What I mean by this is that there are many other things that will bring in sales more quickly than branding.
Many small businesses tend to try to mimic the branding efforts of large corporations, and it’s simply not possible.
So if you’re a small business, work on reaching more of your target audience through the channels above. So please permit me to conclude that your views are truthful on one aspect but myopic on a broader spectrum.
Branding(introducing your product to a customer and making a viable realationship with the customer) can be expensive or cheap…one just has to have proper business acumen or consultant. Branding is choosing your niche market, choose a brand positioning that will differentiate yourself from competition and communicate that differentiation.
That said I do believe small business should have a brand identity which a logo is only a part. Brands are really important in small business, and the internet has leveled the playing field and allowed some of the smaller brands to compete with the larger ones. Small businesses have long made the mistake of emulating what works for huge corporations without giving sufficient thought about whether they will work for their small business.
I made this exact argument against buying pay per click advertising for branding, insisting that small businesses must focus on clicks that generate sales and not simply visibility. Before small businesses focus on the priorities you listed they should make sure they have optimized and maximized their local search directory listings. I agree that companies shouldn’t just throw money at branding with hopes that it will result in customers as unlike large companies, they probably don’t have as much leeway for bad or inefficient decisions.
I think you’re undervaluing branding by viewing it as simply making things pretty or matching colors. I find it interesting that you’d recommend advertising for small businesses before branding. I believe if a small business focuses on your points then sales (cash) will come first and branding will follow. Susan, I just wrote about this topic for another small-business publication, and I take the complete opposite view. Exactly how do you expect a company to develop those advertising and PR campaigns with out a strong brand platform?
While I would NEVER tell a small business to spend money on mass media with TV, radio, sponsoring large events or even newspaper in most cases, that does not mean you should just throw branding out completely.
I agree that small businesses should not throw all their money at fancy branding campaigns done by high-priced agencies before they even have the backbone to support it.
Most entrepreneurs and business leaders can’t answer that question with complete conviction and relevance. Marketing and advertising cost a lot of money and will not be effective without branding first. So investing in your branding upfront will not be cheap, but will save you money and make you more money in the long run! Companies spend thousands of dollars building their brands and defining their reputations – often using superlative terms. This is part of the evolving role of corporate communicators as stakeholder-engagers with the added responsibilities to work internally to ensure that the messages are not ahead of the reality, and with stakeholders to help ensure that the expectations are reasonable. When faced with organizational resistance, some people are tempted to build external demand, hoping this will provide the burning platform for the changes that they seek to implement.
Piloting the program in places where improvement is clearly needed and will have the greatest impact can lead to dramatic results. In an ideal world, there would be little downside to complete transparency – and sharing the mistakes as learning opportunities long the way. When Google announced its energy use, many people were shocked at the massive size of their footprint.  By revealing its energy usage, Google not only acknowledged its impacts, it took the first steps toward managing its energy use and sourcing, while at the same time increasing stakeholders’ expectations for both reporting and progress. We must create an environment in which transparency and authenticity count and are valued in their own rights, because transparency is necessary for a more complete and balanced determination of corporate reputation – and when transparency is met with a balance of understanding as well as criticism, it is easier to be authentic.
John Friedman has more than 20 years of experience in public relations and corporate communications. Ecopreneurist is part of the Important Media network of blogs working to make the world a better, greener, more profitable place.

