I wanted to call this article “When Branding Hurts”, but went with How to Choose a Brand for Your Business because Google Bots will like that title better. I’ll be completely transparent here, my goal with writing is for the love of teaching, but also for the joy of helping businesses when I am doing consulting. As I’ve been prospecting, I’ve had several different occasions of feedback that the brand Small Business Decisions is not favorable for a consultant. For this reason, I am going through rebranding a journey and wanted to share.
When Brands Have Unintended Consequences
The formal definition of Small Business in the US is any business with 499 or fewer employees. Most people don’t know that. By that definition, there are many business making nearly half a billion dollars a year who are considered small businesses. The issue with the name is the word small:
Definition of Small: minor in influence, power, or rank; Little or close to zero in an objectively measurable aspect; of little consequence – excerpts from Merriam-Webster Dictionary
I was talking with a consultant from Accenture who was very interested in what I do with predictive statistics and pricing. When I handed him my card with the Small Business Decisions branding, he lost interest and told me they don’t work with small businesses. Nevermind that he already knew I was a small consultant, it was because my branding was focused on helping small businesses that he presumed I would not be able to help larger businesses. That perception is unnecessarily drawing a line in the sand.
A few more quotes regarding the Small Business Decisions brand for consulting:
“People love working with small businesses because they expect things to be cheaper.”
“Nate, there’s nothing small about what you do. You’re drawing an artificial line in the sand.”
So with all of this feedback. I realized that as much as I love small business, and know the technically correct definition of small business, there is an issue with the branding for consulting.
Perception Anchors Reality
When I say small business, the average person will instantly bring to mind the mom and pop shop on the corner. So, even though that is not a true representation of reality, the fact that the vast majority of the population has that idea branded in their minds when you say “small business” is something to pay attention to.
There is a powerful psychological principle called “Anchoring” which is used in pricing. Anchoring is a proven psychological phenomenon which shows that whatever we think of or see just before trying to logically consider a situation influences our decisions. Due to the word small being in the branding for Small Business Decisions, the majority of people interacting with me as a consultant will unconsciously compare my capability with whatever the words in the branding mean. So rather than being associated with the $20 Billion in product pipeline visibility that I have had, I’m being unconsciously compared to something of minor influence or rank, and the quaint mom and pop perception of small business.
How to Rebrand
I am not a branding expert. I can run the statistical studies that help prove this type of anchoring phenomenon exists, but when it comes to actually choosing a new brand name, I turned to an expert. I’m sure you’ve seen that I really like Nick Kolenda’s stuff. He just so happens to have an excellent brand name guide: https://www.nickkolenda.com/brand-names/
The New Consulting Brand
I am proud to announce the new brand for the consulting wing of my business:
Product. Price. Profit.
I am planning to keep writing on this blog where appropriate and will be sharing content between the two websites where appropriate. Go check out the new site and some of the stuff I’m writing there.