Archive for December 2011

Is it possible for a small business to have a brand? Personally I have my doubts. And I am convinced that for a service industry that works business to business it’s not only impossible – but dangerous – to think in this way.

Let me explain in simple terms.

People buy people. Yes it’s a cliché, but like every cliché it’s based in truth. When you are considering a financial advisor – what’s more important, their logo design or their expertise and personality? Would you work with someone who you didn’t get on with too well if their website looked gorgeous and had consistent design elements? Of course you wouldn’t.

When most people are looking for a personal and professional service like an IFA, solicitor, accountant, architect etc. they turn to their network first and ask ‘Who do you know who…?’ Their network is far more trusted for insight than Google. We trust our connections and network far more than what we see and read on websites and in brochures.

Google is either a last resort, an impulse purchase or for delving deeper into those recommendations. I don’t think it’s the place where decisions are made. It’s where confirmation is sought.

For small businesses if you swap the word ‘Brand’ for ‘Reputation’ it all makes far more sense to me. An individual (or a small group of them) need to develop their credibility, expertise and advocates. This will go much further in developing their reputation – and over time their business – than having a pretty logo.

So all you small businesses out there: forget ‘brand’ and think ‘reputation’ in order to grow.