By Silvina Rodríguez Pícaro
These simple tips that can help order tasks and keep the focus on the business image.
Many small business owners think that the biggest problem of their business is related to financing.
It is true that having liquidity is as essential as the blood or the breath of any living organism. However, if you didn’t work on creating and consolidating a powerful brand image first, a loan may only amplify the problems of the company.
I share these simple tips that can help order tasks and keep the focus on the business image:
1. Fight Commodity
Over time, any product or service tends to be transformed into a commodity, meaning when customers not finding the difference are not willing to pay a Premium Price.
When this happens, profits vanish, and the companies suffer. Fighting against commoditization must be a top priority for every business.
Whoever differentiates a commodity with the power of branding will reach the kingdom of heaven: or maybe the coffee that Starbucks sells is not a commodity?
2. Small Is Good
Many small businesses have a complex of inferiority and think that spending time on branding is only for big players.
However, they ignore the number of niche brands that are part of the brand portfolio controlled by a big corporation.
Examples like Honest Tea, from the Coca-Cola Company, Jaybird (a brand of headphones for runners), which belongs to Logitech, or the cosmetics brand Too Faced owned by the giant Estee Lauder, are just a few examples of the power of being perceived as small. Big companies know: small is good.
3. Understand Your Market
I have learned that the market, people, and their behavior somehow rule everything related to business.
So, regarding whatever challenges a brand is facing, I always say: “Listen to the market. Listen to the voice of the consumer”. That’s the fundamental essence of marketing, and the reason everything we do for brands is human-centered.
Fortunately, new technologies allow us to learn about consumers and their behavior very fast, allowing us to keep our focus on the most significant issue: what matters to people.
4. Understand the Category
The customer perceives the brand within a category.
There are colors, shapes and graphic styles that apply to particular categories and the magic of branding lies in being able to differentiate between those. Just think about it: would you brush your teeth with toothpaste packaged in a brown tube?
In branding, it is not advisable to confuse the client, but it is possible – and sometimes encouraged – to play with them. A notable case is the perfume Fresh by Moschino, with a packaging similar to those of glass-cleaning products, the context is the one that designates the category: among hundreds of fragrances in the shelves of a Duty-Free Shop, this brand cannot fail; their target audience understands the message.
5. Do Some Research
I always tell my clients to think big, because if they think small, they will never achieve great results. In a global world, thinking big implies being able to communicate in multiple languages and engage with numerous cultures.
Avoid being ‘lost in translation.’ As an example Toyota, didn’t do very well when attempting to launch the MR2 in France, “M-R-Deux” because when spoken in French, the name sounds a lot like merde! Another inappropriate and unfortunate example: the name Caca Marrón (Brown poop) for a hair Henna product, which already did not have a pleasant aroma to begin with.
A little research involves common sense, doesn’t have to be expensive, and can save a lot of these unnecessary pitfalls.
Published in Latin Business Today.