Branding an SME, SME Marketing

Branding an SME. What makes a company brand magnetic – one that effortlessly attracts customers, revenue, media attention and employees alike?

A quick examination of the laws of nature will reveal the answers. Forces such as magnetism and gravity, while seemingly subtle, have a powerful and constant influence on our lives.

They govern us without our awareness of their presence. Their “pull” is not overt and goes largely unnoticed, yet they govern so much of what we do. They are natural vs. mechanical, powerful vs. forceful and attractive vs. coercive.

Branding an SME? Aim for alignment

Magnetism occurs when charged electrons align themselves in the same direction. As in nature, magnetic companies and brands are ones that are aligned and “pulling” together toward a common goal.

Once that alignment takes place, the rest comes naturally. Target customers are no longer “targets”, since they will gravitate towards your message and products. The emphasis shifts from artificially capturing customers to naturally attracting them.

Branding an SME. Magnetism then comes from a distilled and powerful sense of purpose.

This purpose reverberates throughout the organisation and intuitively guides the organisation’s members to act and behave in ways that promote this vision.

The cost of top-down internal messaging is greatly reduced. The process becomes more natural, more fluid and instinctive.

So is this purpose the same as a mission statement or a brand strategy?

Yes and no.

Branding and SME. Most mission statements are written in boardrooms and sit nicely on the reception wall.

Purpose is something that comes from the heart, and it needs to come from the heart of top management, not the agency.

Again, this is about alignment, and if top management is all about maximising the bottom line, it cannot create a magnetic company whose mission statement expounds the virtues of altruistic, self sacrificing service.

It just won’t vibrate, resonate and ultimately attract the desired customer.

So it can also be said that magnetic companies are genuine in nature. Their values are consistent at all levels of the organisation. Profit then becomes a natural by-product of doing what the company believes in, whether it’s delivering on price, quality or service.

Branding and SME. How does a company find its purpose?

It’s already there, waiting to be acknowledged and promoted. For example, many business owners I deal with feel passionate about the quality of their products and services, but also feel compelled and pressured to compete based on price.

They are brainwashed by their sales force and outside influences to believe they can only compete by selling for less.

Once they gain a true sense and understanding of their core purpose, they become emboldened, and that energy translates throughout the company- energizing everyone.

Soon “the talk” is about product quality and innovations, new customers appear, and old (time consuming, complaining, incongruent) ones begin to leave. The company, the brand, the image, begin to align and “pull” in a quiet but powerful way.

Branding an SME. Transforming a company or brand from mediocre (also ran) to magnetic requires re-focusing on the passion that created it (or now drives it) and aligning everything around it. Rather than finding the right market, the right market will find you.

A good example of a company that re-invented/re-positioned itself is British Petroleum (It remains to be seen how they ultimately handle the oil spill and survive the ultimate Brand test).

BP recently launched a new look, but more importantly, a new focus – one that re-engineered the BP acronym to now stand for “Beyond Petroleum”. (In fact, I could not find one reference to the original name on its web site).

In much the same way that KFC moved away from proclaiming itself “Kentucky Fried Chicken”, BP moved away from the image of a profit driven, European oil conglomerate to a globally involved, environmentally friendly organisation working to explore new energy sources vs. exploiting old ones.

How congruent is your company?

Are your goals, marketing, name, image and mission all aligned? Do they all communicate the same message? Are you easy to summarise and describe. To see just how “magnetic” your company is, ask yourself the following questions…

  1. What are your core competencies? (What does your company do well/best?)
  2. Is that reflected in the name, tag line, logo and marketing materials?
  3. Which of these attributes best describes your company and it’s products – quality, price or service?
  4. Does your marketing match your attributes (i.e. do you preach quality but sell based on best price?)
  5. What do your customers most value about you?
  6. What do your employees value most about you?
  7. What does management hold as their top priority?
  8. Do all these match up? If not, why?

Branding an SME. Taking the time to align your company with its core competencies can greatly increase the momentum and effectiveness of any organisation.

The intuitive, self-guiding nature of a highly congruent company makes it powerful and memorable. Apply some of these principles yourself. Rather than chasing indifferent people, you will begin attracting perfect customers and the fortunes of your business will dramatically improve.

Naturally we are very successful at helping SME’s acheive this magnetic effect.

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