How can small business leaders make the most of their brand?

By: Marketing Donut contributor

Date: 29 March 2016

How can small business leaders make the most of their brand? {{}}A strong brand drives growth but many marketers complain that business leaders don't understand what branding actually means for their business - and research backs this up.

The recent Brand Experience report from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) reveals that two-thirds (67%) of marketers believe their leaders fail to fully embed their company's identity and values throughout their organisation and in relationships with customers.

Small firms need brands too

For a company to understand and implement brand values, I believe the motivation needs to start at the top. But this is not just an issue for large companies - it's important for businesses of all sizes, including small firms.

One SME that successfully achieves this is Herdy, which creates gifts, homewares and accessories inspired by Herdwick sheep and supports sustainable rural community projects through the Herdy fund.

Spencer Hannah, co-founder and director of Herdy, strives to ensure that brand is integrated throughout his company and believes it's a necessity for leaders to not only present the importance of the brand vision, but to make it one of their top priorities and really live it and breathe it.

People power

In practice this means recruiting people that show a passion for the Herdy way of being. Employees, customers and social communities are all part of the Herdy family. In order to maintain this family atmosphere, Spencer holds weekly informal meetings where everyone has an opportunity to share what they are working on.

This ensures that the Herdy brand vision is aligned across the company and provides its leaders with an opportunity to engage and hear the views of members of the team and make sure they feel that they are working towards a common goal.

Communicating brand values

Marketing is not just about the external selling of a company's products or services, it is about creating a brand that can be communicated to customers through all of their interactions with the business.

For me, it is really important that small business leaders take responsibility to ensure that their company's values are integrated across the organisation, to help ensure their brand isn't superficial and to unlock its full potential to drive value for the business.

Copyright © 2016 Steve Woolley, head of external affairs at the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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