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46 . Glasgow Business April/May 2016

BIG TALKS By Iain Muirhead, Senior Account Manager, The BIG Partnership

Invest in your brand and be a winner

It's more than just a logo or a colour – it defines the essential nature of your business and creates an emotional reaction in your potential customers


ver ridden a jet ski in a onesie, filled a jacuzzi with bubble wrap or used velcro as a chapstick? Neither have I. But don’t go thinking I’ve no sense

of adventure as, in my opening paragraph, I daringly flouted six brand names which, correctly, should have been Jet Ski®, Onesie®, Jacuzzi®, Bubble Wrap®, Velcro®, Chapstick®. In my days as a reporter, I’d oſten see

adverts in the journalism trade press pleading with us not to use terms such as Portakabin or Jubilee Clip in any generic sense. Brands are jealously guarded, with global

companies spending time and money to stop their hard-earned good name being absorbed into everyday usage. And for good reason. Essentially, what

people think about your company or product – and what they say about it – represents the sum total of what it’s worth. A brand is not a logo or colour scheme. It’s

the emotional reaction which your customers, or potential customers, experience in response to everything you do, say and create. Your brand defines the essential nature of

your business – the reason or reasons people should opt for you over your competitors. While an effective logo and colour scheme

may be part of the mix, the way you deal with complaints, the tone of your advertising and social media, and even the way you answer calls from consumers, also play a role in shaping your brand in the world of public opinion. Tat world has plenty of pitfalls, as Gerald Ratner could testify. Ratner famously wiped

£500 million from the value of Ratners jewellers with one speech in 1991. He said: “We also do cut-glass sherry

decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, ‘How can you sell this for such a low price?’ I say, because it’s total crap.” Ratner then added that the earrings sold in

his stores were “cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn't last as long”. Yet, with vigilance, clear vision and the

right advice, your brand can be honed to maximise its benefits to you and your clientele. Te first step

is to assess your brand as

it stands. What unique value does your product or service offer, and is this reflected in your communications and the way you do business? Are people receiving confused,

contradictory or outdated perceptions of your company? If so, how can your business practices and customer interactions be shaped to give them the best and most accurate understanding? Investing time and effort at this stage

gives you a solid baseline from which to define your brand or build upon your existing brand. Get it right, and your brand could be on its way to becoming a household name ... in a good way.

“With vigilance, clear vision and the right advice, your brand can be honed to maximise its benefits to you and your clientele”

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