I am fortunate to speak with plenty of business owners, many of them running small and emerging businesses. Yet some of them still believe that the concept of branding doesn’t really apply to small business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are five common myths surrounding small business and branding.
Myth #1 – Branding is something that big companies do, not small businesses.
Reality – Building a strong brand is about creating an expectation within your customer’s mind. It has nothing to do with the size of the business. In fact, since great brands are all about satisfying emotional needs, it could be argued that branding is best done by smaller businesses who exist close to their customers. Strong small local brands can compete against, and even take down, the big boys.
Myth #2 – Branding is expensive and requires a lot of costly TV advertising that I can’t afford.
Reality – Building a strong brand isn’t about advertising or money. Branding is essentially storytelling. Stories are told through a variety of means, not just through advertising. Telling your brand’s special story doesn’t have to be expensive. What is expensive is not building a strong brand. Weak brands fail to grow, collapse in the face of competition, and quickly fall victim to recessions. Failure is expensive.
Myth #3 – I don’t need to worry about branding because my business is already different from everyone else out there.
Reality – You might think so, but your customers (and potential customers) probably don’t see it that way. Because business owners and operators are so close to their products, they are unqualified to see their business the way real people do. Real people don’t see that big a difference between most businesses. Only businesses with well-developed brands are able to demonstrate to customers what makes them so different.
Myth #4 – Branding is just a passing fad.
Reality – You’re probably right. So is the internet. While you wait for it to fade away, be sure to watch as small businesses around you build strong brands, develop powerful identities, and grow beyond their founder’s wildest dreams.
Myth #5 – If my brand is strong, I will become too pigeonholed to grow my business.
Reality – The ill-fated concept of being “everything to everyone” permeates small business. Long term, it doesn’t work. Businesses that establish a specific area of expertise are the ones that win. Successful businesses specialize and become famous for something! Yes, that means some people won’t like you. And that’s okay, even for a small business. Once you reach the point where you can accept that you need to lose some customers to gain hundreds of others, you’ll be ready to grow.
Small businesses with solid brands absolutely rock. They are fun to work with because they exist very close to their customers and can react quickly to changing conditions. They can make great things happen nearly overnight. Some of the coolest branding success stories out there are small businesses.
Remember, almost all rock stars start out small too.
Bob Marley started his career playing a style of island music that didn’t even have a name. Someone called it “reggae”, and within a decade Bob Marley was a worldwide star.
U2 began as a bunch of high school students who could barely play their instruments. This week they wrapped up the most profitable tour in music history.
When John met Paul at a church picnic, The Beatles were formed. They went on to change the face of music in a short decade.
Where will your small business take you? Learn more about branding your small business in the new book Brand Like a Rock Star, now available here. If you’re hesitant to order, read Chapter One for free before you buy. You can download it here absolutely free.
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