“Don’t just start a business, build a brand”.
These are the words words of John Hegarty, advertising guru, and co-founder of The Garage Soho. It’s good advice.
When you start a business, you can have the brightest idea in the world. You can meet a need that’s never been met. But even if your offer has no visible competition now, you can be damn sure that you’ll be fighting for market share soon. Other businesses can (and will) copy ideas, they can exceed service levels and undercut your prices. But a brand can’t be copied. It’s not about the logo, the tone of voice or the colour palette. All those things have a role to play. They form an important part of your identity. But they’re not your brand.
Your brand is the value you bring to your customers. It’s the space you occupy in your customer’s mind. When you occupy that space, when the perception of your brand is embedded in your customer’s brain – it takes a lot to shift it. In a 2017 taste test, Heinz baked beans came 3rd behind Branston (15p a tin cheaper) and Tesco (less than half the price). Their product has been copied, even bettered. And yet they still hold 70%ish market share. Beanz still meanz Heinz. The real value lies in their brand.
So start-ups – heed Jon Hegarty’s words. He knows a thing or two.