I often hear the question “can a small business build a brand?” The truth of the matter is, every organization has a brand. The question should be, “how does a small organization leverage its brand?”
If you focus on delivering excellence to your market (defined by your markets viewpoint) you will be growing your brand. You don’t need a flashy logo, matching stationery or a Twitter account. These are not bad but for every organization, across every industry the primary component of building a strong brand relies on providing more value than your competitors.
In the area I live you can ask almost any local for a great sub shop and out of the thousands, they will point you to either Sugar Hill Subs or White House.
They both have great subs but still have flaws. Their signage is not much better than a mom-and-pop shop, inside they are both laid out like small delis and the employees are not in uniforms. But they are not building a reputation on anything else than what they do best… delicious subs.
Yes, they may be able to expand their market and accelerate their reputation through more relevant marketing and design, but they are still the best without it.
It doesn’t matter if you are Al’s Pizza or AT&T… if your service or product can out deliver your markets top competitors your reputation/brand will grow.