By Adrian Swinscoe, Director At RARE Business

Imagine you are in a situation, whether with friends or with work colleagues and you need to buy something: a new computer, a new car, a flight to a conference or whatever. Who do you call?

In each case, the answers that come to mind will probably be driven by your experience, budget and the emotions associated with each company or supplier that comes to mind. This, I believe, is their brand. What this means is that every company has a brand, good or bad, whether they like it or not.

Next, think about some familiar company logos. When you think about those logos what emotions do they evoke in you? This, I believe, is their brand.

Now, I could go into what I think different popular brands stand for. But it's not important what I think. What is important is what you believe or feel that they stand for and whether they deliver against those values.

A brand is not a logo, slogan, publicity campaign or a set of ads. You select a company because you trust them and you believe they will deliver. These are two issues that are important to every company of every size.

Therefore, if you agree with this, a business’ brand is subjective but, essentially, it’s about trust. Look at some of the best brands around the internet, for example: Google, eBay and Amazon. What do they all have in common? People trust them!

Good companies create good brands by creating trust.

Do you need a big marketing budget to create trust?

No! Buying awareness does not create trust or a brand. It only creates awareness.

The business world is littered with examples of failed companies that bought a lot of awareness: DeLorean Motor Company, Pets.com, Boo.com, Enron and the Fashion Cafe (remember that one) stand out as highly publicised failures. Why did they fail? Big promises and failure to deliver.

A big marketing budget can buy you attention but it does not buy you reputation or trust. That is earned by your people and your products and/or services. So, even if you are a smaller company you don’t need lots of money to create a strong brand.

How do you create a great brand? That’s where your all of your business assets come in to play. Your business assets will include your identity (logos, campaigns, uniforms, website etc), your products and/or services, your leadership, your spokespeople, your customer service reps as well as your delivery and sales people. All of these things are elements that influence the emotional bond and the level of trust that your customer base has with your business.

So, when you build trust, you build a strong brand. If you can do that, then you will build sales and create customers. It’s then up to you how long you keep them for.
What do you think? Agree with me?

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