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Build a Brand: The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do With Your Business

| March 6, 2011 | 4 Comments


In our consumer driven, flat and hyper-competitive world, there are plenty of companies out there supplying every possible kind of product/service to a market hungry for more. However, while it is true that most of these companies will profit accordingly, it is the ones that create a brand, and develop a loyal group of clients, that will catapult their revenues toward the upper echelon of the bell curve.

In a tough market, where competition is stiff and resources are scarce, building a brand presence means the difference between doing five figures, and a business that crushes it with a seven or eight figure top line. For early to mid-stage entrepreneurs, establishing a strong brand presence (as soon as possible) is imperative.

Selling the Brand

Building a memorable brand can be just as important as building the business itself. Just look at some of the mega brands out there. For instance, everyone knows the presence of large golden arches indicate the location of a McDonalds restaurant. Need more evidence? Without questioning, we accept that the:

  • Swoosh symbol only adorns Nike products
  • Apple on a product means it is from Apple
  • Badge on a BMW elicits an unmistakable driving experience

The reason we all know this is because the companies behind these brands have gone out of their way to make them universally recognizable – investing tens of millions of dollars per year to stay top of mind. There comes a time, too, when those companies stop selling their product(s) and leave a target market to be inundated with options. Why is this important? Because it is often brand loyalty that keeps consumers engaged and can be transcended vertically and horizontally, i.e. brand credibility is scalable.

Building the Brand

Having a brand and selling products/services based on that brand is important, but how does the average entrepreneur tap into that, and begin building their own brand? Simple.

Consider the yellow taxi cab. It is instantly recognizable, and somewhat of a symbol of New York City. No one needs to be told. Why? Because everyone knows that a big yellow car, driving through the city, is a cab.

In the quest to build a brand, entrepreneurs must do the same thing – create a recognizable symbol and train consumers to associate that symbol with a top quality product/service. This could be a logo, corporate colors, a tag line or any combination of the latter. Make it short, sweet and easy to remember, and most importantly, back it up with great service.

Branding Means Not Having to Compete On Price

Another big plus for branding, particularly entrepreneurs operating in a big city environment, if done correctly – you don’t have to compete on price alone.

Consider a company like Starbucks. No one would say their coffee is the cheapest out there, but they have built a global brand, with a loyal customer base, who knows that their coffee is consistently good. That means higher profit margins, and an easier business to build and maintain.

Because of the high cost of living, New York entrepreneurs and others like them ( in major centers around the world) have the double headache of making enough money to survive, and to grow their business. By starting with a recognizable brand from day one, and building an idea that clients buy into, an entrepreneur can pivot around that double headache and start making more money, sooner.


Whether you are an entrepreneur in New York or from anywhere else on the globe, if you want to start building a brand, you are going to need help asap. Of course, you probably don’t have the resources on hand that many of the companies aforementioned do, so here are a few ideas:

  • Find a freelance graphic designer to help you design a logo for your business. Do not do this yourself – it can be tricky getting it right, and since your logo is one of the core elements of your brand, hire a professional.
  • Trawl the internet for branding advice. There are plenty of free sites out there that will give you information about how build a successful brand. Also, look at how some of the most famous brands out there got started and leverage that as inspiration.

When you are just starting out it is easy to feel like a very small fish in a very big pond. Make sure branding is first and foremost in your consumer engagement plan as you build and scale your business. After all, the only reason Santa wears a red and white suit is because Coca-Cola decided to brand him.

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  • Roger Ewing

    Excellent short subject piece on branding. I am a real estate broker in Southern California. As a Sotheby’s International Realty franchisee, I appreciate the value of a strong brand and the cache it imparts to my business. My sales associates also understand the need to brand themselves in their own individual way to seperate themselves from the competition. Branding is a critical element in the competitive business of real estate brokerage.

  • Luxmikaanth Nimalamoorthy

    Just a while back, I was thinking about building a brand for my business, but had no idea how. Now your article really inspire and help me. Thank you so much!

  • Ryan Hanley

    Gary, as always great article…

    I wanted to get your thoughts on Personal v Corporate branding if your an Entrepreneur or work for a small business? This is pretty an entire post but I went with Personal branding and I have found advantage and disadvantages… Just wanted to get your thoughts…


    Ryan H.

  • Virtual office assistant

    Wow, lots to digest. Thanks for generously sharing this useful info. Especially appreciate the acknowledgment that for some businesses, the goal may not be tens of thousands of fans but a few hundred solid ones.