According to a survey released this summer by the American Express Small Business Monitor, the vast majority (93%) of small business owners (SBOs) cite having a unique brand that differentiates them from the competition is more important now than ever.
The following is an excerpt from a CNW news release on this survey. It highlights the key outcomes of the survey and also some of the reasons why SMBs feel the need for strong branding is more relevant today than in the past:
“In today’s highly competitive business climate, creating a recognizable and trusted brand is an important concern for many small business owners (SBOs). Increasingly, SBOs recognize the importance branding has on business success, and as such, are focusing on providing an overall brand experience to their customers.
It’s evident that business owners have seemingly prioritized branding strategies with 71 per cent saying brand experience is the most important part of their business’ overall brand. SBOs are also placing a high value on branding as the majority (51%) report branding is critical to attracting new business.
“Having a powerful brand is vital in today’s economy, it can be the difference between a business that blends in with the crowd or stands out from the competition,” says Athena Varmazis, Vice President and General Manager, Small Business Services, American Express Canada. “It’s refreshing to see business owners placing an emphasis on branding since it’s their platform to tell their business’ story with current and future customers.”
SBOs display a willingness to go digital but stay true to traditional approaches
With consumers increasingly embracing social media and leveraging social platforms when making purchase decisions, almost three quarters (73%) of SBOs report that they need to constantly monitor their brand’s perception. As such, SBOs have welcomed digital elements into their branding with over half (52%) of business owners utilizing a company website to build their brand.
Yet many still rely heavily on traditional approaches stemming from internal communications. A full 60 per cent of business owners rely on the actions of their employees to communicate their brand to their customers and almost half (45%) of these report it being effective. Furthermore, 32% of small business owners leverage events to help increase brand awareness.
SBOs desire a strong brand presence, yet have room for improvement
The demand for a strong, prominent business identity is at an all-time high with 84% of business owners stating that branding is important to the overall success of their business. While SBOs feel an increased need to stand out from the competition, 55 per cent aren’t refining their brand annually and may be missing the opportunity to assess the evolving trends to ensure their business stacks up in the market.
Thirty-six percent of SBOs admit that they are interested in expanding their brand but don’t know where to start. Despite this, a substantial 86 per cent of SBOs still choose not to capitalize on the resources third party experts offer with over one quarter (29%) of SBOs rely on themselves in the development of their business’ brand.
“It is surprising to see that the majority of SBOs aren’t investing in the necessary third party resources to help them develop and refine their brand, yet they are willing to invest in other areas, such as accounting, legal or payroll,” says Varmazis. “Branding plays a significant role in the overall success of their business and shouldn’t be taken lightly by business owners.”
Do you agree with this survey? Is branding become more significant to your business? I look forward to reading your comments below.