It is all in the branding, be it a small business or a big corporation, it is equally important.
Some experts have argued that many Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) fail in one or two years of trading because they did not believe in the power of branding.
But not for a 28-year-old clothing brand owner Philemon Mokhethi from Tembisa in Ekurhuleni who told Vutivi Business News that he had seen the light and for him branding became more like a lifestyle.
His clothing brand, Restored Clothing, branches out into Roarwear and Rebornwear. He started his brand in 2017.
Mokhethi said that he saw a gap in the market of clothing in his township.
“Some of the clothes I saw on the market were not in a good condition and could not be worn for more than two year and this is because designers use low-cost material that will not last for more than two years in the customers possession.
“So I began to research a lot on fabrics that will last for a longer period of time in the market, and that will offer comfortability and durability,” he said
Mokhethi said that his brand represented the style and the culture of how to look at things in a different view.
“I promote my services and products on social media platforms, and make use of word-of-mouth, explaining to people about my products so that they can get a clear vision of the direction the brand is taking,” he said.
“I also give my team members clothing to wear so that wherever they go they can promote the brand. That way they are able to collect data regarding how people react to our brand.”
According to Adjunct professor Raymond van Niekerk, branding was just as important for the local bakery to build a credible image as it is for a big corporation. This should be considered one of the steps along the path to success.
He explained that branding was defined as promoting a particular product or company by advertising distinctive design. “Many of the errors behind small businesses failing are largely branding errors. A common misperception is that branding works only for big companies like Adidas, Pepsi or even Yamaha.
“Knowledge about branding is really important if business owners want to start businesses,” he added.
Van Niekerk has identified five common mistakes made by businesses when it came to branding. He believed that it was important for small business owners to watch out not to commit these mistakes.
The first common mistake small businesses make is giving a business a bad name. Naming a business must reflect the purpose, identity and promise of the business. Using clichés for a business name is simply not a good idea.
The second common mistake businesses commit is trying to save as much money as possible. It would look really bad for a business if a customer walks into an office and you are sitting on a broken chair, for example.
The third common mistake is when a new small business owner takes bad advice, especially when it comes to the business’s image. Business owners must consider outsourcing marketing, and effort should be placed in knowing the difference between good and bad advice.
The fourth common mistake businesses make is complicating the brand. This can include using extra colours and unnecessary words and phrases. Businesses must therefore be bold and make a statement, but must also keep words and choice of colours and icons to a minimum.
The fifth mistake is following the crowd. Too many businesses are drowning in mediocrity. Thus, the ultimate key to a business’s success is identifying a unique or intriguing selling point that is in line with the brand.
Trevor Leso, manager of Vilakazi Espresso, a coffee shop on Vilakazi Street in Orlando, Soweto, agreed that there was power in branding and advertising businesses.
“Our brand represents black excellency, and we don’t want to talk about our brand—we prefer it if our clients do the talking on their own,” he said.
“This is why there is a poem on the wall of our shop by Dr B.W Vilakazi entitled ‘Yini Ukwazi’.”
The coffee shop is situated on one of the busiest streets in Soweto, and Leso said that the simplicity of the brand attracts customers—locally and internationally.
“Tourists would start their day with a cup of coffee, enjoying the Soweto morning. They would compliment how easy on the eye the coffee shop is,” he said.