“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet,”
– Juliet says distressed because Romeo’s name (symbolizing the family he belongs to) does not allow them to be lovers.
This is not about Theatre although it is rather Theatrical
With all due respect to Shakespeare, I just have to disagree. There is, in fact, a lot in a name. Why else would I go to a restaurant and ask for Coke instead of just any cola? Why would I automatically walk into a Levis showroom, knowing that I would get a pair of jeans that was sure to fit beautifully? When my aunt gifts me a Tommy Girl, why do I know I will love the fragrance before I even open the bottle? When my husband surprises me with Swarovski earrings, how am I so sure that they would sparkle for years? Apparently, there is a lot in a name.
A Name is more than a Name
To put it simply, a brand is the name attached to a company, a product or a service. But this name represents a plethora of things: feelings towards the company, perceptions about quality, symbols of trustworthiness and a psychological “feel good” factor, to name a few.
This is not about the Big Companies although it is about Dreaming Big
From a cup of coffee (Starbucks) to cars (Toyota) and from watches (Omega) to toothbrushes (Oral B)… we just can’t ignore brand names… some we love, while others we love to hate. While this is so, far too often SMEs (small and medium enterprises) forget the importance of brand management. Why? Mostly, they believe they are too small to have a brand name. However, brand management is so much more than a buzzword in the corporate world. It is a necessity in today’s global village and intensely competitive marketplace. Do you want to make recurring sales in the new economy? Hey, I’ve got news for you… you NEED a brand, an image.
But it’s way too Expensive
Branding is expensive. Most companies stay away from brand building because they feel they are too small to invest into it. So, let’s think about what “expensive” really means. I buy a pair of sneakers. It lasts me for a year and a half. Then I decide to buy a Reebok. Ouch! It’s five times the price of my previous sneakers. But it lasts me more than ten years. I don’t really need a finance wizard to tell me which pair of sneakers turned out to be more expensive. So, instead of going by budget and price alone, maybe we should start thinking about return on investment.
Let’s put all the pieces of the Puzzle together now
- There is a lot in a name.
- Branding is about recurring sales.
- Small and medium companies need to take branding seriously.
- They should think about ROI instead of costs per se.
How does an SME build a Brand?
So, how does a small or medium company go about building its brand? It has to be on the Internet! What one can do over the Internet has changed dramatically in the past few years. Earlier, when a company would think of a web presence, it would think about getting in touch with business associates. Then came the era of online shopping. Now “having a web presence” means so much more.
Of course, a company must have a website and SEO is really the starting point of making one’s presence felt on the Internet. Yes, SEO is a great idea. It is effective (provided it’s done well). However, that’s not the end of the road. We need to build a brand… not just attract people to our website.
About five years ago, food and beverage companies would have only a meager presence on the Internet. That’s because people were not buying packaged food or soft drinks on the net. Now, food and beverage companies have cooking content, promotions, games and contests online. These activities increase the visibility of their brands. As long as you are creating compelling value for your audience, you have grabbed their attention. Today, the Internet is being used for satisfying interactions and relationship building.
- The Internet is cheaper for brand building.
- The Internet has a wider reach than the traditional methods of brand building.
- Your target audience spends more hours on the Internet daily than watching TV or reading.
- You can target your audience better on the Internet.
- The Internet allows for higher traceability and tractability of the results of your brand building efforts.
Web2.0 offers more powerful tools (such as communities, blogs and multimedia) to get your message across and stay in touch with your target market. So, it’s time for you to shine… time to give brand building and your online presence a serious thought.
The author, Priya Nigam, is the Chief Content Development strategist in the organization.