporation’s Mama Sita  condiments and food mixes, and Likas Papaya soap of Trinidad Cosmetics Laboratory.

Among big companies, a stand out is “SM ShoeMart, we’ve got it all for you” which gives the promise of a one-stop shop: you go there and there’s no need to go anywhere else.  Coke has built a such powerful brand that it stands above all other sodas and is bought even if priced higher than other brands.  San Miguel Beer has been riding  high on a brand that is associated with “proudly Pinoy,” “masarap,”  moderate pricing, and the camaraderie Pinoys are well-known for, as in “samahang walang katulad.” 

How do you begin your journey towards brand development?

The foundation of your brand is your logo.  Your website, packaging and promotional materials — all of which should integrate your logo- communicate your brand. 

Your brand must be built into your marketing and promotional campaign.  Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy.  So is your distribution channel as well as  how you communicate verbally and visually.

(Watch out for the announcement of the BrandSlam small business branding contest which SERDEF will launch on July 1, 2014.)

Next:  How to establish your brand

 (Click here to read Part 2 of this article)

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