Branding for SMEs: a Guide

CAI Branding

A strong brand is good for business. It gives it an advantage over its competitors by distinguishing it from them in a way that matters to customers and influences their choices, making the difference between commercial success and failure in a competitive market. Despite its importance, however, this simple tool, available to every business, is often misunderstood, underestimated, and underused, particularly by smaller businesses.

In this guide on branding for SMEs, Gerard Tannam encapsulates and offers his wealth of experience as a leading brand development consultant. He distils a uniquely clear and useful definition of ‘brand’ as a tool that influences choice by reflecting the relationship between buyers and sellers and the value they exchange.

A business uses brand to help it become the natural choice of its customers; its customers use brand to help them make the right choice of product or service. On this basis, Gerard provides a comprehensive set of concepts, terms and tools and techniques with which businesses can build their own brand infrastructure.

Accessible, rooted in the experience of advising SMEs, and easy to apply, each section of the guide features an illustrative fictional scenario, real-world examples from the author’s brand work with clients, checklists and other tools with the which reader can apply Gerard’s approach.

About the author

Gerard Tannam is founder and CEO at Islandbridge Brand Development, where he works with SME clients across a wide range of sectors to position them for growth in national and international markets. In understanding the brand relationships between business and customers, Gerard and his colleagues at Islandbridge have successfully devised and implemented brand development programmes for market-leading clients such as: Topaz Energy, Maldron Hotels, Clongriffin Town (for Gannon Homes), Lisney, SAP Landscapes, the Louis Fitzgerald Hospitality Group, Which Mortgage, Funderland, Savvi (formerly ESB) Credit Union, and Acquired Brain Injury Ireland. Gerard is a regular contributor to discussions on branding both in Ireland and overseas. He was George Hook’s Kickstart Your Business expert on Newstalk from 2010 to 2017.

Useful resources

Recruiting Talented People by Dr Mary E. Collins

Hiring the right people is the lifeblood of most organisations. Getting it wrong can be costly and detrimental to morale. The ‘war for talent’ is fierce, particularly within the professional sector, and growing businesses and organisations need a clear strategy to recruit and retain the brightest and the best.

Traditional recruitment practices have changed with rapid advancements in technology and social media. The powerful generations now entering the workplace demand a new approach to attract, engage and retain them for longer.

Written by an experienced expert in talent acquisition and organisation development, this innovative book is informed by interviews with thought leaders in the recruitment field and takes a structured approach to sourcing, hiring and inducting talented people. Its accessible style allows the reader to ‘dip in’ and select relevant advice depending on where they are in the hiring cycle.

Digital Marketing by Rachel Killeen

Customers are online and they use social media, so businesses have to be there also, at every touchpoint along the customer journey. Customers actively use digital channels to investigate, locate, share, purchase and engage with brands online. In contrast to traditional media, it is easy to track and measure ROI for online spend, and digital marketing budgets have grown rapidly at the expense of traditional media. However, the pace of this change has left a big knowledge gap for many business people and this book aims to address and fill this gap, to help you market online with confidence, using the various digital media and channels to create competitive advantage.

A practical guide to digital marketing for SME owners, managers and professionals, this book helps you understand and prioritise key digital media and allocate scarce resources to maximise online return on investment.

This article was first published by Chartered Accountants Ireland at the following URL: