Who Are You?

Small Companies With "Big Brand" Images

Jonathan Nolan is a marketing vice president for Resort Sports Network (RSN) in Portland, Maine. "We're primarily a cable-television business," Nolan says. "What we do is create programming that goes out to a collection of affiliated TV stations at 56 resorts in the United States."

Over the past 11 years, RSN has developed into a well-recognized and successful brand within its industry. "We've been able to consolidate the viewership of a whole pile of small, local cable-television stations into one recognizable, national name," Nolan says.

The RSN brand name is strengthened through TV programming at affiliated resorts across the country, in addition to the cable networks and a newly developed Internet presence. "RSN is not only the TV programming that you're looking at when you get to the resort," he says, "but it's the way you access the resort over the Internet for all the information you need to make travel plans. We want everybody to know that, any time they want to go to a resort, RSN is the place to go for all the information they need."

Can a small company develop a strong brand identity? Nolan thinks so. "The way we've done it is that RSN becomes synonymous with the key information people need in our vertical niche," he says. "We look at the branding of RSN as a consolidated approach. You may have seen RSN on television, on the Internet, in various print forms--all with a similar message. If you want to go to a resort, you think of RSN."

Raj Khera is the president of GovCon Inc., a business Web site that provides free access to otherwise expensive information, such as the Commerce Business Daily, a list of large government contract opportunities published by the Department of Commerce; government regulations; databases--anything that helps government contractors win more contracts.

The GovCon site, launched in September 1995, is used by tens of thousands of people across the country, Khera says, and gets 3 million hits each month.

How did Khera develop such strong brand recognition? "We really pushed the whole brand name `GovCon,'" he says. "Everything we do has something to do with GovCon: The site is GovCon. It's on our business cards and our stationery. We hold GovCon seminars. We're constantly sending out press releases. We try to have the name everywhere we can."

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This article was originally published in the September 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Who Are You?.

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