Brand strategy is universally important to all businesses – big or small. Below are some of the most common myths that marketers and brand specialists are all too familiar with:
“We already have a logo and a website.”
And so do most of your competitors! Having a logo and/or a website does not guarantee success, which explains why some businesses are doing better than others, given that most, if not all of them, have some sort of visual or online representation. As we explained before, marketing is essential for a thriving business and a strong brand is what makes it a lot easier from the get-go. A logo is not synonymous with a brand – it’s only a very small part of the overall identity and customer experience; for more information on what a brand really is, check out our earlier article on the subject.
“We are a small, family business and we don’t need flashy marketing for our local market.”
We understand that on a local level, the marketing strategy of a family business will differ from a global perspective undertaken by superbrands, however they both ultimately have one common goal and that is to gain and retain consumers. Ask yourself – are your customers choosing your business out of convenience or are they genuinely loyal? Would they follow you if you changed premises and would they be able to recognise you wherever you go? Do you know if your customers recommend your business to their friends and family? If you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions – congratulations, you have a strong brand. If you struggled with any, you might consider going back to the basics by reviewing your business vision and preparing for some brand investment. To find out what instant benefits you can gain from well-executed branding, check out our previous blog post.
“We are celebrating our 50th anniversary this year and we are a well-established company with many loyal customers, so we are doing just fine.”
There is certainly a common appreciation of the community for companies with long history and the commitment of many generations. Whilst this is definitely something to admire and build on, too many times, unfortunately, these businesses fall into stagnation by holding on to nostalgia and the old strategies that used to work in the past. In fear of disconnection with heritage they avoid innovation and very often lose touch with the modern customer. And why is innovation so crucial if a loyal customer base seems sufficient? To put it simply - consumers tend to move on and if they are to be replaced by the new ones, they need a good enough incentive and plenty of information to choose your business over the competition. A very strong example of this is M&M’s who recognised the importance of innovation at the very beginning of their journey and this year, celebrating their 75th anniversary, the brand is considered one of the most popular heritage brands in the USA, with generations of consumers referring to the famous candy as a childhood favourite and still a product of choice. M&M’s is living proof that building a modern brand on tradition can in fact be a key to success and we gave some practical tips on how to do it in our earlier post. Customer loyalty might be the Holy Grail of every marketer and entrepreneur but it doesn’t need to be an unrealistic goal – build trust by engaging your customers in your vision and communicating your goals in one common language called “brand”.
“In our sector, there is no need for branding, because it’s a very niche, B2B environment with low competition.”
Underestimating your competition is a fundamental marketing crime, whatever sector you are operating in. Today even the smallest companies are competing on a global level because consumers are now met with unlimited choice online as a result of international trade becoming easier than ever. This is particularly true for specialist sectors, so despite a seemingly monopolised environment with few physical competitors it is in fact no more than an illusion. It might seem like you have found your niche but if you’re not wise in your marketing strategy, a better prepared competitor can be lurking around the corner. And that’s the moment when good branding wins customers’ choice.
In issue #16 of their branding Round Table, Branding Magazine quotes Heidi Melin of Plex Systems: “Innovation is the most devalued opportunity area for growth in respect to B2B marketing. B2C brands compete for consumer mindshare by continually innovating and creating new offers. B2B brands often miss the importance of continual innovation because our business partners don’t always demand it. As a result, B2B brands can render themselves stagnant or complacent.” – to which Gareth Case of CSC replies: “It becomes easy to bust the myth that branding is a soft discipline because we can see the impact from a demand generation cycle or increased activity and new visits to our website—and really quantify that impact. This changes branding from just ‘pretty pictures’ to powerful programs that are directly tied to revenue”. Apparently the same notion which makes branding a luxury and a superfluous investment in the B2B environment, gives it a great advantage in this still unexplored market. What might seem unnecessary for your competitors can prove beneficial for your company, merely for its innovation factor. Branding has been a powerful tool in business for decades and with the current market saturation, being in a position where you can choose to invest in brand development is a fantastic opportunity and can be a real game changer.