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Brand Building

Many small businesses think branding doesn’t apply to them. I often talk to small business owners about their brand and often hear “I’m alright, I don’t need that kind of fancy stuff.” Well I’m here to talk to that business owner… I’m feeling extra creative today so I’m going to name him and give him an occupation. Everyone, say hi to Doug – he’s a hard-working tradie.

Here’s the thing about Doug, he knows a lot. He knows how to build a retaining wall for example. We on the other hand, know a bit about building brands. Branding has been around since the ancient Egyptians branded their livestock with hot irons to distinguish their cattle. It was an easy way to solve any ownership issues. Clever bunch, the Egyptians. Good builders too but I digress.

Today we understand branding to be a product, service or company that people recognise through a logo, slogan, design, colour, sound, symbol or just an interaction. If I say to you “cola” it is likely you will associate the colour red with this. If I say “Just Do It” you know I’m talking about Nike. That is branding working its magic.

So what about branding on a more relatable scale? Let’s think about Doug. He’s not running a multi-million-dollar corporation with a global brand. He’s Doug, from New Zealand who builds houses, retaining walls, decks and renovates old bungalows. He has a fair bit of work on but there are still lulls from time to time. Some extra clients (with larger, more profitable projects) would be welcomed. Doug needs to stand out from the competition. He wants to be picked over that guy Wayne up the road to renovate the lounge at number 32. Bloody Wayne!

Doug is listed in the yellow pages online. That’s great but our lovely customer Kate (at number 32) hasn’t considered the yellow pages in a decade. She’s the wrong demographic. Kate uses social media to search these days. She searches for builders and scans the results – she recognises some names and clicks on one or two because they have good descriptions of their services; she recognises the logo from vehicle signage around town and she thinks they sponsor her sons footy club. Kate sends a few instant messages and Wayne replies to her message first. He says he is out on a job, but he will call between 4pm and 5pm to discuss her options.

Wayne is wiping the floor with Doug already. He’s made himself visible through his brand and picked the right platforms to advertise his services (Kate just happened to pick Facebook). By replying to her message so quickly, Kate now associates Wayne and his brand with good communication and efficiency; traits she wants in a builder. All this and she hasn’t spoken to him yet.

So, what’s the lesson for Doug? What can he do to make sure his brand works for him? Here are my top tips for him to get started.

Doug needs a logo that clearly identifies his company name and what he does. It’s not going to help Doug stand out and attract business if he has some obscure name with an abstract logo or crazy font. His van might look cool but Kate in the car behind him might only have a few seconds to decipher things.

Doug should question everything. He needs to ask why he does what he does, what motivates him, what are his goals? Who are his customers, where are they, what’s the problem he can solve? By keeping questions like these at the forefront of his mind, it will help him make informed decisions when it comes to his branding and overall marketing strategy.

Ok I’m being dramatic, but Doug needs to know who his competition is and what they’re doing. Wayne has a black and yellow logo with a picture of a hammer – this is valuable information to a graphic designer. We now know yellow and hammers are out! A little bit of competitor knowledge can really help create a strong successful brand.

Branding. Doug needs it and you need it too.  First impressions really do count in business.

Come and talk to us about your brand, and if you like the cut of our jib (Gib?), we can create a made-to-measure plan that suits you and your business goals. Get in touch with your usual Baker Tilly Staples Rodway advisor.

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