What is the most important thing in creating a strong brand? A perfectly unique logo? A polished corporate design? The right corporate typeface? The right colors? A lot of discussion, work and money flows into these topics for months in the boardrooms of many companies. And one thing can be said for sure: the discussions do not entail the crucial issues and criteria that ensure a strong brand is .
It is in the nature of things that a marketing department or even an agency do precisely what they were so often for – namely to prove that they are important, that they are indispensable, that they make the necessary contribution to discussion and coordination. From the macro level in the form of board members and marketing managers, this naturally continues to the micro level in the form of project, social media, community, brand managers and many others who are actually in the service of a brand.
Using high financial resources, i.e. a lot of money, this is not entirely ineffective either. After all, extremely high visibility on all channels combined a consistently played-out brand story, such as the joy of driving in a car, the natural ingredients of a beer, or simply the color magenta as the distinguishing mark of a major telecommunications provider, ensure that the brand is well known.
For young brands, small or medium-sized companies, this approach does not work at all, because such immense resources are simply not available to raise the awareness of one’s own brand among a broad target group. Nevertheless, many small and medium-sized companies follow in the footsteps of the big ones and work processes that are familiar from the fortune 500. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, the way of marketing is copied. The result in most cases: Apart from the wrong use of funds and inefficient use of time and resources, nothing to hardly anything.
“Just Do It” was inspired by serial killer Gary Gilmore. Before he was executed in 1977, he said, “Let’s do it.”
Branding for small and midsize companies.
So what does a brand need most? Especially if it does not have huge budgets for branding and marketing. It needs real distinctiveness. Above all, it needs to be one thing: different. Different from its competitors, at any rate. And preferably different from most of what is known. Small and medium-sized companies are actually in the luxurious situation that they can do everything they need to be a strong brand. They can be different. They just need to know that’s the key to brand success. Then they have to dare to break away and swim against the tide. The malaise that afflicts almost all of us as soon as we are no longer under the comfortable, anonymous protection of the masses must become the norm. The actual goal. Then you’re on the right track. Small and medium-sized companies could do that because they are often still run by real entrepreneurs instead of managers and departments. A stroke of luck, actually.
Carolyn Davidson designed the Swoosh, the very first version of the Nike logo in 1971 while a graphic design student at Portland State University for $35.
Anything added to this being different can be a real lever. Let’s imagine we have a strong entrepreneurial personality who seizes the opportunity for his brand and deliberately lets it develop in a different way. We then take a professionally developed brand story as a basis and a brand strategy derived from it. Now add automation in communication, real measurability and reporting and what you get is real brand power and competitive advantage. Effective, efficient and smart.
All this does not mean that there is no outstanding branding and marketing of large companies. Some major brands have succeeded in preserving the spirit and uniqueness of their beginnings and skillfully reinterpreting them time and again.