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Power of Branding & Positioning for Small / Micro Businesses

Natasha started her journey as a homepreneur, years back. Fabulous cook that she was, constantly pestered by friends and family for her secret ingredients and recipes. It all started with Natasha presenting neatly labelled bottles of spice mixes to a friend. Soon, word-of-mouth spread and she was constantly requested for homemade spice mixes. As friends and family wanted more and more of her magic cooking formulas, they started offering her money for the freshly ground, carefully curated spice combinations for different recipes. However, she could never take it beyond the side-lines, a little jig for her otherwise monotonous homemaker routine, and Natasha never thought anything beyond it.

However, off-late she noticed some weird things happening around her. Demand for her spice mix bottles became more sporadic than regular; she saw some new spice bottles on the shelf in the local grocery stores, these were amusingly relatable names as NAT-Asha’s , Nat’s Kitchen etc. Interestingly, most of the time she realised that these bottles were being marketed by some friends of friends, relatives of friends, and friends of relatives who had come across the food cooked by her spice mixes at some point.

Should Natasha be upset about this?

Could this be called an infringement of intellectual property or any other kind of malpractice in trade and commerce?

Did she actually lose any dues (tangible or intangible) in this story?

If yes, why did this happen to her and does she have any legal recourse?

The answer to all these questions lies in Branding.
Yes, Natasha has every reason to be upset. She did not realise that all these years she was actually curating a new market. At least in her microenvironment, she created a demand for locally sourced, freshly ground, and carefully curated spice mixes that had a distinct flavour over the run-of-the-mill branded ones. She created a concept of personal touch to food with secret ingredients which was proving to be a game-changer in the emerging society where gender as well as kitchen dynamics were shifting constantly.
Just that she did not get any credit for this work that she did gradually but effectively over the years! Also, she was never able to take the business beyond a side gig, while people who copied her concept and captured a share of her customers have bottles of their brand names over the shop shelves!
Adding insult to injury, she cannot claim any infringement of intellectual property or malpractice and cannot seek legal recourse as she had not established any brand identity for herself!

Power of Branding and Positioning for Small Businesses / Micro Businesses
Power of Branding and Positioning for Small Businesses / Micro Businesses

What is a Brand?

A brand is a concept that helps people identify your business as a distinct identity. Tools like a logo, tagline, brand colours, advert jingles etc. help create that distinct identity that is instantly recognizable.

What is Branding? What is Brand Identity?

Harnessing the branding tools like logo, tagline, colours etc. by placing them repeatedly on your products or services to provide them with a tangible identity is called branding. In the above case, Natasha could have developed a business name, logo for herself. She could have gotten some labels printed with a specific colour scheme and graphics and pasted these labels on every bottle that she gifted or sold. Over the years, these labels of a specific design, carrying a specific logo and tagline, would have become her brand identity.

Why does my small business / micro business need Branding?

· Branding helps in retaining old customers as customers when happy with a product or service, form a mental association with the tangible aspects of the brand. Don’t you inadvertently look for a bottle of a certain label in your kitchen cupboard when cooking your favourite recipe? How soon do you want to replace it with a new one from the same brand as soon as it gets over?

· Branding adds credibility to your business. Any formal business would be happy to liaison and take chances with a new product or service that has a professional identity. In the above case, an unlabelled bottle of spice mix doesn’t stand a chance at a local grocery store shelf; howsoever good quality and cost-effective it would be.

· Branding helps in winning new customers and therefore expanding your business. How do I talk about your product or service to anyone if it does not have a name and identity? Branding helps in measuring customer satisfaction, word-of-mouth publicity, referring, and everything that contributes to organic growth of a business.

. Branding helps in Reputation Management of your Business as it grows outside your known or referred circle of people

What is Brand Personality?

The look and sound of your brand is its ‘Brand Personality’! The personality of your brand could be young and energetic OR serious and business-like OR colorful and kiddish etc, etc. Please take into consideration what are you selling and to whom are you selling. Choose your logo, brand short all graphic design, taglines and other branding activities accordingly. Make full use of all elements of design like colour, line, texture etc. to communicate brand personality through brand logo and brand colour, brand merchandise, brand advertisments and everything else associated with your brand.

When should I start thinking about Branding in my small / micro business?

Right in the beginning!

If you are not marketing your business with a brand name and brand identity, it’s a huge opportunity loss. Think about this, would you like to be referred as

there’s a new product or service with this brand name’


there’s a new product/ service, they are good…. but they do not have any name

…..and then later…

’that new product/service I told you about…is now called this’!

You don’t have to have a degree in business management to answer this one!

How can I achieve Branding for my small / micro business? What are the steps in Brand development?

a) Identify your audience. In the above case it would be adults who cook for themselves and their families!

b) What is your product or service providing them? What is your positioning?

c) Decide your brand’s personality depending on the above 2 factors. What kind of colours, graphics, fonts, visualisation, lingo reflect that kind of personality that you are trying to achieve?

d) Design logos, website, tagline and other promotional material accordingly. Place them everywhere possible to create visibility for your brand.

What is Positioning?

Positioning is how your customers perceive the value of your business to them!

Let's watch this video to understand it better!

Want to understand 'Positioning' better??? What is Natasha selling?

Did you say spice mix?

What will happen to her business when tomorrow a competitor will come up with a better substitute (this happens to every business at some point)?

Let’s look at this from a different perspective now….Natasha is selling taste and assurance of tasty food! She’s helping daily household kitchen in turning out food that will be appreciated. Today she is doing this with her spice mixes. Tomorrow, this could be frozen gravies, flavoured organic tablets, magic flavour granules and lots more……

Her brand would keep evolving through challenges as long as she maintains quality, price-points and her positioning of an ‘assured provider of good taste/flavours’.

Just follow the journey of Titan from personal wrist-watch to gifting favourite, jewelled wrist pieces and finally any kind of wearables as Titan plus!

How are Branding and Positioning different / related?

Continuing the discussion from the paragraph before… create an identity by branding and then position its value in your customer’s mind!

What is Brand Recall?

Repeated exposure of your brand tools like logo, tagline etc. to your target customers through vehicles like social media, content marketing, gifts and accessories and more so that they are reminded of your brand every time they see a shape, colour or product is creating ‘Brand Recall’. The brand that comes to your mind immediately when thinking of a related product or service has the best ‘Brand Recall’!

Do you say this one or more times in a day. ‘Get this from the Fridge!’ The machine assisting your kitchen is actually a refrigerator! And hold on….Fridge is not the short form of Refrigerator! It’s actually a short-form of Frigidaire, an American company started in 1916. They made the first self-contained refrigerator and their branding in marketing the machine was so strong that to this day we call our refrigerators Fridge!

Is Branding expensive?

While any kind of branding would cost some money, it can be still done under budget for small enterprises by innovative methods. Keeping your logo limited to one or two colors can limit printing costs. You could create catchy campaigns on social media. Labeling all products, services, stationary, communication & advertising vehicles prominently goes a long way in branding.

Should I prioritise Branding in Business?

Yes absolutely, branding is as important as any other business-related activity. While it might seem like lot of extra work in the beginning, it becomes part of your regular practice eventually. Branding is in fact not a separate activity, it should be integrated in every function of your business. From office mugs to stationary, corporate gifts to intellectual property…branding should find space everywhere!

Do not miss the bus like Natasha! Brand your business and Position your brand right from the beginning!

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12 ביוני 2023
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Nidhi Ramani
Nidhi Ramani
27 באפר׳ 2023

Indeed a very useful post. Thank you for creating it.

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