Brand Matters for Small Business

There’s more to a “brand” than having a great logo or tag line. And while Canadian entrepreneurs seem to recognize the value of brand, a recent survey indicates that these business owners lack confidence in their own brand and the marketing of that brand.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid for HP Canada, indicates that 59% of small to medium-sized (SMB) owners polled say branding their business is a priority. However, less than half (45%) are very satisfied with their company’s current brand, and only one in three (32%) strongly agree that they are confident they are making the right marketing and branding decisions.

The poll also suggests that there’s uncertainty among small business owners as to what “brand” actually means. According to the survey, more than half (55%) of the 1,200 entrepreneurs surveyed define brand as their product or company name, while 29% say it is their logo.

As a result of the survey, HP teamed up with brand expert Cheryl Sylvester, co-founder of YourBrandMakeover.com to put together these tips on how to help SMBs build, express, and ultimately, gain confidence in their brand:

  1. Look at brand as an investment in your company.
    Brand needs to be seen as a long-term investment that pays off over the entire life of a company. An effective brand will help attract clients and potential partners.
  2. Determine what you want your brand to say about your company. Each brand is unique—SMBs need to ask themselves what makes their business or product unique?
  3. Examine all customer and partner interactions.
    Brand is expressed in every business interaction—including the company logo on an email signature can go a long way to establish brand identity.
  4. Develop marketing materials that can make an impact. Online resources help SMBs create marketing materials. Try HP Print Studio (www.hp.ca/printstudio) for free business card, letterhead, and mailing label templates.
  5. Make an impact with colour. A dash of colour can make any piece of marketing collateral more noticeable— and colour printing is increasingly more affordable with products such as the new HP Color LaserJet 1312nfi multifunction printer for only $499
  6. Continue to update your brand. Brand is always evolving and should always reflect the business as it is today, not how it was the day it started.

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