Business vs. brand – are you getting the balance right?
Andrew Scott is the founder and CEO of Purplex. Over thirty years, he’s acquired, cultivated the brand and sold dozens of businesses himself – and helped dozens more achieve profitable sustainable growth. Here, he gives his insights into how great brands make better businesses.
There are over 15,000 businesses in British glass and glazing. How is yours standing out?
Over the last three decades, I’ve seen an incredible number of companies rise and fall. Some that started as tiny one-man operations are now multi-million-pound global corporations. Others launched, limped along for a few years, then disappeared off the face of the Earth – getting bought out, merged, or just going bust.
What sets these two types of business apart? They were all offering broadly the same products and services in the same industry. But some thrived, and some sunk.
A huge contributor would have been brand.
Businesses versus brands
The average person is exposed to 5000 marketing messages per day – which makes having a powerful, recognized brand vitally important.
Audiences naturally gravitate towards brands they trust. Apple is the strongest brand in the world, closely followed by Google – when was the last time you Asked Jeeves?
There’s a critical difference between businesses that focus on lead generation and brands that focus on lead generation. Leads are obviously crucial. They’re the lifeblood of any company. But lead generation on its own is a dangerous and risky business.
Without a strong brand, just focusing on lead gen is like throwing mud at a wall and hoping it will stick. You could spend a million pounds of Pay-Per-Click advertising – but consumers would still choose a company they know and trust more than you.
For your lead generation efforts to be effective, in other words, you need to also spend time and money building your brand.
Companies are increasingly reliant on a narrow range of marketing channels. But today, brands need to ‘be’ where their clients are, wherever and whenever they are – and this means taking a much wider and more integrated omnichannel approach.
Building a trusted brand means investing in traditional marketing
When planning a branding campaign, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions:
What does my business do? If you had 10 minutes to explain your product to a potential customer, what would you say?
What are my competitors doing? There’s a famous quote from James Caan: ‘Observe the masses and do the opposite.’ When it comes to your branding, do something different.
Try not to use value or service as a brand message. Many businesses do this and it waters down the strength of your message.
Once you’ve found your USP, then you can get to work – executing the PR campaigns, sponsorships, advertising, and brand awareness initiatives that will make you stand out from the crowd.
Sponsoring award schemes and good causes, having a regular presence in the press and generally getting yourself in from of your prospects as much as possible will build brand awareness and trust.
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