Why do you need a strong brand image for your small business? What’s the importance of business branding? Why should i invest in building a brand identity for my small business? If any of the questions above bothers you, then i advice you read on. Building a business from scratch is a very complicated task. Most entrepreneurs are so engrossed with the day to day affairs of running their business that they fail to build a brand image for the business.

As an entrepreneur, it is your duty to balance the lever of your business. You have to make sure all systems of your business are running at full capacity. From the accounting system, legal system, product development system to the marketing and advertising system; everything has to be done right to ensure the efficiency of the service delivery to the end users or customers.

“If you are not a brand, you are a commodity.” – Robert Kiyosaki

“Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things.” – Peter F. Drucker

I was compelled to write this article because I observed that almost 90% of small businesses are not investing in building a brand image for their firm. It also amazes me to note that whenever I mention the phrase “build a brand” in my seminars, most small business owners would scrunch up their face and say; “why should I build a brand image for my small business? Branding is for big companies with millions of dollars set aside for advertising.”

“Branding is an extended seduction, not a color palette.” – Ben Mack

At such seminars, I try my best to enlighten these business owners that brand building is not for the Fortune 500 companies alone. I explain to them that they are in a position to outperform these giants in the future if they can diligently start investing in building a strong brand image for their small business.

The next thing I do is to remind them of the story of David and Goliath. A story of how David, an unknown shepherd defeated a well known and established warrior; Goliath. Goliath was a popular war brand but his strong brand image was trashed by little David. Think of your business as David against the giant Goliath Corporations.

If you feel the David and Goliath story is religious, then you need to consider the Virgin Group story. The business exploits of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is due to the popularity of its brand name “Virgin.” From the onset of Virgin, Richard Branson has diligently invested in building strong brand image for his company. Virgin did not become a brand overnight; it took years of little investments before it became a worldwide brand.

“I don’t think so; in that Virgin is already a global brand. Brands like Amazon have had to spend hundreds of millions of pounds you know, building their brands; whereas Virgin is already well known around the world.” –Richard Branson

The Virgin Group is often respected for confronting and defeating the giant competitor; British Airways. They have also confronted other bigger giants such as Coca Cola and AOL. What gave Virgin Group the effrontery to compete against these giants was the growing popularity of its brand ‘Virgin.’

“We have always had a pretty competitive ferocious battle with British Airways. It lasted about 14 years and we are very pleased to have survived it.” – Richard Branson

I can never over emphasize the need to start investing in building a brand image. Apart from giving you a strong Competitive Advantage over your competitors; below are five additional reasons why you need to build a strong brand image for your small business.

5 Reasons Why You Must Build a Strong Brand image for your Small Business

1. To communicate your core values

You need to build a strong brand image or identity to help your business communicate its core values and the quality of its products to the outside world. The primary reason Virgin Group was able to diversify rapidly was because of the strong brand name they’ve built over time; a brand image that signifies quality.

“What does the name Virgin mean? We are a company that likes to take on the giants. In too many businesses, these giants have had things their own way. We are going to have fun competing with them.” – Richard Branson

2. To stand out from the crowd

You need a strong brand image to separate your products from your competitor’s. Separating your products from the crowd will also help increase its recognition in the face of customers.

“To succeed in business, you must build a brand and never destroy it. One competitive advantage I had when I ventured into manufacturing was my brand “Dangote,” which I diligently built in the course of my trading commodities.” – Aliko Dangote

3. To increase customers’ loyalty

The third reason why I advocate the need for small businesses to develop a brand identity is this; a strong brand image will help your business increase its customer’s loyalty. I will prefer to call it “brand preference.” If customers prefer your product to your competitor’s, then you have a strong brand image for your business.

4. To influence customers’ psychology

You need a strong brand image to influence your customer’s response to your products and services. Have you heard someone say ‘I will buy any new app device so long it comes from Apple? Well, I have heard that a couple of times.

“I think we are having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we are always trying to do better.” – Steve Jobs

Apple can release any gadget without fear of rejection because they’ve built a brand name that signifies innovation and that brand name has been able to influence the customer’s perception positively, towards their products. Just check out how Apple strategically introduced the iPod and iPad to the market. That’s the power of a strong brand image for you.

“Pretty much, Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart; we make it by innovation.” – Steve Jobs

5. Finally, the ultimate aim of building a strong brand image is to secure customers loyalty and patronage. Once you build a database of loyal customers, your business is made. You can make money from this database on both the front end and back end. So the earlier you start building a brand, the better for your business.

“What does the name Virgin mean? We are a company that likes to take on the giants. In too many businesses, these giants have had things their own way. We are going to have fun competing with them.” – Richard Branson

In conclusion, my advice to you is this; start building a strong brand image for your company today. It will help your business in the long run. The ultimate truth is this; businesses that are not building a brand will eventually lose most of its loyal customer to the business that has built a strong brand image over time. A word is enough for the wise.