“I know how it looks… but TRUST ME, I have it all under control”
I read this statement above the other day and it just reminded me how in small businesses, business owners seem to think that if things appear chaotic, everything is under control.
This sent a bit of a shiver down my spine, since, if it looks like chaos, it probably is chaos, with the business owner being the only person in the company with the strategy in mind (not on paper, documented for all employees to see) and this can only be a recipe for disaster.
The problem with this is the following: if the business owner is the only person who knows what’s going on, how is the staff supposed to be moving the business forward? How are the employees supposed to act/react to clients both inside the business and outside, if there is no mention of company culture and values? How will the people doing marketing of the business services or products, position these, if they are not privy to the strategy, because it is in the boss’s head? Financially speaking this could open a hornet’s nest of financial practices which may be scrutinised and found to be less than desirable.
The question here is: If the business owner does not have a formal plan/strategy for their brand, how will they control how the business is perceived by its customers/clients and other stakeholders and shareholders?
To answer this, we could almost write a dissertation, but what I want to focus on here is an aspect about what the clients/customers perception is of the business. If the business does not have a formal plan or strategy of marketing and branding, to define itself in the market, who will do it? You’re Clients!
This could work well if your business is so awesome that the clients experience is so good, that your brand is held up and revered…. But what happens if something that goes wrong?
The business owner needs to have the brand (and for that matter a strategy for the personal branding for the employees), taped down securely, so that YOU know exactly what the business is about, how it benefits the public, building on a strong brand identity based on a solid value system and a visual presence which people will not forget.
The important thing here is that everyone in the business needs to ‘buy in’ to that identity and live the values as if they were one with them. You all need to be looking out the same window!
So, my question to you is this: Who is in control of your brand?