branding v. results...who wins?I got into a discussion about this the other day, and it's been nagging me ever since.
It was a debate about the importance of branding, as it pertains to results in your business. In fact, I squared off on this issue with two different gentlemen, both of whom were trying to justify their belief that branding isn't important. Results are what's important, they said. Execution is important.
Well, I would have to agree, results are king. But how do you make massive sales and grow your company like a virus? By being remembered. One begats the other. Establish a great brand, and people will fall in love with your story. Only by telling a great story will your business get the results you've dreamed of. Your brand is the headline of that story, and it goes beyond the look of your business card, the colour on your sign or the cleanliness of your uniforms.
Branding is about positioning. Being unique, and memorable. Execution (great service, a clean shop, a commitment to excellence) plays a huge part in your branding, and the whole package is what determines great results.
I'm starting my own company, specializing in building brands for small business. By small, I mean the independantly (and expertly) owned operations who know their craft, but find themselves lost when it comes to marketing. They've got some cash to get the word out, but not the kind of BIG AGENCY budgets that are necessary to squander all of one's profits on mass media. (ouch, was that a dig? Tv's dying kids, at least as far as ROI for your ad dollar is concerned)
In planning my endeavor, I have been stewing over trying to create a great brand, one that is exempliary of the kind of image, story and success that I wish to project onto my customers. Can you believe that I actually had a marketing student tell me that the name of my business, logo etc. weren't important? I'd like to meet the crusty old professor that taught him that phooey.
If I'm going to be selling branding, I have to be able to prove that I know what I'm doing when it comes to my own story. Half-way might keep you in business, and likely it will get the student in question at least a B on his exam, but this is the real world. In order to run an exceptional business, you have to be exceptional in every way.
But then again, I'm just ranting. And I, too am just believing what I've been taught. I guess this is a good time to thank Mom for getting me the books I asked for Christmas.