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Anyone can start a business, but can everyone build a brand?

A trusted brand is the crucial difference between success and extraordinary success

By Rohini Lodge

So, you started a business. You have a great product, a great team, and you are raring to go. Awesome! You’ve joined an elite club of just 11% of Indians who engage in entrepreneurial activities.

Your first few transactions came in from your close network – old clients you may have worked for, colleagues, friends, and family. And the feedback has been great, but after the initial traction, things seem to be slowing down. That’s because you haven’t been able to effectively spread the word beyond this circuit. So, people don’t know that you are offering something they might need.

This is the biggest hurdle in an entrepreneur’s journey – How do you inform your potential customers that you have a product they need? And more importantly, how do you let them know that you are good at what you do – even better than your competitors?

The answer, of course, is in building a Brand Presence.

You see, anyone can start a business. But not everyone is able to create a brand. And this is where the difference between success and extraordinary success comes in. You can see the impact of building a brand presence in every industry. Why do people pay a premium for Zara, or Rolex, or TATA Steel, or even Sourdough Bread in a San Francisco bakery? That’s because they know and trust these brands. In fact, reports indicate that 77% of consumers make purchase decisions based on brand names.

Just like big firms, building a trusted brand is very important for entrepreneurs. Let’s take, for example, Ms. A – she has a great product and a great store in a prominent location – but she refuses to advertise and promote. The business does move – location is a plus point, after all! But Ms. A’s popularity brings her competition. Another similar store is soon launched by a certain Ms. B! Now Ms. B has seen potential in the business done by Ms. A. and although her store is smaller, she uses branding to her advantage.

Ms. B starts an Instagram account and updates it regularly with attractive pictures of her products. She even budgets for media spend that is divided between social media and newspaper ads. She is diligent but lean with her marketing communication and is always particular about ‘spreading the word’.

Ms. A had the early-mover advantage, right? But who do you think ends up with more business and repeat sales? Yes, you are right! It’s Ms. B because she made an effort to reach out to potential customers and build a name for her product line, its USP and the business.

In a sea of solution providers who are your competitors, branding is the lighthouse that helps your ship steering towards the right direction. It directs you towards the audience who are actually interested in buying and helps you sell, as well as make your mark.

Without an established brand, all it would take is a price drop from competition or some aggressive steps by their sales force for you to lose ground. To keep customer loyalty and to keep attracting new customers, you need to stand out. You need your message to be conveyed – people to hear you out, talk to you, and give you feedback. Therefore, even as you invest in building your business, you must invest in building a brand.

Have a look around you!
How many industries can you think of with high entry barriers nowadays?
How difficult is it for someone to start a business that is in direct competition to you?
Entrepreneurship, the E-Com Boom, Digitalization, AI – all of these have today made starting a business look as easy as baking a cake!

Hence – Branding.

You need to stand out.
You need your message to be conveyed.
You need people to hear you out, talk to you and give you feedback.
And all of this starts with Branding![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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