Regardless of your size, having a brand strategy matters. The purpose of developing and investing in a brand is to facilitate trade, differentiate supply, and influence purchasing behavior. A global study by Socratic Technologies and Nelson & Company found a ‘brand divide’ exists between small and large companies   The study suggests that CEOs at small companies are concerned primarily with staying alive and tend not understand or support brand. Small companies often focus  elsewhere.

Regardless of your size, if your business relies on repeat sales, gaining market share without major discounting or being able to set premium prices, then you need a brand strategy.  

Regardless of size have a brand strategy

Branding matters regardless of your size.

You Can Have a Mighty Brand Regardless of Size

There is some research that suggest that the more intangible your solution, the more you need to brand. And of course the degree of competition is a key factor. The more competitive your environment, the more important it to be able to differentiate your business and distinguish it from your competition.

How you decide to brand also depends more on your industry and the size of your immediate market than your size. Having a brand won’t replace having a solution that customer’s need or solid customer development and relationship strategies. It will however help pave the way for your marketing efforts, reduce your sales cycle, and help increase the speed at which existing customers adopt new products or their willingness to wait for your new product.

The Differences between Branding, Marketing, and Advertising

Sometimes Branding, Marketing and Advertising are used interchangeably. These are related but not the same. Before we talk more about branding, let’s distinguish these terms.

Marketing is a discipline ultimately designed to create value, and generate and increase profitable revenue growth. This means Marketing is more than support the Sales function. Marketing encompasses a variety of competencies, including but not limited to customer and market research, product definition, market validation, and product introduction, packaging, pricing, distribution, branding, and marketing communications.

Marketing communication an aspect of Marketing includes content marketing, digital marketing, social media, traditional advertising, promotion/merchandising, and public, media and investor relations, and customer relationship marketing, including database, event and direct and email marketing, and yes Advertising.

Advertising is any form paid marketing communication, collateral, content, broadcast media, direct marketing, viral marketing, event marketing, and so on. Marketing communication communicates your brand’s relevant points of difference and brings these to life.

A Brand is the personification of an organization or its solutions. Brands are designed to build relationships and emotional connections with customers. Brands are also the source of promises to customers. They should promise relevant differentiated benefits. Branding is the process of creating an identity for an organization or its products and services for the purpose of creating relationships with customers and making promises to customers.

Branding is a sub-discipline of Marketing, but given its increasing role at an organizational level (organizational branding versus product-specific branding) and the resulting need to manifest the brand promise at each point of customer contact, branding should influence virtually every activity in the organization. Branding is the source of (1) customer goodwill, and (2) a significant portion of the financial value of a company

Know Your Customers Before You Create Your Strategy

Your  strategy and value proposition must work together. Before you invest in a brand strategy, figure out your customers needs and wants to ensure your offer is of value in the market.  Develop a brand strategy that represents the promise you deliver. The value of branding is in its power to establish the emotional connection between you and your customers. It takes considerable time to develop a brand.

Here are seven steps any company of any size can do to begin branding:

  1. Take branding beyond advertising. Business owners tend to think of branding as advertising, when advertising is just one element of branding. Instead, envision branding as something that touches every part of your business, from your letterhead and logo to how employees answer the phone to how your supply chain runs. Branding is the integration of everything about your company to create consistency for customers, employees, suppliers and you as the owner.
  2. Preference is the cornerstone of strong brands. Use all your content, touch points and channels  to build preference for your brand: your ads, publicity, workshops, presentations, articles, newsletters, signage, customer referral programs, co-marketing, speaking engagements, community service and so on. Consistently display your brand’s logo, tag line and Web site address at all brand-related customer touch points, from letterhead, business cards and email messages to company vehicles, building signage and employee uniforms. The following factors effect brand identity recognition and recall:
    • Frequency of use
    • Consistency of use
    • Distinctive symbols, shapes and colors
    •  Use of mnemonic devices (memory encoders)
    • Size
    • Background clutter
  3. Know your customer’s persona: It is imperative to know who the primary decision maker is, their role, profile and very importantly their persona.  You need to know what motivates him or her, where he or she goes to get information on your product category and the messages to which he or she is most likely to respond. Then you need to map all of this to the customer journey.
  4. Improve your appearance. Image matters, whether you’re a coffee shop, enterprise software company, or an architectural firm. The look of your place and people are part of your image. Is your environment inviting, your people approachable, do your interactions appear orderly and professional. If a storefront is inviting, clean and bright, people will be drawn to you.
  5. Make clear promises. Be clear about your ultimate promise to customers and deliver consistently on it every time. Be able to answer the question as to why you are in business.
  6.  Be relevant: People choose brands that are relevant and compelling. Relevant differentiation today is a leading-edge indicator of market share and profitability tomorrow. Can you answer these two questions: What can your brand do better than any other brand in its category? What can your brand deliver that no other brand in its category can?
  7. Add value: Finds ways to establish your brands expertise and credibility by providing added value. Think of creative ways you can add value, classes, educational materials, access to writers, speakers, artists, dignitaries,etc. By offering something of added value, you keep your brand fresh in your current (and potential) customers’ minds, establish your brand’s expertise and credibility, reinforce your brand’s identity and promise and help to build emotional connection and loyalty with your customers and potential customers.

Let’s talk about how we can help you improve your branding and Marketing. 

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