Branding May Be Necessary For Small Business

Image by: David Horne
By Charles Lewis

“Branding” advertising is the type of marketing communication – in whatever form, be it banner, poster, TV commercial, etc. – that attempts to nudge consumers toward associating a certain product with positive qualities all in the name of increasing sales.

It is a little more expensive and takes longer to see the results then say, a direct response campaign, which is an individual ad experience with a simple yes or no proposition. It either works or it doesn’t.

Branding is more psychological, more fluid, and, consequently, more susceptible to shocks in the system and inadvertent negative episodes, such as having your logo sit center stage of a grisly crime scene that’s being splashed all over the news.

Branding is that horizontal ad strip on the side of the bus, the one with the logo and smiling baby face. Branding is having the company insignia on a flyer for a charity fun run. Branding is developing lasting friendships.

Branding is about bombarding the consumer with positive image associations, so that when it comes time for that consumer to choose which product or service to buy, they are almost pre-programmed to reach for Brand X. It works at the Corn Flakes level and it works at the start-up online supplements level.

Marvel Brando

Why all the branding talk? Because branding is all the rage in 2013, says the latest data. In increasing record numbers, advertisers have been flocking to the web to singe brand identities into consumers’ minds. Now that trend is expected to even outdo itself and explode as online fortunes increase and the economy rebounds.

According to the latest polling numbers, small businesses are putting a larger portion of their ad dollars toward online branding-style campaigns versus other methods such as direct response. Approximately 64% will be increasing their branding buys this year.

That’s significant. To compete, you may have to do branding buys whether you like it or not, simply to keep from getting buried by an avalanche of ads by your competitors.

Add to that, across the board ad budgets will increase in 2013 for nearly one-third of small businesses out there forcing everybody to spend just to be in the game.

In fact, expect your overall ad budget to increase by at least a quarter this year, with more focus on branding, and less on direct response (although still a viable and strong advertising strategy).

Expect 2013 be a banner year.