How Small Business Branding DiffersJun 24, 2022
In this week’s podcast Sean D’Souza says small businesses should just focus on their products and services, and shouldn’t talk about their company when looking to differentiate or position themselves.
In Sean’s view when a consumer is interested in buying a new product or service what they’re buying is a product. They’re not buying a company. So, small businesses should stop talking about their companies, and instead focus on communicating one single message about how their product or service differs from others. That’s so they can give a satisfactory answer to the question on a buyer’s mind, which is why should I buy from you, when I can buy from anybody else?
Sean believes the biggest mistake people make when it comes to differentiating their business is that they don’t give others a quick way to remember what is unique about their product or service. They don’t just say one thing.
Instead they copy the approach of big brands, and speak about their company. But while big companies like Apple may be known for something like good design, or Volvo is known for safety, it’s different for small businesses.
People read about Apple and Volvo and then they’re running their small business which might have at most 100 employees, but more likely only one or two employees, as if they are a big company. But there is no way a small company can get their message across as being safe or, sexy, or whatever. They don't have the resources of big business to advertise and to do research and all the things that you're told to do.
There is absolutely nothing we have in common with businesses like Apple, Volvo and McDonalds. Apple has $1 trillion in the bank, and offices, and employees says Sean.
While I agree that there are differences between large businesses and small ones which make it necessary to carefully consider how to apply branding ideas to small businesses, and that a single message is more likely to cut through when positioning a small business, I do think it’s important to create a brand even if you’re a small business.
Every big business we know today started out as a small business. You don’t need to assume you will always be a small business when you create your business. You just need strategies to overcome your small size initially. Your marketing should evolve as you grow in size.
In developing the Brand Tuned Accreditation program, I’ve been considering the approaches that small businesses with lesser resources should take when it comes to research and brand building and other actions because it’s just not possible for them to win using the same strategies as large businesses. For example, a small business just doesn’t have the sort of budget it takes to do both long term brand building, and short term sales promotions. So, how should they apply insights from books like The Long and the Short of it?
As I explain in the Brand Tuned Accreditation program, we should adapt our approach in every facet of life. For example, in the number of names a small business should use.
Think about how you can become known personally as the founder while also ensuring your company name and product names are recognised. I will be discussing this more in next week’s newsletter. In the meantime, what do you think? How do you adapt the ‘truths’ of marketing to the small business context? I’d love to hear your views.