Unevolved Brand by Graham Smith

Pride or Prevalence, Brand Marketing for the small

I have met a lot of people starting businesses and one of the common denominators is understanding for the need for a brand. And by brand, most people are referring to a logo.

I’m sure you’ve heard something along the lines of: “we need a logo that people instantly recognise”. Now this has a lot of common sense behind it, I mean why wouldn’t it make sense? We are constantly surrounded by brands so it’s perfectly natural to want to replicate this for your business.

The act of making your customer segments aware of you and your brand (read logo) and then associating a set of values with your logo is known as brand marketing.

I’m a fan of clear cut rules so here is my rule of thumb when it comes to brand marketing:

Brand marketing is not for small companies and startups. Period.

Unless you can spend $100m+ a year on brand marketing activities then you are going to be unsuccessful and a lot poorer. I know a very successful entrepreneur (yes a real one) that had £100m to build a global brand and it didn’t work. It wasn’t the fact that he was bad (he has successfully created brands before and since) it’s just that it’s a outrageously expensive and wasteful marketing strategy.

The common comeback to this is “I don’t want to create a global brand, just locally”.

This is a good point and something that can be achieved but realistically you’ll be pissing away 80% of your marketing budget on personal pride.

Thankfully though, brand marketing doesn’t just mean logo. In fact, I’m starting to believe that the logo of a company is the least important factor of a brand but I’m sure there are many that would disagree.

For me, the most important part of a brand are the intangible aspects, the bits you can’t see or write down or value. It’s the soul, character and personality of the brand.

Of course the personality is something you can do by brand marketing but why, when you are so small, waste time and money on activities that don’t finish with a sale or at least a lot of buzz?

Here’s a quick example:

I have just launched a new shop. The natural thing to do would be to hand out flyers with 10% off, new store open now. I don’t know about you but I can’t remember the last time this activity actually worked on me. In the past I’ve undertaken flying and the return on investment was atrocious. More importantly, it doesn’t add to the personality of your brand. You’re just the same, another number, another drone business.

For the same price (say £200) I could hire a couple of brass musicians for a couple of hours to stand outside and play fanfares every time someone enters the shop and then share it with the internet.

Ok so not very original but it will create a lot more interest and start building your brand personality. Plus, it’s remarkable!

So really, this brief post is to kick start thinking about which is more important to you: your pride or your business’ prevalence.