Branding tips for small, medium-scale businesses


Small and medium-scale businesses that have a strong brand identity for their product and services can stand out from competition as they attract customers with their own brands.  

“Actually contrary to what people believe, what you guys are selling are more than just products. What you are selling are actually experiences, feelings and beliefs about your products,” Tats Cruz, chief creatives agency officer at Publicis Group, said in a workshop organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

To build or transform products into brands, Cruz advised entrepreneurs to identify target markets, treat brands like a person, study competition, identify their brand’s mission and vision, and create their visual identity.

“It is really the persona and what moves the target market into buying the product. And what you learn about the persona of your target will influence the branding decisions that you will make down the line,” she said.

Cruz said brands need to be treated as a person so they can create relationships with consumers.

“It’s finding out your brand –who is he/she? Is she funny, serious? What does she like/ doesn’t like? Is she friendly or an introvert or extrovert,” she said.

“A brand is more is just a product, it becomes a brand because you are able to build a one-to-one experience with your customer, you are able to elicit feelings when she’s consuming your products so that’s really how you sell your brand with them –you tell them what kind what kind of experience she will have when she consumes your product,” she added.

Cruz considered studying competition a “bedrock” of building businesses.  

“So when you study your competition, it gives you an idea on how you can set yourself apart from them. And it’s really because new, unique, provocative brands become more memorable to the consumers,” she said.

Cruz further said entrepreneurs also need to articulate their purpose in doing business as more younger consumers demand brands to take a stand on the mission of their company.

“They (younger consumers) look for brand transparency, they look at the ethics of your brand, sustainability, even the manufacturing process –all these things have become important in their brand choice,” she said.

“The why of your brand serves as the north star of your business and defines your brand values,” she added.

As brand identity refers to the visual aspects of brands, Cruz said very common visual identities include logo, package design and tagline –a one-line company statement, a short description that tells the consumers of one’s brand promise that helps create interest and understanding of what businesses are selling.

“The tagline really helps you communicate a major benefit of your business or your product. It should appeal to your targeted audience. And by that, use their language to convey that one thing your product or your service does for them specifically. I guess the simplest and the most important –keep it short, keep it simple,” she said.

To create a strong brand identity, Cruz said firms also need to find their brand voice, build and follow a brand strategy, build brand equity, prioritize consistency, and market their brands.

“The brand voice really is how your brand communicates to the customers and understanding this really narrows down the tone of voice you want your visual identities or even the communication that you want to give to your consumers,” she said.

Cruz said a brand strategy is a framework that determines how a brand presents itself to its customers and how it can stand out among its competitors.

Brand equity, on the other hand, is the perceived value of the brands in the minds of their consumers, she said.

“So this is where you measure relevance. How do I really fit in the minds and in the hearts of my consumers? And this really built through consistent use of your branding elements and overall experience of your customer with your brands,” she added.

Cruz further said consistency builds trust and shows that values are authentic, otherwise it can cause confusion.

“Your brand should have a unified presence across touchpoints and platforms so customers can get familiar, recognize and come to prefer your brand overtime,” she said.

Cruz also underscored the importance of effective advertising in improving brand recognition.

“You are very lucky that the advertising and marketing platform or discipline has transitioned to very expensive above the line traditional media of television, radio, print. We now see even small players actively participate on Facebook, on Instagram, on Youtube. You can build your brand, you can build it to scale even with these channels. TikTok is so big now, TikTok Shop I think has even surpassed Lazada and Shopee in recent years,” she said.

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