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All you need to know about brand building It is actually easier for small businesses to do brand building. Small business and brand building go hand-in-hand.

By Sandeep Soni

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Brand building has become the catalyst for a company to be a long-term player in this competitive world. As companies try to win more customers, brand building and brand positioning with an emotional connect with target customers become crucial. Willem Woudenberg, CEO, Brand Dialogue, a Dutch brand and design consultancy, believes Indian small business don't know about brand building. He talks more on how small business and brand building go hand-in-hand in a chat with Entrepreneur.

How do you see brand building exercise in India?

India is now a part of the international platform of creating big brands. It has a different past and a different tradition from other countries in which investing in brands is not very common. Indian companies have to learn to invest in a brand, which is not very expensive to do. They have to invest in brand building for at least a year or two to develop a brand that exists for at least five years. In India, the next growth driver of brand building will be online communication, particularly mobile communication.

Is it tough for small businesses to do brand building exercise?

It is actually easier for small businesses to do brand building. Large companies have complex structures, many target groups and big product portfolios. So deciding what they want to develop as a brand is very complex for them. On the other hand, small businesses typically have one product or service so it is easier for them to undertake the brand building process.

Also, in many large companies, their teams seldom directly talk to their owner(s), whereas in small business one can talk directly to the owner. This is very critical because owners eventually decide on building their brand as it is their company, their identity and they have to do it.

How important is the use of colour and logo in creating a brand?

Colour is significant for communication. It is not only about the logo. For example, Kotak Bank's red colour creates its first impression among customers, not the logo. So, people don't identify a company by its logo only, because logos are usually very small in size.

A company's business philosophy and what it wants to convey can only partly be done by the logo. For example, Ben & Jerry's, an American dairy company and Haagen-Dazs, an American ice-cream brand also present in India, stands different from their competitors. It is because of the colour system and the way logo is drawn graphically which gives the impression of difference. This gives the brand a face.

How should small businesses name themselves?

Small businesses should give themselves a recognisable name that everybody understands. For example, the Indian cookies brand by the name of Delishus (gourmet cookies by Sunfeast) is a very recognisable name as it gives the meaning by itself. There are three categories of names:

First is if you have a limited product category for example fruit business and you will never do anything else then you should take name correlated to fruit. Second is names that have an associative meaning, that is, names whose meaning can be understood only by communication. Third is the abbreviation, for example ICICI and HDFC that are the worst type. The companies that started many years ago have given meaning to their names over the years but for a start-up that has to evolve fast, abbreviations are not suited at all.

Deciding on the type of name depends on the essence of the brand, what product/service company has, whether they want to broaden their horizon or stick to one area of product or service.

What are common brand building mistakes of small businesses?

The first mistake small businesses make is not thinking about their strategic positioning. Even if it is a five-person company, it must do that. Second is changing their business model frequently. Third is not dialoguing with their employees.

How did you engage with Flipkart?

We have designed brand packaging for Flipkart's first private label tablets under the Digi Flip Pro brand through our partner agency Yellow Dress Retail. We are engaged with this brand for the creation of its logo, packaging design and boot animation.

Flipkart realised that there was a huge market for well designed high-quality tablets if they were pitched at a reasonable price. The market reacted favourably to their tablets and the initial batch of tablets was sold out in just 48 hours.

Sandeep Soni

Former Features Editor

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