Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Basic Branding Kit SMEs must have - The How

SME - Basic Branding Kit 

At the outset, when you are about to enter the market fresh with a dream and a mission, you need to have the following:

1.     Brand Identity
i)                Brand/Company Name
ii)              Brand/Company Logo
iii)            Company Stationery – Visiting Cards, Letterheads, Envelopes

2.     Brand Strategy – A document that details:
i)                Brand Core/Essence – Who am I?
ii)              Brand Vision and Mission – What is my purpose?
iii)            Target Audience – Who am I talking to?
iv)             Brand Positioning – How does my Target Audience see me?
v)               Value Proposition – Why should my Target Audience buy me?
vi)             Brand Personality – What do I look like, come across like, what is my personality as a brand?
vii)           Brand Message – What should I say (through any form of communication) so that my Target Audience responds the way I want them to?

3.     Road Map – The document that details where I am headed in the next 1, 5 or 10 years.
4.     Essential Collaterals – Website, Presentation, active Digital/Social Media presence
You may feel this is too much work and consumes too much time. But in this cut-throat world, you may not have a choice really.  

Invest a little time and money in your brand – it pays.
As you get busier in running the company and business, you will tend to ignore your brand and branding. It is a natural progression for most and needs to be consciously dealt with. Your brand is not ‘any other product’, it has the potential to join the ranks of big brands. If you believe in this, then you must invest time and money in your brand. Treat branding as a continuous growth program; you will do yourself and your brand a world of good.

The homework you need to do, to begin a branding program for your company
A little homework goes a long way in making your branding exercise fruitful. Just some rough notes on the following would be enough to kick start your branding program with your consultant/agency.
    1)     Who am I? (Your company)  
  •          Who is my buyer? (Who do I want my buyer to be?)
  •         Who are my competitors?
  •         Where do I want to be?
  •         Where am I today?
  •         What does my buyer think of me today?
  •        What do I want my buyer to think of me?

If you are too busy to work on these, no worries. Your agency/consultant will help you answer these. Just make sure you make some time for them.

SMEs in the industrial /engineering segment can immensely benefit from branding
The irony of today’s global marketplace is that there are few biggies, companies who make it to the Forbes list; while there are probably millions of others who are in the SME segment. The clutter is more here than there - at the top. The clutter gets worse in the industrial/engineering/B2B segment; what with thousands of small and medium sized companies vying for the same share of the market pie! Evidence lies in the way these companies are identified by their ‘industrial belt’ status and not by their name. If you check with your buyers, you will see the truth in this statement. No prizes then for guessing why branding assumes all the more importance in this segment! Every company – small or midsized, has the potential to become a known brand.

You have a good product, a good team, great potential and a global market. What you need is good branding, a solid plan, a sound strategy and a clear road map. Armed with these 4, SMEs can break clutter, create flutter and even take the market by storm. Branding gives you an opportunity to go from a ‘registered vendor’ to a much-in-demand company; it ensures buyers can ‘search’ you, ‘Google’ you from a sea of unknowns. Branding makes you known for what you are – in the country and in the world; it gives you a chance to make an effective statement; it makes you stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Every product, every company – small or midsized, has the potential to become a known brand. It’s all in the mind and more in the branding. If you are inching towards the big picture you have sketched for your company, branding is where you should begin.

All’s well that begins well. Happy Branding!