A Brand is a product, service, or concept that is publicly distinguishable from other products, services, or concepts so that it can be easily communicated and marketed to customers.  Branding can be applied to an entire corporate identity as well as to individual product and service name.
Branding is a technique used to clearly highlight what makes your business, product or service different to and more eyecatching than any of your competitors'.Your brand creates your business identity and its personality. Businesses and products need branding to ensure they stand out from the crowd and by using effective branding can promote your business or product as unique. If you are looking for a fully optimised business website to promote your new company contact us at TCRM. TCRM web sites are designed to be fast, efficient, easy to manage and add great value to your business. BRAND IS ALL ABOUT SHARING YOUR VALUES Or, Branding is communicating what people should expect. Thanks for your patience and make sure to keep checking in for my soon-to-come FREE marketing courses.
I define branding as anything done to make your company stand out in a sea of non-differentiated brands, and that includes everything from your logo to sponsoring events locally and nationally. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases.
Your solutions are still both direct and indirect branding exercises…and advertising of any sort is still more expensive than branding. If you look at the sponsorship examples you gave I am not sure they would see that as branding as they would be looking for a return and the naming would only be part of the sponsorship exercise.
The reason for this is your brand identity comes from your positioning which is essential for any business as it is the basis for your communication. Make what you’re doing that drives conversions do double work and use IT for branding. Once a brand is created it can last for years especially if people feel really connected and become evangelists.
Like Micheal pointed out all your solutions are either branding or tools for propagating a brand exercise.
Branding is important but cash flow tactics have to be first for small businesses to survive.
That is essentially determining what your brand is about and who it is for and then communicating it to them…is it not?
However, some of the recommendations here, without some emphasis put on branding first, seem like putting the cart before the horse. John Friedman points out seven ways companies, big and small can build a reputation that lasts. Some will use data from internal surveys or seek external validation from third parties to validate the brand attributes that matter to them. The data demonstrate universality (or progress toward it) and the examples offer context and meaning – assuming there are enough examples.
Document those improvements, of course, but moderate your internal and external communications (actual mileage may vary, highway mileage will probably be less). Promoting and promising huge gains may intimidate internal stakeholders who recognize that cannot possibly be replicated while, at the same time, building outsize expectations in external stakeholders’ minds. Sadly, the impact of missed earnings expectations on stock prices offers a real-world counter to that idealism.
It would be unfortunate and misguided if those who advocate for transparency and accountability were to do anything but laud the company for its courage and convictions. Reducing travel will reduce costs and benefit work-life balance for your employees but, it does not in fact reduce actual emissions. Since 1998, he has been helping companies large and small engage in programs that help drive performance by realizing their environmental, social and economic goals. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.
All business markets are highly competitive, a strong brand can make your business stand out from the crowd. Whether you are launching a new business, or rebranding your business, it is essential that your development plan includes branding and identity. Small businesses should focus on intimately knowing their target audience and communicating with them in a meaningful way. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

Excluding a sale or special offer, a company won’t see much of a long-term return from one traditional ad as multiple exposures would probably be needed to get customers’ attention.
Every touchpoint a customer has with your company is an opportunity for branding…not throwing up a logo, but the essence of what your business is about and why you are unique.
They’re what small biz should focus on initially to build revenue, then work over the long term to become known as a brand. One client of mine sponsored a local event at a college and received over 17k column inches of press as a result The success stories from sponsoring appropriate local events far outweigh the failures. Do you really want to be engaging heavily in PR and social media if you’re not comfortable or solid with your branding yet?
Branding is a continuous “daily” process of delivering on your promise and forever touching base on the needs and satisfaction of your clients. Other companies will use examples that support the desired reputational attributions – ‘proof points’ to validate their image.
Consistently referring back to the same example(s) are signs of a company or organization resting either on its laurels, or disconnected from the reality on the ground. Dunning a company because of a missed milestone due to circumstances beyond their control (such as a natural disaster forces an unexpected shutdown of operations or delivery of a key piece of equipment) may unfairly impugn their intentions and their efforts. While emissions from the flights not taken were not part of your footprint, those planes did fly and those emissions did enter the atmosphere. Craig Williams ATL can give you quality design elements for your first impression and I will focus on strategies that will give you long term success!  Business branding gives your company a cohesive look!  Based locally in Atlanta, GA but working everywhere to deliver detailed design products. At Mick-Mar we review your all your marketing materials and messages from your customers' perspective to learn about your business and to find where you can improve.
Successful branding is all about promoting your strengths, every business wants to be a customer's first choice, therefore you have to be able to deliver to your customers using these strengths. An investment into branding and identity contributes to better customer recognition, more sales and increased profitability.
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They should draw customers in with sales and promotions, then work to build loyal customers through trust and communication. That method can become very expensive which is why it’s remained dominated by big companies.
Further, while I agree that a small business should not spend too much time on a logo, one should make sure it is appropriate. You can easily manage your brand by defining it, making sure your employees represent you within that theme, and listen to your customers to ensure the brand is being delivered and received in that same regard.
The major vulnerability of this approach is that just one outlier example can even more effectively be used to discredit the point, even if it is the exception. Without the accompanying data, it takes on significance beyond itself. An example of a promise is when a company commits to reducing specific emissions by a specific amount (absolute or percentage) by a certain date.
Similarly, energy reductions do not correspond to a reduction in output (or emissions) from the power plant. While the results are different(the hook only catches one fish per time) the intent is thesame;that is to catch fish (customers).
But how are you going to get sales if you have no unique features to tell customers about, or if they can’t find you or see your business anywhere?
A plan outlines how they intend to do so, and often requires a baseline measurement to be substantive. Branding is the compilation of all your companie’s values and how you communicate them to your customers. The program puts the plan into action and performance measurement offers a scorecard or dashboard against both the plan (have we installed the needed equipment, reduced energy use, etc.) as well as the promise (numerical reporting on the actual emissions).
But I would argue that most people who buy Coca-Cola do so because of the Brand – whether they admit it or not.

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