Is This How To Protect Your Brand Like Uber?

Would you knowingly throw your business down the toilet?


Everyone know that brands can be the most valuable resource a business has. Apple, Google, Coca-Cola are all worth billions in their own right. Relatively speaking a brand can be even more valuable to a small local business. But how much do you think about your brand, and more importantly how much care do you take of it?


Of course we also know that the big brands control their brands closely. And maybe you do the same with yours. But how much thought do you give it?


Where brand control meets promotion does brand control lose?

Of course you want your business to be seen and widespread attention can result in increased sales but can doing so result in damage to your brand?


These thoughts came to my mind on reading an article about Uber and how it it is now getting public subsidies in one Florida town. While it’s an interesting read on many counts, the quote that  resonated for me was the one about how strictly Uber controls its brand and how it forbid use of its logo


“anywhere that could degrade our brand,” including on doormats or anywhere else where it could be trodden on; on things like napkins or paper plates that would be quickly thrown away; on dartboards or urinals; on food, which, the document explains, will be sliced, broken, eaten, and is associated with the feces it will later become”


I think most of us can see the need for the restriction on placing the logo on urinals. But I think most companies and businesses would happily place their logo on doormats, dartboards and food. I know I personally have seen logos on these products and also on napkins and more.


So what is the best approach? The truth is I don’t know the answer. In fact I suspect that, like most things in life and in business, there is no single answer. If there was then I’m sure there would not be a large market for such branded goods. And other major companies would not be placing their brand on such goods. There would probably be no Frozen chocolates and breakfast cereals either.


But it’s a topic worth thinking about. Where are the lines to be drawn for your business?

Marketing or Advertising?

For many small businesses the difference between Marketing and Advertising is vague at best and they are interchangeable at worst. Does this matter?


First lets see what the differences actually are and then we can consider our main question of today; do you need to know the difference at all?


Marketing has been described by The American Marketing Association as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Advertising is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “the promotion of goods or services for sale through impersonal media, such as radio or television.”


As we can see from these definitions the difference is that Marketign is a process and set of tools that include advertising. Advertising is thus a subset of Marketing. Marketign in fact includes all the ways to communicate with a customer such as Public Relations, Advertising and even simply conversing. It is the system of communication.


Advertising is the direct message but only when presented in an impersonal media. Talking to your customer when they come into the shop is marketing but not advertising.

Large companies tend to have both marketing and advertising budgets. But this is not the case for small businesses. Does it matter?


I think the answer in most cases is no. For a small business the expense is in the advertising; press, flyers, signage etc. However it is important that you consider your advertising in the context of your overall marketing. Think of the image and values you are trying to convey; are you focused on fresh food? In that case just having newspaper adverts that scream about low price is not the message you want. Sure you can use this occasionally for a sale or to generate a spike in interest but it is not the continual message you want to advertise. And where you advertise will also play a role; Rolex do not advertise in your community paper – they choose high-end fashion and business magazines.

Before you begin to advertise then you need to have fixed your marketing message. And then each advert needs to be considered with this in place. After that you can just go about your business with periodic reviews of what advertising media fit into your marketing plans; press, tv or radio? paid online adverts or SEO?


But apart from that there is little point in a small business worrying about definitions.