SME’s know and understand the “rational” part of their brands. The physical features and attributes of the products and services provided. For B2C’s it could be how many stores, product choices, number of colors or flavors, ease of ordering and fast delivery and more. For B2B’s their personnel expertise, service response, bandwith, upgrades, memory, etc. These are all important considerations; considerations business owner/managers are very comfortable with and ones of interest to and easily understood by customers.
However, they are all rational considerations and primarily operate with potential buyers on that level. By definition connections made on the rationale level are at best only half of the branding equation and at worst the weaker half. Psychologists will tell you that relationships based on only rational considerations, while many times strong, are vulnerable to competing rational input or arguments. Think of it this way… girlfriend likes boyfriend only on a rational basis, e.g. money, good looks, nice care…you get the drift. Along comes wealthier, better looking guy with super nice car and….she’s outta here! Same thing can happen when a business competitor offers a bigger, better basket of goodies (or maybe just one) customer attracted only on a rational basis. LOST CUSTOMER.
On the other hand, if a business has a competitive (not necessarily better) mix of rational offerings and the, wraps it in a compelling and attractive “emotional” wrapper, the customers that attracts are more likely to stay longer and be more resistant to the “rational” siren songs of the competitors. Staying with the probably over-extended girlfriend/boyfriend metaphor above: how many of you have thought about an unlikely couple pairing,”Gee, I don’t know what she (he) sees in him (her). Well, it probably is something well past the hard to discern rational reasons, but probably something quite a bit more. “He makes me laugh.” “He cares for others.” I feel good when I’m around him.” So it is in branding for business. A good mix of rational reasons to buy is important, but if you can’t establish that emotional connection with a prospect…they either won’t buy OR will always be open to a competitor’s offer.