Branding: The real reason most small businesses fail

Branding: The real reason most small businesses fail

Dale Carnegie says, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”

…and I think he’s right. All kinds of consumer behavior prove this time and again.  A great example of this can be seen in car manufacturing. The Pontiac Vibe was the exact same car as the Toyota Matrix. The Pontiac Vibe sold for less and had a way better warranty.Who do you think had more sales? Toyota.

In fact, you can’t buy a new Pontiac Vibe today. They stopped making them in 2010 due to low sales.

That’s branding… and that’s my point.

Branding goes way beyond the logo. It’s what people perceive the promise of your business to be and the management team’s ability to deliver on that promise. In other words: Trust. Both Pontiac (GM) and Toyota have fine looking logos and they both have great brand promises. One does a better job of delivering and can therefor ask for a higher amount of money for less value.

The logo, slogan, tagline, marketing design and all other visual branding can help make or break delivering the message. What’s the message? That’s right. The brand promise. Let’s consider Toyota’s slogan over the years as an example:

  • “You asked for it! You got it!” (1975–1979)
  • “Oh, what a feeling!” (1979 – September 1985, in the US)
  • “Who could ask for anything more?” (September 1985 – 1989)
  • “I love what you do for me, Toyota!” (1989–1997)
  • “Everyday” (1997–2001)”
  • “Get the feeling!” (2001–2004)
  • “Moving Forward” (2004–2012)
  • “Let’s Go Places” (2012–present)

Notice how they have not used any automotive words? That’s because the experience of owning a Toyota is the target of their campaigns, not the product. More on the difference between taglines vs slogans later because some awful things have been written about them lately and we need to set things right, particularly around Realtor® taglines.

Scott Bedbury the former advertising executive for Nike and Starbucks says that “…a brand is a story that is always being told”. So the question is, what’s your business telling the world when you aren’t there?

About The Author

Paul McEwan has a background rich in education and experience. A strong set of transferable skills have laid a path for a variety of creative outlets, careers and business interests. The short list includes live performance in improv and music, professional recording, event management, promotions, graphic design and publishing. You have seen his creative design work all over the internet, in major newspapers and magazines across Canada, and as interior commercial space for presentation centres and trade shows


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