- They don’t think they have one.
Ask many, if not most, SME managers about “the emotional side” of their brand and the answer may likely be “huh?” In the busy world of small business, their emphasis will be mostly on products and services development and delivery, the operational side of their distribution and sales efforts and then the front line sales and marketing materials/digital activities that support them. To them, usually, their brand may have customer targets, specific sales messages, but to say it has “emotion” is an alien concept.
- They don’t see their competitors’ brands using theirs.
If the guy down the street doesn’t look like he’s got any “emotional” dimensions to his brand and its message, an SME is most likely to figure he doesn’t need to entertain same either. Most SME’s see their competition as competing on price, distribution or delivery services, one or some of myriad product features and/or other RATIONAL attributes, but certainly not real emotional differences.
- They don’t think it could make a difference.
Ok, so maybe there could be an “emotional” side to their brand. Many SME’s don’t see it as very important or making much difference. After all, customers buy (or keep buying) a product or service mostly because of more literal/rational reasons, right? Wrong … Einstein. People may buy things for a whole mix of rational and emotional considerations, but almost always there is somewhere lurking a subconscious, emotional element in their decision making that either supports their rational decision or tips it away in another direction … maybe postpone purchase, go with a competitor, etc
- They don’t have the time or manpower.
This is the classic one and totally understandable. What should an entrepreneur or a company focus on? What are their most important “must do’s?” Well, there will probably never be a time, when things are so slow that someone says “Hey, let’s work on our brand today.” The only way to have the time and the people to do the work, any work, really, is to just start. Set a day and time to begin, assign the person or personnel to drive the project. Even if yours is just a one-man business, make the decision to just start, if only in short bursts of effort over a month or even six; set key timelines and figure out how and what your brand can build on its emotional side. Of course, you can always hire some short term outside help from business professionals that know the territory.
- They don’t know where to start.
This is really part of # 4 above. There never will be the perfect time, but there will always be the perfect starting point. Start at the BEGINNING! That means you should follow three steps that you may have learned in Marketing 101 or in the real-life daily battle of running your business: a) Determine WHO you are selling to and what makes them decide to buy, b) choose WHAT your best offer/message to them can be from among the many things that might influence them to rationally choose you; and c) figure out HOW you can figuratively (and emotionally) “melt their butter,” when they recognize your sales message, but need a bit more to choose you. You did it in High school, when you were trying to win that special person’s attention and get them to go to the dance with you. Now do it when you’re trying to get that customer to buy.