Branding Basics for Small Business by Maria Ross is a really good book on the important concepts of branding and will probably not get as much attention as it deserves because the title sounds like a text book. This book provides a good guide that outlines exactly how a small business can develop a strong brand. The ideas are also applicable to larger organizations and this is a good refresher for marketing professionals to remind them about what makes a strong brand. Ross presents a lot of great examples and case studies such as Honest Tea and Dry Soda in the “Brand at Work” features.
Here are some ideas that I really liked from the book:
Why Does Your Company Exist?
Part of creating a strong brand is understanding why your company exists in the first place. Besides just making money, many successful companies have a strong mission that drives what they do on a day-to-day basis and provides employees with a purpose for coming to work. Maria suggests Marty Neumeier’s advice to ‘Write the obituary of your business in 25 years and outline what you did that was great and why the world is a better place because your company existed.’ For example, Virgin Airlines exists to “make flying fun again” and this provides a guide for everything that they do.
Make Your Brand Simple
Maria writes “If you can’t boil your single greatest asset down to one thing no one else can say, you need to put more thought into your positioning, your product mix, or the audience you serve.” Unfortunately, many brands are too complicated and can’t be boiled down to one idea. For example, what is a Chevy? Maria asks “What is the one thing that sets you apart”. If you can identify that one thing, it can really set you apart from a crowd of similar offerings.
Integrate Brand Into Everything
Maria writes “A brand is exactly two things: It’s the promise your offering makes to people, and the cloths that promise is dressed in.” To deliver on your brand promise, your branding can not stop in your marketing department. Maria suggests that marketing work together with HR so that the company attracta employees that “truly live that brand inside and out”. I think that a rude employee cancels out the very best advertising and not delivering on the promise of your marketing messages will result in a disappointed ex-customer.
There are many more great marketing quotes from the book that I may tweet at some point, but in the meantime checkout the book Branding Basics for Small Business.