Small Business, Supersized Brand (part one)

super businesswoman

Small Business, Supersized Brand (part one)

There are a lot of components that make a brand. In order to make a powerful and durable brand, you have to put in the work. It’s not only design work, because a brand is not a logo.

Business is a game. Success in the game boils down to simple ingredients done well.

First, we need to set our intention.

Psychologists say we can’t achieve anything if we don’t imagine it first. So we need to visualise it.

We need to daydream and imagine we are doing what we love, and doing it well. We are making people happy. We are helping people. We are successful.

What does that look like?

Let’s start with Vision

So what is your vision?

It’s the thing that initially filled you with inspiration to start your business.

It’s the big goal. It is how you can do what you’re good at, do what you love, and do it for the betterment of other people.

It’s also a mental picture of how, IDEALLY, you want your business to look and feel like at some point in the future.

Why have a vision?

Because a strong vision makes a strong business.

That doesn’t mean that it’s all about size – it can be any size.

Having said that global corporations often begin with a single person with a burning vision.

The biggest brands in the world began with a single person with a strong vision

And as an example: in the 1950s there was a high school mathematics teacher called Kumon Toru who had a son who was failing maths. So he made some special worksheets for him and broke down all the math concepts into very simple and gradual components. Within about two years his son Takeshi had gone from being hopeless to this phenomenal mathematician, studying years above his school year curriculum. And so did his daughter.

And Toru thought, hang on, I could unlock this vast potential in literally millions of struggling kids. And he did. And today all over the world there’ll be 3 million students using the Kumon Method.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are another example.

At the time they met, Big Blue (IBM) controlled the computer world. But the Steves were to build a company that was to become its antithesis. The famous Super-Bowl ad that played on George Orwell’s ‘1984’ worked a trick. They tapped into a collective unconscious and built a brand on rebellion, counter-culture. And instead of a name like ‘American National Software Corporation Technology Systems’, they kept it simple. And wholesome. They called it Apple.

So, my question to you is this.

In three years how will your business look and feel?
Write some notes. Really think about it.

And my instruction is: be idealistic.

Target Market 

That brings us to our Target Market. These are the people who will make it happen.

And it’s interesting because nine times out of ten when I ask someone who their target market is, the answer I invariably receive is everyone.

Anyone can benefit from seeing a psychologist, anyone can benefit from having a massage, anyone can enjoy my photography.

And of course, they are right. Anyone probably can benefit.

Ideally, what we want to do is be really specific.

And that raises the question: “Why would I narrow it down and potentially cut off some clients?”

If you talk to everyone, you end up talking to no one.

Who is your target?

Who uses our product or service now?

Who are the most profitable? What do they have in common?
If my business solves some kind of problem, who does it solve the problem for?

Last but not least:

Who do I want? Who are the most satisfying clients?

Ideal target customer

If your target market were one person, who are they? Give them a name, an age, where do they live?

You are writing them as a character in a short story.

If they were a car, what kind of car would they be?

As a character-building exercise, tell me all about them.

  • How old
  • Life frustrations?
  • Hopes and dreams?
  • Their significant challenge?
  • Their beliefs?
  • Values?
  • What causes their insomnia?
  • How do they feed their bodies and minds?
  • What media do they consume?
  • What is their average day?
  • Where do they find spirit (church, art, music, family, gardening?)

If you have a few different types of customers, you can have different profiles for each type. This is market segmentation.

Each customer that you serve, should have their own outline who they are and how to reach them.


As human beings in life, at a subconscious level, we teach people how to treat us.

Positioning is similar.

It’s like NLP – neuro-linguistic programming- but instead of creating neural pathways in our own minds, our business creates pathways in the minds of our target market.

So positioning is “What we decide that people should think about us.”

We don’t need a place on TV or in the newspaper, we need a place in the mind of our target market.

Positioning is competitive. We are positioning on who we ARE, as well as who we are NOT.

The Positioning of Cars

For example, take cars:

If you are buying a car, what’s more important to you?


The pleasure of driving?

What other people think of me?

Convenient for the city, but has to be ‘edgy’?

I am successful and discerning, but I like to be alternative/unpredictable?

  • Volvo
  • BMW
  • Mercedes
  • Mazda
  • Jeep

Do you think the car brands above would suit those desires?

Each of these companies, by repeating their message over and over again, have created a position in the mind of the consumer. They own a ‘word’ or territory that’s unoccupied.

How can you do it?

In the mind of your customer, when they think of your business, what word do you want them to think of? What word do you want to own?

Next Steps: The Brand Identity Prism

I recommend you look at the Brand Identity Prism and go through the steps.

Ready to jump right into Part Two?

Here are some cheap tactics to start revving the engine of your business.