The importance of local businesses having a strong brand is greater now than ever. There’s a lot to be said for local businesses that take pride in their brand and how customers perceive them. Recently I’ve held conversations with local business owners who believe that their customer base is strong enough as it is. Although their local competition is always increasing, they didn’t believe that by improving their brand and/or website, for example, it was going to improve their business. 10 years ago, this would’ve been true.
Branding builds value. Not just for customers looking in from the outside, but also for staff as it gives them motivation and direction – belief in the company they are representing. They need more than just work. They need to be part of the bigger picture too – the mission of the business. The WHY behind the business and having a strong brand builds something that employees can be positive about. Positivity breeds more positivity.
Branding brings new business. You might feel comfortable with the business you have now, but what if you could have more? What if one of your key customers decides to leave? You should never be complacent. Would you refer someone to a business with a poor brand? How difficult is it to refer someone to a local business if you can’t remember their website or name? There HAS to be an indelible impression. This is where I’m surprised at the number of local business owners who are happy with a website that doesn’t represent their business as it is today, or a brand that hasn’t been refreshed since the 90’s. Only a minority will take you seriously in today’s fierce market.
Branding is also incredibly important if you spend on marketing and advertising. This is another component of your brand, but all too often do I see local businesses advertising with immaculate new adverts but a poor website/shopfront. It’s important to be consistent. You wouldn’t wear an expensive suit to an interview alongside some dirty old trainers, so wouldn’t you want everything you want your customers to see to be the best?