Is Hyde Park Angels a brand? You betcha! HPA is an organization and it has a brand just like Coke, IBM or any other company. Non-profit organizations have brands too. How about your fledgling company? Does it have a brand? You betcha it does!
Chicago has always been a great consumer products center. Sears Roebuck might be one of the first great national brands. That DNA exists in Hyde Park Angels too. HPA has a focused group of angels that look at just consumer product deals. Some are experts in branding and can help you with your questions or problems as your business grows.
With start ups though, much of the time people agonize over what to name their company without thinking about the “brand”. Brand is much more than a name. It’s a market presence, but really is a depth of presence. The other funny thing about a brand is you can spend time and money developing it, but your brand is really what people say and think about you. Branding was the original social media!
Branding is really about your company’s character. Here is a good quote
on branding, “A strong brand is synonymous to an endorsement. It communicates your competence and confidence in your business or profession. It creates trust and eases the pain and the stress of making a purchase decision for customers (lowering transaction costs). We are all under the influence of brands. You can command bigger sales since the customers are willing to pay for the value-added advice and unique services you offer. A reputable brand helps you build loyal customers because the customers expect you to stay in business for long.
Branding can also tell the world a lot about your position in the marketplace. If you are trying to fill or exploit a niche, really good branding can give you a nice leg up.
If you build a great brand, you will find your competitors trying to steal it. But, if you have built a loyal base of customers, they will know the difference and that loyalty increases the switching costs, either perceived or actual, for them. As you build your business, think about your brand and how you want your customers to think about you.