Feedback 05/04

Letters from our readers
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This story appears in the May 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Strike Up the Brand

I so much enjoyed your article in the recent issue of Entrepreneur with regard to branding ("Battle of the Brand," March). It was very well-balanced and did an admirable job of pointing out the pros and cons of branding.

My company, The Busted Knuckle Garage, is a 3-year-old startup that is all about branding. We've recently hired a brand consultant to put some guardrails on our thinking. Your article couldn't have been more timely. Thank you so very much!

Warren G. Tracy
"Head Wrench"
The Busted Knuckle Garage
Prescott, Arizona

I recently subscribed to your magazine, and the first issue I received featured an article on branding ("Battle of the Brand," March). It was an interesting article and served to show how confusing branding can be for [entrepreneurs].

A business can be successful and profitable without having a brand-building plan if the business understands where the brand currently is in the minds of the clients or pro-spective clients and if they can develop a plan of action that will move the brand where they want it to go faster and cheaper. They end up spend-ing less on advertising and being more effective.

Small businesses can inexpensively and effectively build a brand if they are given the knowledge. Unfortunately, brand building is virtually ignored by academia [and] small-business planners.

Until the individuals who touch the small-business owner start to talk in their language on branding, [small-business owners] will continue to believe [branding] is not for them.

I've been impressed with your magazine and wish you continued success.

Lee Fergesen
Chief Advocate
Brand Advocates
Building Competitive Advantage
Johnston, Iowa

Wow, I almost don't know where to begin in commenting about the "Battle of the Brand" article featured in your March issue. Those interviewees "in favor" of using branding strategies exhibited exactly what occurs when you consciously include branding in your business growth plans.

Those who were featured on the side of "Branding, Schmanding" exhibited less than a layman's understanding of the holistic, in-depth process [that] branding strategy is.

Branding is so much more than name recognition. If done correctly, it infiltrates every aspect of your business--from who and how you hire your staff to the making and delivery of the product, to your customer service, your advertising messaging and even to how you deal with difficult customers and reward loyal customers.

Suzanne Tulien
Brand Culture Creative
I.D. By Design
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Keeping It Real

Catherine Seda's "Slam Dunk or Scam Junk?" article in the February issue of Entrepreneur highlighted many common misconceptions about keyword navigation services, but failed to paint the complete picture.

Many industry critics are quick to label keyword navigation services spyware--this is certainly untrue for CommonName. Protecting user privacy is extremely important to us.

In relation to advertising, we only serve one untargeted pop-ad per day. This is mild compared to many well-known Internet companies and is only necessary to enable us to continue providing a free service to our users.

CommonName is a credible search tool. CommonName's user base has doubled in the past year, while CommonName increased its sales by 472 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003, compared to the same quarter in 2002. The company's keyword and pay-per-click services continue to show strong growth and provide a valuable source of traffic for customers.

Yurong Lin

Give It Up

Speaking as a recovering CEO for a software company, I think the worst advice you can give a salesperson is to blindly aim for the top of the organizational chart. In my organization, I did not select, review or recommend most goods and services used by the company--that is why I had a very talented management team and direct reports. Salespeople calling me were wasting my time and theirs.

Charles Von Thun
PositiveWare LLC

Hispanic Power

I'd like to say thank you for publishing such an informative magazine and for including Hispanic companies in the magazine. About $600 billion is spent per year [by] this group of people, and I, being Hispanic, have always read English [language] magazines. Your magazine played a part for me in opening my own business.

I am an entrepreneur, and I just want to say thanks. I wouldn't doubt more Hispanics read your magazine. This would lead to more business for everyone.

Eric Trevino
Rio Inspection Consulting Inc.
Harlingen, Texas

Confidence Booster

I thought I would take a moment to let you know how important your work is to those of us who are just starting out. We recently opened a business in Anaconda, Montana. The first week was a bit scary for both of us, but then we received your magazine in the mail and read it cover to cover. What a great pick-me-up-[it] gave us that little extra confidence we needed. We like that you tell stories of everyday people who make a business work. Thank you for bringing hope to a little business in Montana.

Jeff and Lisa McNeil
Professional Auto Body & Mechanic Shop
Anaconda, Montana

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