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Brand value

Branding might sound like something that is the preserve of large companies with huge marketing budgets, but even the smallest enterprise can benefit from the right brand image. The key to success lies in finding ways of making the business stand out from its competition, working out how to best express the values of the business, and making best use of employees as brand ‘ambassadors’.

Branding is recognised as a critical component of business growth and sustainability. In a world where customers want to know as much as possible about what you do – and perhaps equally importantly, how you do it – before they make a purchasing decision, a brand that generates a positive impression is more likely to generate sales.

Standing out

Branding can be defined as the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products and there are many high profile examples.

The golden arches were part of the original design for McDonalds restaurants and have become one of the most recognisable logos in the world, helping to make the name of the company famous in every corner of the planet.

Nike became a mainstream brand by telling people to ‘just do it’. But before then the company had realised that a simple, easy to recognise logo would boost its branding so the swoosh became its logo when it changed name in the early 1970s.

Apple could be said to have built its brand on design, realising that the personal computer needed to be more than just a functional box.

Power of perception

But there is more to creating a successful brand than a snazzy logo or a clever advertising line. If your brand doesn’t meet the expectations of your target audience you will not win sufficient business to achieve long term growth and sustainability.

Make sure you tell the story behind the brand. If you are a family business, emphasise the importance of continuity and experience. If you have an interesting background, explain how that helps you offer better goods or services. Anything unique will help you stand out from the crowd.

Your employees will never be as personally invested in your enterprise as are you are, but by making them feel part of something different they can become a living advertisement for the business.

Keep it simple

As a small business, most of your trade will be local so take time to learn from how other businesses in your area generate custom. The personal touch can be powerful, so don’t be afraid to tell people who you are as this will help them relate to what you do.

The message you send out needs to be simple and easy to recall like our message of ‘straightforward cloud accounting software’. This is also your promise to customers, so make sure it is true.

Small businesses cannot afford to drift off-message. For example, Big Red Cloud provides accounting software and we are clear on that – this approach helps to keep everyone focused.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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