I was at the Brighton and Hove Chamber’s annual conference (#BrightonSummit) last Friday and as always, it was an inspiring day; meeting great people and listening to often moving and thought-provoking keynote speakers.
One of the topics that was discussed a couple of times was ‘what is a brand?’ There was a clear message that it runs much deeper than just a name and a logo. A brand is the company’s personality as well as the (emotional) relationships it has with its customers (after all, we all have brands we love and ones we dislike!). A brand is the ‘lived experience’ that keeps you coming back for more (whether you’re a customer, employee or partner).
Companies that have a clear brand and translate it into internal brand values seem to be the ones that grow significantly without losing that magical essence that they had when they were small. Many companies believe that this isn’t possible and look back when they were small, aligned and still a ‘family’, and wish for the ‘good old days’. But clearly, it doesn’t have to be like this.
Higgidy Pies, our local Sussex pie maker, a small start-up that is now 300 staff with aspirations to double in size said that they have done a lot of work on their brand and values, asking staff ‘What makes Higgidy, Higgidy?” and using these values to live by every day and to recruit the right staff. You definitely get a sense of that from the branding on their packaging to their website, the way they speak, their ethos and their approach. Having spent some time defining and articulating their brand, they are creating a sound platform for growth.
Many SME businesses would be wise to follow their lead. Occasionally when I discuss brand and values with prospective clients, they feel like it’s a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential but they would be wrong! Getting clear on your brand and your Company values helps differentiate yourself from the competition, create a brand that attracts and retains staff, and reaches the right kind of customer. So how can brand clarity be a ‘fluffy’ nice to have?
If this strikes a chord with you then let’s have a chat.