Guest Blogger: Adam Schechtman, VP of Business Development & Marketing, Eye Catching Creative
To brand or not to brand? That is the question so many small and mid-sized businesses tend to overlook in the early phases of their development. The problem is there’s a tendency to keep shuffling this linchpin of marketing success to the dark corners of the priority list. Then one day, we read an article or hear someone talking about a competitor and cringe in uneasiness because they did something we didn’t…built a solid brand.
Like marketing in general, branding is easy to lose focus on, especially when we have experienced some degree of success. If you agree that today’s markets have changed and the way businesses DO business has changed, then it’s time to recalibrate some of your own marketing efforts. That means its back to basics! Like the “butterfly effect,” small improvements in your branding strategy can have a tremendous impact on growth over time.
We know from marketing 101 that your brand is your identity. Beyond the visual or physical makeup… name, logo, advertising, a brand is quite simply the psychological impact you have on customers. Branding is so important because people buy emotionally and then logic steps in to support their buying decision. Your brand is essentially a part of the ongoing relationship you have with customers. It is a compilation of messages that differentiate (or don’t differentiate) your business, product or service from everyone else who plays in the same space as you do. Take a second look at the competition of today. If someone stands out, why do they stand out? Who doesn’t stand out? Which category does your company fall into and who might be able to help you to improve on that position?
From your email address to your website, to how the phone is answered to the relevance of your marketing materials, your brand must be professional, consistent and CURRENT. What the company stands for and what you’re offering should be different and clear. When is the last time you really dissected how you are perceived in the market and what your market position truly is? One easy way is to run a survey using existing customers or even some customers that you lost. Resources like SurveyMonkey.com are fantastic, free, e-survey questionnaire tools that are easy to use and easy on the budget. So let me ask you… what perception do your customers have of your business? What does your presence in the market “feel” like to customers and professional peers (aka competitors) and more importantly… are you being felt?
Adam Schechtman is an entrepreneur and co-owner of Eye Catching Creative, providing virtual, on-call design, advertising and marketing solutions to budget-conscious small and mid-sized businesses. With more than 15 years in marketing, business development and sales, he is also the former owner of Achieve Senior Home Care and former co-owner/franchiser of Advance Realty Solutions. Adam holds an MBA in marketing from Johns Hopkins University. Visit www.eyecatchingcreative.com for more information.