DOES MY BUSINESS REALLY HAVE A “BRAND”?

Probably not. Not to be harsh, but probably not.

At Ottaway Communications we have been doing this a long time. With age does come wisdom, and with wisdom comes the truth…at least most of the time. And in our 30+ years of consulting businesses of all sizes, one ugly fact rings true: All business owners falsely believe that their business has a brand…and by that we simply mean that the general public knows that their business exists. No. The overwhelming majority of the general public does not know that their business exists.

Look. Let’s take our home market of Southeast Michigan as an example. The #1 grocery chain in the country has been doing business in this market for over 60 years, and it only has a 23% market share. That’s it. Only 23%. Now I say “only 23%” with some sense of sarcasm as that is the biggest share in the market, but it’s not a gigantic share, we think you would agree.

To keep that market share Kroger advertises “all the time”. Every week they are on the radio, on TV, and they send out millions of Free Standing Inserts with their weekly specials via marriage mail. All of this for a “23% share”. But don’t get discouraged.

You see, that “23% share” is good enough to make them #1 in Southeast Michigan and just ahead of Meijer, Inc. which has a “22% share”. So between the two leaders, they have half of all the grocery shoppers in the market. That is probably true where you live too, and it’s probably true of whatever industry you’re operating in too.

The truth is: A brand is very hard to establish and KEEP established. Most business owners mistakenly believe that they have a brand when, really, they don’t, thus their “so-so” revenue. Why aren’t more business owners aware of this? It’s too ego deflating. It’s too hard to take. It’s too hurtful.

I know, I’m sounding like a psychologist. Well, when you are a consultant, you are a bit of a psychologist. Dealing with business owners who are not in touch with their prospects requires “therapy”, and that’s what brand-building is all about. It’s about going back to basics and starting from the beginning. For that you need a “brand doctor”. It’s best that you find one soon and get your business revved up.

At a minimum, hire a brand doctor to help you determine if you have any kind of a brand at all and, if you do, how does it fare in your market? Once you know this, you can formulate a strategy to build it to where it needs to be. Don’t be discouraged. The fact that you have read this far means that you are way ahead of the curve and on your way to finding brand success! Keep up the good work!

The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital.  Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.  

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