It’s time to cry over some spilt milk!

I am sorry, there is some use in crying over spilt milk. Time, effort and money has been wasted. I am writing this at 5:30am, so I am slightly grumpy.

Imagine this, you are a business owner and one of your employee’s make a mistake and costs the business £1,000. You’re upset right? Being a reasonable human being, you can accept sometimes things happen and expect a lesson has been learned.

Two months later, the same employee makes the same mistake, the cost is £1,000 to the business. This time, you are a little more than upset but you bite your tongue and try to see if there is some help or reason it happened again.

Another two months go by and it happens again. Same cost, same mistake. There are probably not enough expletives to describe your feelings on the matter. You’re upset that the lesson hasn’t been learned. You’re upset that mistakes are costing the business money. You are frustrated that the same thing keeps happening.

Here is my twist, but this type of event happens everyday in businesses across the world, not always obvious mistakes, but often very simple ones.

  • How do you know which advertising works for you? Do you measure it? What is it’s ROI? Or do you just do what you have always done?
  • Are you leveraging and building your brand to create a more dominant position in your market? Or are you compensating for a weak brand with heavy advertising?
  • Are you keeping up with your competitors through innovation and creative marketing?

If these questions are not on your radar, you could be deploying your hard earned cash into inefficient marketing. You could be the employee making the mistake over and over again. Let me show you how…

A lot of SME’s feel that brand is not important to them because “we are not Pepsi or Tesco, we are small local company”. They don’t focus on brand building, sometimes because they don’t have time and honestly, sometimes because “they have a logo already”. If I hear someone refer to a brand and just being a logo one more time….

It is true to say, the bigger the business, the more priority brand building must take but, having a dominant brand in a regional or local market is still a good business investment. A strong regional or local brand can deliver long term value for the business. A strong brand can increase ROI and remove barriers for potential customers to come on board.

A great brand draws crowds, delivers value and makes you memorable.

So what the hell is a brand?

Well, a brand is more than a logo, it’s an idea, its a flavour, it’s method – it’s everything.

Every business Guru out there will tell you “don’t sell on price”. You can sell on your brand; it’s values, it’s position, it’s quality. When you go into any Supermarket, if your looking for some baked beans, there will probably be three choices. There are the ‘brands’, the ‘own brands’ and the ‘no frills’. In many cases products for the three different ‘brand levels’ are made in the same factory by the same people. In some cases the product quality is exactly the same. But you’ll notice the price across the three varies massively. The main brands being the most expensive. From a product point of view, the cost of manufacture is probably the same across all three.

In order for people to make a decision to buy a more expensive brand, they have to BELIEVE there is something about the product. Customers have to BELIEVE there is different from the cheaper competition. That belief is created by building a brand, capturing the essence of you and fitting into the customers beliefs and values.

The main brand products have consolidated a reputation for quality and flavour into their brand. That’s why Heinz, Pepsi and all the others focus all their advertising on the brand product. A good brand position makes the sales and marketing process much simpler. In some sectors a strong brand then sells itself.

When you establish your brand and position in the market, the ‘Brand God’s’ do your bidding and suddenly, people remember you, you gain a reputation for being a leader in your industry or sector, you become memorable. You become the first port of call.

I believe, as do many marketing experts, that a solid brand accelerates growth. A powerful brand has a multiplier effect on any advertising you do. This multiplier goes far beyond the impact a leaflet drop or radio advert can deliver.

Here is the problem for many business owners. Investing in building a business brand is a long term project. It can take weeks, months and years. Too often sales and marketing is done on impulse or as that thing you struggle to find time for. They make the mistake of advertising without building their brand.


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