How Do Small Businesses Build a Brand?

A Super Bowl game can be an awesome experience for someone like me! Not because my team wins but because of the quality of play and the closeness of the matchup. What makes it even better is when we get to see some outstanding commercials!

Super Bowl commercials have become almost as entertaining as the game itself (some might say more so!) Recent years have been some of the best. I found myself going to YouTube and watching the commercials even before game day! Then I was watching them again after the game. Very entertaining!

But why do companies put so much into these commercials and why do they spend so much money on them? Do you think their sales increase after the Super Bowl? Do you think they get a good R.O.I. from them in terms of sales revenue?

I have read some reports in the past about companies getting an uptick in sales after the Super Bowl, but I have a hunch this is not about direct sales R.O.I. at all. It’s purely about branding! And I might add, it’s a powerful medium & concept for that purpose! But what about the small business?

How Do Small Businesses Get a Brand?

Should small businesses try to spend significant portions of their revenue on branding?

My answer to that is a definitive NO! These strategies are great for Chevrolet, Honda, and Doritos (a few of my favorite from the past). But most of what large corporations do in marketing is not right for small business marketing! When small businesses try to market and brand themselves like national or international corporations they typically get into a lot of trouble. Why?

Small businesses do not have the resources to buy a brand!

2 Ways to Create a Brand

There are 2 ways to create a brand. You can buy a brand and you can earn a brand. Large corporations have to do both! Large corporations that buy a brand but don’t back it up by their product and/or service performance don’t last. Large corporations that simply earn their brand often get lost and forgotten in the national or international arenas because there are so many players. This is one of the most challenging strategic decisions that large companies have to make – and they have to make it month after month after month.

Small business owners make a mistake when they try to market like large corporations. Don’t do it! It’s tempting to try, almost seductive at times. But you can waste a lot of money and get very little return by trying to emulate the big boys. Small businesses should focus on earning their brand.

How Do You Earn a Brand?

You keep your word. You fulfill your promise to your customers every time! You fall in love with your customers and as a result, you give them time, attention, and extraordinary service. You create a community around your brand (see Seth Godin’s book Tribes.) You turn your customers into loyal, raving fans who are excited to tell others about you and give you referrals. The best small businesses earn their brand every day, one customer at a time. They become the buzz of their local communities.

And when they do spend money on marketing it is almost always direct-response marketing. In other words, they want a specific dollar return on every dollar they spend. They track and measure everything they do in terms of marketing activity and cash R.O.I.

As a business coach, one of the first and fastest ways I find that I can add value to new clients is in helping them become more efficient and strategic with their marketing activities and their marketing budgets! If you’re a small business owner like I am, watch and enjoy the commercials, but spend your marketing resources on taking care of your customers and your community!

Glenn Smith is a sought-after Executive Coach with over two decades of experience. Recognized for his strategic insights and leadership training, Glenn has been a guiding force for more than a hundred successful small to mid-sized businesses. Merging data-driven strategies with profound insights into human behavior, he aids business owners and executives in realizing their fullest potential. A respected thought leader, Glenn has contributed to numerous business publications and is a popular keynote speaker. Outside his professional realm, Glenn cherishes family time and outdoor activities. He is a pilot with over 30 years of flight experience. He is also a professionally trained gunsmith and a firearms instructor. His dedication to fostering leadership and driving transformative change marks him as a premier figure in executive coaching.


How Do Small Businesses Build a Brand?

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