Pop quiz! What is the most common, yet most easily corrected, mistake small businesses make?
B. Marketing myopia
C. Lack of branding
D. Failure to diversify
A recent article by Steve Strauss, one of the world’s leading small business experts, posed this question.
Based on his experience, Strauss concluded that the answer was C, bad branding. “To understand why, try this little experiment: Think about a major street that you drive down every day, and think about the row upon row of businesses you see on that street. OK, now, quick, which ones do you actually specifically remember?
If you are like most of us, the answer is zero, or maybe one or two, and that is sad, sad, sad. While every one of these small businesses represents someone’s dream, very few of them are actually businesses worth remembering.”
Finding a real difference that resonates with your target audience is hard work. Most businesses never do it—even many larger ones.
Strauss goes on in the article to talk about the importance of a unique value proposition, or what we like to call, a brand promise. It’s what gives your potential customers a clearly defined reason to choose you over the competition. A big part of that is owning a word or value in the consumers mind.
So how do you determine what your brand promise should be? Often, talking to current customers can provide important clues. You also need to understand what prospects are looking for, and study competitors positions to see what, if anything, they have aligned themselves with.
Small businesses can get bigger… the key is managing perceptions.