How small businesses can win big with branding

Sam Christopher Lim, Senior Vice President, Francorp Philippines

Posted at Oct 19 2015 11:48 AM | Updated as of Oct 19 2015 07:48 PM

MANILA - Like most Pinoy entrepreneurs, you probably dream of making a dent in this world with your breakthrough product, concept or service. You aspire to make your mark on the global map. The task seems daunting. Making it happen may seem like a long shot especially with giants to compete with.

The truth is, size does not matter as long as you play it smart and arm yourself with the right secret weapon. This is where the power of branding comes in.

For most business owners, branding is often brushed aside, misunderstood and confused with its more glamorous and glitzier cousin advertising. What they do not realize is that it’s one of the first steps you need to take if you are to make giant strides in business.

So what is branding? The first thing most people would probably say is it’s a logo, tagline or a mission statement. The answer is both a yes and a no. It is all of these things but it is also so much more.

Branding is what you stand for in the minds of consumers. It is how you are perceived and what you represent in their lives. It’s all about the relationship consumers have with you.

Take coffee for instance. A cup of coffee is a cup of coffee is a cup of coffee. Or is it? What makes people want to cough up as much as a hundred pesos more for a cup of a certain brew? What makes them willingly walk three blocks in the middle of a downpour to this one coffee shop when they can very well grab a cup in the comforts of their office? It all boils down to one thing: branding.

Many small players are beginning to realize its value and have gone on to give the giants a run for their money. Cynthia Chua, founder of Spa Esprit for instance swears by how much branding has helped her build a business empire through sheer grit and a generous smattering or branding.

She says, “To me, branding and design is important--20 percent of revenues go into it. For other business owners, they see it as a cost. Why invest 10 percent that will never come back? But to me I believe this is commercially viable.”

Her brands Strip, a chain of waxing salons, and BrowHaus, a chain of brow grooming parlors, have become household names not just in Singapore but in other countries as well.

The landmark Yankelovich study, as published by the New York Times, suggests that typically, a person is exposed to as many as 3,000 to 20,000 ads and brands a day. Other studies show than on average, a person is exposed to 5,000 plus ads and brands a day.

The painful truth is that it’s a big bad world of big-name brands out there. So if you’re a start-up entrepreneur with big dreams and an even bigger desire to conquer the world with your shiny, new product but without the marketing budget of the bigger international brands you need to be clear at what your brand is, what differentiates you, and what why consumers should go to you instead of the competitors. Armed with a strong brand, you’re on your way to winning big in the global marketplace.

Find out more about branding when Luke Lim, CEO and founder of A.S. Louken and consultant to Bread Talk, Charles & Keith & hundreds of other international brands talks about conquering the herculean task of gaining the upper hand in a competitive marketplace in a seminar called David vs. Goliath: How Branding can Help You Go Global to learn more about branding, Oct 28, at the Ascott BGC. Contact for more details.


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