Branding - Managing Reputation

Created on 02/05/2013

I am often told when raising the issue of branding that this is an area for larger companies and that it is not relevant to smaller businesses. "No time, too busy just getting on with it" is the general reaction I receive. It's not something that surprises me, having dealt with marketing professionals for many years. There is a perception that with their strange language, such as "floating balloons" and "squaring the circle" that this is an elitest world requiring large budgets to participate in and is unlikely to create a significant increase in business.

This is, of course, partially true but is not at all an accurate picture of branding and its critical importance to any business. The issue I believe is in our understanding of the word branding. Whether we like it or not we all have a brand, for example one company might "provide excellent customer service but be expensive", another company might be "cheap but reliable". The client base for both companies is likely to be significantly different, each having totally different requirements and expectations. The first de-emphasises price through quality, the second targets lower profit margins for higher turnover. I anticipate that in your own mind you will have already branded these two companies and they would look very different to one another.

To me, branding is better defined by the word "reputation" and is about aligning every client interaction so that this reputation is managed and maintained. If the reputation is damaged, clients can potentially be lost, whereas if a reputation is enhanced it is likely to attract new clients and is more likely to retain existing ones.

Therefore, branding is about understanding who we are, what we do and how we position ourselves with our market. In short it is ensuring that we maintain the right impression with our clients. For large companies, this might include aggressive and complex brand management across all marketing and sales channels. For smaller businesses, because there is "no time", maintaining a "reputation or brand" is all too frequently overlooked.

However, often the solution to maintaining the right impression can be found in the following simple checklist:

  • Is the website modern and does it visually reflect the required reputation?
  • Is the information contained accurate and up-to-date regarding the company's products and services?
  • Does all stationary, such as business cards and letterheads, display the company logo and match the colour palette of the website?
  • Does the marketing material, such as adverts, flyers and brochures match the style of the website and is all information fully up-to-date?

Sygnet provides both individual and complete solutions to assist with branding issues, please call 01732 355775 for more information.

Graham Hughes
Director, Sygnet Interactive