Big businesses obsess about this thing called branding, yet I think on the whole it has become a pretty soulless term.
Every small business has a brand. The question is whether the make-up of the brand is created intentionally or accidentally. There is little doubt in my mind that small businesses that find themselves in possession of what some would call a strong brand are far more likely to achieve great things than those that simply go out there and compete.
But a small business brand is so much more complicated than a tagline, colors or logos; a small business brand is everything the business does and has done, much like a biography - or in this case maybe a brandography.
There is a wonderful line in the book Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje:
“Everything is biographical, Lucian Freud says. Why we make, why we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.”
A small business brand is very much like this collage — made up of who the owner is, who the customers are, what the employees say, what the press says, and who you had lunch with today — in your business, everything is brandographical!
So the question is: If you knew that in every action your business took you were in the process of creating a brand, if you were given the chance to create a strong brand through your actions — would that change the way you viewed your business? In short, would you write your brandography with a different intention?