• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Why small businesses should do branding

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Should an entrepreneur running a small business care about branding? Business development experts have noticed that the answer to that question is usually no but even when it is yes; the entrepreneur is often more concerned about getting customers, paying salaries and paying bills such as rent. Various marketing strategists have described branding as the impression that a business makes that immediately let people know what is special or unique about that business or what that business stands for. Aderoju Odunsi, an entrepreneur, business development consultant and head, training unit of the NECA Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) recently has this to say, “Since small businesses are operating in the same market with big businesses that have very strong brands, to survive and grow in such a market, small businesses need to find a way to create their own brands.” Odunsi, who is chief executive, Experiential Consult Limited explains that the brand is what sticks in people’s minds when they think about the product. She says, “Branding is about creating an identity. It is what sets one company apart from another. In short, it tells us what we can expect from that company. It is about the perception people have of the company. It is what a company is known for.” She also says, “Your branding is all the elements that make up a brand, whether logo, packaging, colours, reputation for customer ser- vice, reputation for customising customer orders without complaint, speed, self-serve options, low price, high quality and so on.” Odunsi highlights the elements of a brand to include brand name, logos and icons, colours, sym- bols, music, celebrities or personalities, advertising slogans and jingles, brand alliances/secondary associations, co-branding, licensing, sponsorship, event marketing, celebrity endorsement, third- party endorsements (referrals) and so on. She notes that a brand strategy is simply a plan for developing a coherent brand. “Brand strategy provides the means for systematically creating differentiation and consumer appeal by empowering better brand decisions across the organisation.” So many small businesses have grown to become big businesses by building a brand early enough. It is therefore essential for small businesses to note that if they want to build strong brands as they grow and become big, they must start the branding process from the inception of the company. Uzo Nduka, chief executive, Domino Information Company whose business also grooms SMEs says it is essential for a small business to begin to do all that they consider important while they are small. He explains that failure start these while they are small could result in difficulties when they grow big. Nduka uses the ex- ample of a baby girl who later becomes a mother in adulthood. He explains that all the reproductive organs of a woman are already in a new born baby girl though they are not matured yet for reproduction. He urges small businesses to put in place all that it is necessary for success as a big business when they are small. So, a small business that intends to do branding when it is big needs to start now or else could likely have serious difficulties impressing that brand on people when it grows big. For instance, a small business might start out using colours, symbols, slogans not in line with its future brand objective. When it becomes big, it would need a lot of money to change this orientation and the impression people already have.