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Why don’t MSMEs prioritize branding? | Slangbusters Blog
Jun 12, '19

Why don’t MSMEs prioritize branding?

It’s not just the money. Here’s why they should.

Abstract art of a face behind question marks

The contribution of MSMEs across economies is significant. It’s about time we talk about the role of branding in the most exciting sector of our economy.

Branding as an industry has had clients that wanted to brand a product that was basically carbonated sugar water (Coca Cola) to remote controlled skateboards (Boosted Board). But these brands did not start out as multi-nationals. They were a part of the MSME sector when they swung into action.

There is not much research done in the field of branding small businesses. However, the available research has shown empirical evidence of how investing in branding can prove profitable for a business.

The basics

MSME is an abbreviation for businesses that fall under Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises category. This is determined traditionally on the basis of their investment size. Based on their expanding capabilities, it can develop into a multinational business and that is what we are going to be talking about here.

These enterprises may be small in terms of investment, capital, and team but their vision does not have to be a small one.

There are many definitions of what MSMEs are, and it varies among economies based on terms like the number of employees, the value of sales and the assets.

While advocating the protection of small businesses during difficult economic times, then President Obama said, “small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our communities”

Their ability to grow in the market is solely dependent on the minds that work for the business. Because of lower investment, the speed of expansion might be small but not the potential of success. Besides, expansion does not mean success.

The approach

The way small business owners or entrepreneurs perceive branding as a service has a vast difference. There are businesses that get a big kickstart and still do not believe in the power of branding whereas there are small businesses that prioritize branding from the get-go.

Although, large firms do invest in branding assuming that it has become an industry standard. In small businesses, the owner becomes the brand manager too, making all the crucial decisions.

As much as research proves that there is little or no consideration given to brand management in small businesses, it is also proven how it becomes even more important for MSMEs because of its potential. With effective branding, they can reap the fruits of expansion and a loyal customer base faster to then compete with large businesses.

The differences

At the core, most of the large corporations are built on formal structures with adequate resources, efficiency, and expertise with a long term approach to planning business functions whereas MSMEs are built in a varied manner based on informal structures, short term planning, and limited financial resources. They Jugaad their way into existence with creative solutions to make for the lack that large businesses have.

There is a difference between a brand and a business too. If you sell nice shoes, you are a business. If you are able to motivate your customer to just do it, you are a brand. This also puts an emphasis on how big of a difference branding can make on your business. Without branding, Nike could have been just a chain of 7 stores in your city.

To most consumers, a large brand would be a preference above a microenterprise, obviously based on their purchasing power. But when we look at how a small company is better than a multinational, one example could be your visit to the local bookstore rather than buying a book from Amazon, which has the perks of discounts and home delivery. This could have multiple reasons such as the bookshop owner giving her personal suggestions for you to read, knowing your taste by talking to you rather than an algorithm generated recommendation that starts with “people who bought this also bought…”

The aspects that come into play here are craftsmanship, personalized service, superior knowledge about the customer and about the product selections. If a bigger business is able to achieve all of the above, they could be undefeated.

But along with many differences, there are similarities between great brands, no matter what their size is. Every great brand is built on the realization of a gap. There are a lot of brands that might be providing the same service/product but their product will have a solution that others failed to deliver.

Small entity: Gap → Idea → Brand

Big entity: Gap → Idea → Investment → Team → Brand

Just like in large companies, employees of a smaller company must reflect and work towards the same vision.

Big businesses have a complex brand architecture and a large team to manage various brands that fall under one brand. A smaller business has the liberty of focusing on one idea and working towards perfecting that idea.

We need to change the approach that new business owners have towards branding, especially small brands that have resource constraints.

You’re never too small for branding.

Your business might be small, but an ideal branding service should consider the strength of their vision, not capital.

The Brand

Brands are omnipresent. Today, we consume brands and their content on a minute to minute basis. In such a saturated environment, it becomes even more difficult to create a brand with a voice that people listen to. The brand has become the most valuable asset of the business. Branding is like creating a wall around your fort, making it not only grander than other buildings but also protecting it from the competition by making it difficult for them to enter the market. With a stronger personality, a small enterprise could benefit the reaps of branding on their way to a larger and more importantly, a loyal customer base.

What we need to change is the entrepreneurial approach to branding.

Branding is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

The Budget

The solution lies in customization. Just like fingerprints, no two strategies are the same. When you customize your product for your consumer, you earn brownie points which you can redeem for customer loyalty. That is exactly what we have done at Slangbusters. Our extensive branding process is designed in a manner that can be customized according to the client’s needs. We are strictly against the one-size-fits-all approach. We invest heart in all the projects that we undertake at the Slangbusters studio. We don’t brand businesses, we brand ideas. Ideas that have a clear vision and the potential to change the norm.

And this is what branding is about at the core. It doesn’t discriminate on the basis of the size of your company.

Still think budget is an issue? Talk to us.

We’re suckers for branding great ideas. Money is not an issue.
Check this space for more on branding for a small business.

— by Manas, Content Strategist, Slangbusters Studio

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