How Branding Will Help Sell Your Business
Are you just starting with setting up your own business and concerned about how you are going to survive the first 12 months? Or, you might be looking to retire any time now and think it’s too late to start worrying about branding; either way, if you’re working towards your business contributing to your pension pot or funding your next big project, you have to start thinking about branding…
It’s not all about turnover, profitability, number of clients or even the number of years you have been established. If you were selling to an accountant or bank manager, then maybe, but most buyers that are putting their hands in their pocket are business people with an understanding of the market and your customers.
Here are just a few ways in which your brand will affect the process and value of your business when looking for investment or a buyer.
“People form first impressions in about 17 milliseconds” – Angie Schottmuller, (Three Deep Marketing) and you never have two chances.
There is an argument that your last impression is the most important, however, you may not get another chance if the first impression doesn’t live up to the buyer’s expectations.
Any niggling doubts caused by a poor first impression will always be in the subconscious of the buyer and will likely influence their decisions going forward. Do your best to remove all doubt by getting it right the first time.
Selling a business is very similar to selling anything, really; you have something you believe is valuable and you have to put it in front of those you think would value it too. Like all unique items, you have to get more interest to drive the price up and to do this, you have to follow the first step of Marketing, which is attention!
If a brand has been created and executed well for a significant length of time, it will not necessarily have come to the attention of more people but will have stuck in peoples mind. Therefore, once it has been made clear to the potential buyer that the business is up for sale, they are more likely to react positively to the initial approach and bring more people to the table.
Why do customers reach for a can of Coke over Pepsi when most wouldn’t be able to tell the difference from the taste alone? Well, it’s because the customer has invested in the brand and the brand has never let them down, it’s always delivered. Once someone has invested in a brand, they are unlikely to go against their own previous decision and choose another.
You will only have this effect if your brand is strong enough for people to remember why they bought into in the first place. It could be that they have an emotional connection on some level or because of its fun style or reliable colour scheme, which resonated with the person at that time.
This doesn’t just work for consumer goods of high ticket items such as cars, but also b2b services such as accountants. For you to feel as though you are invested and have a good relationship with the brand, you need to feel the same emotions throughout your experience as you did when you first picked up their brochure.
If you can ensure your customers feel those same emotions every time they see your brand, they are less likely to go against their original decision and go elsewhere. This customer retention will show in your accounts and your buyer should be aware of the added value also.
Forbes goes into a little more detail with their article here.
In the vast majority of businesses, staff are the most important slice of the pie. The last thing a buyer wants to do when purchasing a business is to start paying out for recruitment and training costs. A buyer will know this is a risk, especially if your staff only have a connection with you and not the brand of the business.
There are several ways to have your staff “buy” into the brand and ensure they feel part of the business and not just an employee. Take a look at an article written by Randstad, as they go into this topic further.
If someone is about to pay you off for a lifetime’s work, it will hopefully be a significant sum of cash and therefore trust is a huge factor. To be able to ensure the sale doesn’t break down at the later stages when second thoughts begin to creep in, they need to feel as though they are dealing with someone that is trustworthy. If they don’t see this in your branding, then it can add to their doubts and insecurities about the deal.
If your online presence is strong and you have managed your brand well, buyers will see happy customers and many other businesses connected to you, saying good things. This is going to give a huge amount of trust in your business, as it’s uncommon that a buyer will rely solely on what you have to say and the impression you give as an individual.
Protection from negative PR
We could give a hundred examples but here is example A:
The giant car manufacturer has been caught out red handed cheating the system and selling cars to people with false fuel efficiency figures. This is a brand that has been built on values such as trust and reliability, how on earth are they still competing against massive brands across the country such as Honda, Ford, Nissan etc, when they are known to be cheating their own customers?
Well, you’ve guessed it, Branding.
They have spent Millions on their brand over decades and have built so much loyalty with their customer base, that people will turn a blind eye, just like your partner when they see you steal one of their chocolates.
This is happening with Boeing right now, a brand that is in an industry all about safety and yet has been found to have caused two fatal tragedies in 2019 and its share price is higher now than it was 6 months ago.
Most companies would be put out of business if they had this type of bad publicity. But, not if you have a strong brand, people will more often than not stick by you and your brand’s previous reputation.
Typically if you match two identical companies in every way, but one has been established for twice as long, the business with the greater history will typically be valued slightly more. Likewise, if a business has a stronger brand, it will more likely last longer due to the reasons previously given and therefore have an overall greater value perceived.
Word of Mouth Marketing
It’s all well and good you and your sales team saying to your prospective buyer that you are the bees knees, but this is never as believable than others saying it for you. A great brand makes people unashamed to share content you post or to shout about your products and/or services.
We’re sure that the majority of people will buy a product or service time and time again but never want to post about it, as it may not fit with their public persona. There won’t be many posts of people ruffling through the middle aisle at Aldi, but it’s a fact that they have a massive increase in people shopping there. This is why Aldi is investing so much in branding with the GB Olympic team, to make the brand appear more at home with the British public. This in time will make people more comfortable to talk about the brand as their shopping choice.
If you put real time and effort into understanding your core brand values and the emotional drivers of your customers, you will see greater loyalty. If potential buyers can see and hear all of the brand values you preach but via your devoted customers, they will be far more inclined to snap up your business with the price tag you’ve chosen.