What Does Your Business Say Without Your Saying a Word?  

In Branding by Alexandra Mitchell

When I was in high school it took me awhile to understand the difference between “Me” and “My Persona.” Teachers labored explaining that my persona was the “me” that I projected to the world – smart, funny, adventurous, creative – not the me that brushed my teeth twice-a- day.

What’s your business’s persona, aka its “Brand?” What does your company project to customers, investors, colleagues and competitors when they see the name in print or its logo on a sign? Have you ensured that your brand is consistently and clearly built into all of your company’s touch points: name, business cards, signage, products, customer service, website and more?  A brand explains to consumers your Unique Selling Proposition (see further explanation below under “3 Tips”) which is that thing that distinguishes you from the rest of the crowd.

This may sound like industry speak and purely marketing terms but for every company leader that hasn’t put thought into his or her company’s identity, there’s a competitor that has taken the time and is walking away with the business.  Some important brand components are:

    • Logo: Do you have one? Is it an image, words or both? Does it accurately reflect your business?  It’s great to have local flora or a nice design, but don’t let it clash with the ideas you want to  project.
    • Tagline: This should be no more than 5 words and should convey what you do, how you achieve it, and/or what you do for customers. Nike’s “Just Do It!”, Zappos’ “Powered by Service” and McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It.” each paint a clear picture of their values, beliefs and of what they offer clients.
  • Colors: There’s psychology behind brand and logo colors that consumers interpret very quickly. Sale signs are red and white because, like a “Stop” sign, they make you stop and take notice. Choose colors that make sense for your business and will help customers get a better sense of your brand.  For more information visit this website.

Your brand also extends to you and your staff.  If one plumber shows up late to a service call and in a worn tee shirt, and another confirms the appointment beforehand, shows up on time and with a logo’d tee, what did one plumber’s brand convey vs. the other?  There are hundreds resources available to help you develop and maintain a business brand identity. It takes time, and maybe some money, but you can either spend the money now or lose it later. A few resources are:

    • Small Business Development Corporation: Their services are FREE (yes, some things in life are) and they’re great. They’ll help you through all phases of your business, from start up to helping you create a business plan.  More businesses than you realize got their start by walking through our Kona SBDC’s door. Contact them at: 808-327-3680 or click the link above.
    • Entrepreneur Magazine: Type “branding” into the search window of this magazine’s website and you’ll get more than 28,000 resources. Don’t get overwhelmed. Click this link to an article on branding published last month.
    • Business Coach: Hire a professional to provide 1-2-1 training for you and your staff. You can reach out to local marketing services companies to help you create a logo and develop a branding strategy, and there are thousands of online articles and tools to get you going.
  • Local Resources:There are dozens of local marketing services, graphics companies, design and printing businesses and more that can be members of your branding team. I know several so call me when you have a moment.

Contact me if you want to get your business noticed and to raise your brand’s profile.

“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart.”
– Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks


  1. Unique Selling Proposition(USP) – Define what you really sell — the benefit that’s unique to your business and that your client can’t live without. If you don’t know it yet, then this is the time to discover it, because if you can’t sell it to yourself, how can you sell it to anyone else? 
  2. Customers– You never get a second chance to make a first impression so look at your business through your target market’s eyes. Is your store clean, are the products up-to-date, are you knowledgeable about your industry, is your staff trained in customer service techniques.  Build your brand from the ground up.
  3. Consistency– Spread your brochures, business cards and flyers on a table and pull up your website’s home page on a device. Is there consistency from piece to piece? Are the fonts and styles the same and easy to read? Does everything reflect the type of business your target market wants to interact with?  Are all of the “voices” the same?