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Starting small to build a great brand

  • - By Dan Ratner

Every cup counts: small steps to a great brand

A brand is a perception held in someone’s mind. It is the sum of all the individual experiences and impressions a person has of you or your business.

Having a great brand is powerful: its about your customers thinking good things about you.

The ideal outcome happens when what the people that matter most think of you aligns with what you want them to think.

That’s why a focus on brand is as vitally important for a small business as it is for a major corporation such as Coca-Cola or Nike.

It‘s important to capitalise on every engagement you have with your customers and audience to build a strong brand by leveraging the power of perception to create loyalty and brand equity.

Here’s a simple example of how everyone contributes to the creation of brand equity in any business of any size:

Take your regular café. You might go there every morning to get your coffee. A good café owner knows that every customer’s experience counts – from the service and quality of coffee all the way to the interior and the location.

Every day you go there and expect a decent cup of coffee. However, on occasion you may get a substandard one. Chances are you would still come back the next day to that same café. This is because over time you have had many positive experiences and impressions, enabling them to earn brand equity with you.

However, had it been the first time you visited that café and you’d received a poor coffee, you might not come back again. That’s why first impressions are so vital because without that bank of brand equity to draw from, you might never return.

Brand equity is built from the sum of positive impressions that your customers get from every touchpoint and every experience they have with you.

 

It takes knowing what people think of you today whilst having a very clear image of what you want people to think of you in the future and working towards that goal. However, there is often a gap between people’s perceptions and your brand aspirations.

Assessing the brand gap can help you test the strength of your brand and its equity.

Here’s a simple test you can do to assess this gap. Ask youself:

  1. What do we stand for?
  2. What makes us different?
  3. Why do we do what we do?

Now, if you were to ask 10 people familiar with your brand these same questions, how similar or different would their answers be?

Are what they think of you as well aligned to your aspirations as you think?

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