For entrepreneurs, its time to invest into branding your products during the downturn.


Firstly, it would protect your brand image and your company. Brand recall will make you stand out from your competitors while they are slashing budgets, giving you an edge over the rest of the pack.

Build innovation and creativity in your delivery of products. Increase market share by reminding your customers that you are still present in the marketplace and that your products are highly demanded and not so much affected by the slowdown. Expand to new market niches by identifying new market demand. Wake up from moaning and groaning with other fellow entrepreneurs about how the government is not doing enough to help SMEs to survive this current economic turmoil.

As a versatile entrepreneur, it's time to address the key issues that has been plaguing your company. If you are in the service sector, build branding by investing more into employee's training and development. Groom them to provide better customer service, which in turns enhance customer experience when they walk into your store. Be proactive and look for innovative ways to create individuality and treat your customer like a KING when they walk into your store or buy your product.

Malaysian's retail buying experience is hardly a pleasure with constant staff turn over rate being a norm in the industry. By branding your store with good customer service you would create repeat customer who don't mind spending a bit, to make themselves feel good for the brief moment.

Organizational behaviour and company culture also plays a part in branding. Brand building by a SME is successful only when the company's founders have a strong clarity in their purpose statement and cultivate a clear set of value system. The founder's passion for the business is mirrored deeply through their staff and stakeholders. Positive energy is infectious and would determine the motivation level of the employees.

Strong brands are normally built over the long term and through consistent message conveyed to the public. The importance of branding has not faded in view of the global economic crisis. If anything, it has increased. With the recent bad publicity given to once upon blue chip companies such as AIG and Citigroup, competitors need to seize this opportunity to instil a sense of confidence and value in the products and services they offer.

Research has showed that trust can't be instilled overnight, but takes a long period of time. If your company or founders has been awarded brand recognition or industry standard awards, now is the best time to advertise that fact to the public.

Be it from a local or global perspective, branding has many positive attributes to it. What's essential now is for you as an entrepreneur to recnognize this fact and invest a minimal percentage of your sales into branding and promotions. Warren Buffett once said " Be greedy when everyone is afraid...Be afraid when everyone else is greedy".

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