As new businesses are being established by entrepreneurs across the country, to suit the market looking for more individual service, small businesses must focus on creating a brand that can leverage their business financially. Branding is affecting business more and more everyday, so much so that it is taking over larger shares of a business' value and becoming an increasingly important factor when it comes to differentiating yourselves from competitors.

Brand is worth the investment - successful brands command premium positions, customers will pay more and economic value will be added to your organisation. A powerful business asset, branding can be used to strengthen customer retention and win new clients and, maybe more importantly for the future of business, good brands attract the right calibre of employee - something that is often overlooked. It's estimated that 50% of Coca Cola's worth lies in its trademark and we've also found this with SME clients who have honed in on creating a brand, not just a business.

The existing customer's relationship with a brand

As well as attracting new business, a re-brand lets existing customers know that you are evolving with the times and are able to meet their changing needs in the business world. Selling to existing customers is the easiest (and cheapest) way to increase revenue and it is these customers who are most likely to bring you new referrals.

Customers form emotional alliances with strong brands, ultimately these brands are able to command a higher price in the marketplace, providing much stronger financial returns throughout a business' life cycle.
branding can be used to strengthen customer retention, win new clients and attract the right calibre of employee

Brand is an important in-ward looking tool and can help retain high customer retention. If your staff are on-board in terms of a clear vision/strategy and focus for the business then it will be easier for your organisation to aim to become 'customer-centric'. Customers connect with your brand either through dealing with your staff, reading your literature, or talking to others - making sure you recognise these points will help to focus your energy on providing an experience that makes sure they never go anywhere else.

Attracting new customers
The current climate means that new customers are much more cautious when entering into new business relationships. They will be on the lookout for a brand that they can relate to, one that matches the needs and values of their business.

This is where brand works most effectively. Creating differentiation is one of the most important attributes to a brand and will put you in front of customers who didn't previously know you were there. A valuable perception of quality in the mind of the customer will guarantee you are competing based on your credentials rather than on price.

The current climate offers great opportunities for SMEs - larger firms that sub-contract to smaller independents are looking to cut costs. SMEs need a good brand behind them to leverage credibility for bigger contracts.

Branding affects business
Brand equity is turning into a corporate asset that provides financial return and long term profits, whilst also adding value for the customer. From multinational companies to SMEs the principles are the same - good brands will be reflected in a stronger balance sheet with a higher level of profitability for a given cost of sales - a very attractive proposition to build a business around.

But what must be remembered first and foremost is that a brand is not just a logo, it is paying attention to detail to every aspect of communication within an organisation, from stationary to staff. If that is mastered then the reputation of your company should prevail over the competitors', and by word of mouth, you should find yourself with a successful business.

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