Today, it’s all about big data. Everything your customer does online is measurable with one metric or another. Whether it’s bounce rate, keyword volume, click through rate, conversion rate, followers, reach, shares, comments, likes or ROI; numbers have become an obsession with big and small businesses alike.
It’s fair to say that business owners today have access to more measurement tools than they would ever have the time to utilise. The time required to learn and understand select tools is an investment in itself even before trying to make sense of the metrics they spit out and what that means for your business.
It’s true that today’s business owners have a far greater advantage when it comes to measuring numbers than yesterdays. These capabilities however, have distracted many from the simplistic fundamentals of creating a business that people feel connected to.
A simple Google about how to market your business can leave your head spinning. Like a roundabout with fifty exits, your options are vast. SEO, content marketing, social media, email automation, sales funnels and display advertising are just a few to mention.
These marketing strategies, which can provide the metrics to measure, optimise, re-measure and re-optimise in a never-ending process or trial, error, adjust and trial again, can shine a light on how people respond to your marketing activities.
But if metrics are about measuring your marketing activities and marketing is about promoting your business activities, what is branding?
Long before businesses were distracted by metrics, a business owner’s focus was on their brand. Longer still, when branding was the process of marking your livestock with a hot iron, a business owner’s focus was on their brand. Back then however, they didn’t refer to it as their brand or branding. Back then, it was their reputation.
When business was simpler, owners took the time to sweat the small stuff that mattered. For a butcher, he knew that if he sourced quality meat, got to know his customers well, addressed them by their first name, looked after his shopfront, wrapped their meat with care and attention and threw in a little extra from time to time, his reputation would grow.
He wouldn’t need someone to stand in front of his shop and shout about how great they were and he wouldn’t be able to measure how people felt about that. His main focus was on his customers and make how they felt and his reputation was his obsession.
Business is different today than 100 years ago and this is an over simplified example of branding. But how people respond when they feel familiar, understood, looked after, cared for and appreciated has not changed. Familiar brands become familiar in the way they provide their service, treat their customers and communicate to their customers.
This over saturation of metrics obsessed businesses leaves a massive void and opportunity for brand, reputation and customer obsessed businesses, all of which are one and the same. Today’s well-trodden path for small-business owners is to acquire a logo and website from an online designer and deem themselves branded before heading off into the wild world of metrics and measurements.
Branding your business is about making your business feel as familiar as possible to your customer. This can be as basic as recognition or as intimate as family adoption. Businesses that approach branding the right way can have a much longer lasting impact on their customers.
Marketing strategies and measurement metrics are important for businesses big and small but measuring a brand that has a solid foundation will throw up far more favourable metrics than one that doesn’t.
This is an introduction into an upcoming series of articles that will dive into the lost art of branding in the small business world. It will provide a solid foundation and framework business owners can apply to their own business around which their business can grow in to.
Approach your business with brand obsession and your customers will remember the small details, your reputation will grow and that is when your well-designed logo and visuals become valuable.
Next month we’ll look at branding with purpose and aligning our beliefs.
Stephen Houraghan, Brand Creator, www.iconicfox.com.au