BRAND-BUILDINGIS THE KEY TOENHANCING AN SMESCOMPETITIVENESSAND PROFITABILITY“A brand is the intangible sum of a products attributes:its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputa-tion, and the way its advertised.”David Ogilvy
Malta has been experiencing rapid economic change. Various sectors, such asﬁnancial services, IT and tourism, have undergone greater development and haveattracted an increasing number of overseas brands to relocate to or tap into theMalta market. In a business environment ﬁlled with opportunities and challenges,brand-building may be the direction SME’s need to take to enhance their com-petitiveness in Malta. Ogilvy Malta, part of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, is abranding company with an expertise in niche markets.BUILDING YOUR BRANDTO BE MORE COMPETITIVEA brand is a product, service, or concept that ispublicly distinguished from other products, services,or concepts so that it can be easily communicatedand usually marketed. A brand name is the name ofthe distinctive product, service, or concept. Brand-ing is the process of creating and disseminating thebrand name. Branding can be applied to the entirecorporate identity as well as to individual productand service names. A brand is a symbol, a means to diﬀerentiate oneproduct from another. The implied “message”lurking behind the brand includes company image,the quality of the product and a promise of perfor-mance. The function of a brand is to position theenterprise in the consumer’s mind. After the brandis established, it will not only retain long-termcustomers but also attract the interest of potentialcustomers, thereby eﬀectively enhancing the com-petitiveness of the enterprise. Most local people think that brand-buildingrequires extensive capital and technology which isthe approach generally taken by blue chips. AsSME’s are mostly small and working with scarceresources, the approach taken to brand-building isalso very diﬀerent. In fact, by authentically express-ing their brand identity and adopting an adjustedmechanic to brand-building through easy-stepdevelopment in a moderate and modular manner,taking a step at-a-time towards its goal, SME’s canalso build their own valuable brands for strongersales and better business performance.
3 STEPS TO BRAND-BUILDINGFOR MALTA’S SME’s1. LEVERAGE STRENGTHS THROUGH CORE VALUESBrand building is a never-ending on-going process. from overseas brands on the strength of the Island’sIn David Ogilvy’s view SME’s should prepare a heritage. Brand Malta is a resource that belongs tolong-term plan before establishing a brand and the all of us and we should feel free to make use of theplan should be implemented in stages. Firstly, pillars that comprise that brand, namely - Heritage,SME’s should identify the core value of the brand, Hospitality and Diversity. For instance, The Xaraas brands can be classiﬁed as product brands, Palace Relais & Chateaux in Mdina has a Maltese-service brands, consumer brands or corporate fusion restaurant called de Mondion that portraysbrands. The SME should ﬁrst deﬁne the nature of itself with a luxury image and makes use of theits product and service and identify its major target noble history of the citadel that infuses both theconsumer group before it can customise its strategy cuisine and the theme of the restaurant. The successto meet customer demand. Malta’s SME’s are in building its style and image has turned themainly involved in the service sector and since restaurant into a major tourist attraction. Recently,customers nowadays attach great importance to The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux was named one“experience spending” or “retail therapy”, seeking of the top 10 castle hotels in the world by Fox News,a form of satisfaction in the course of consumption, and this accolade follows features in Condé Naststherefore, it is suggested that local SME’s should Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Diplomatstart with building their brand in service. Magazine, and visits by celebrities such as Brad Pitt Compared to the large enterprises, SMEs also and Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone, Orlando Bloom,have some advantages when building a service Jennifer Anniston, Bruce Willis, Simply Reds Mickbrand. For instance, the small size allows for fast Hucknall, Josef Calleja, Lucio Dalla, Rupertdecision-making and higher ﬂexibility, enabling the Everett, and a raft of VIPs, politicians, entrepre-company to make prompt strategic adjustments in neurs, business leaders and other prominent ﬁgures.response to customer demand. Local SME’s can Not bad for the smallest hotel on the Islands, withmake use of Malta’s abundant cultural resources by only 17 rooms! All their success is built on leverag-making its own brand into a unique style diﬀerent ing their brand.
“If it doesnt sell, it isnt creative.”David Ogilvy2. COPYRIGHT PROTECTIONBeing creative means pushing the standard higher, of trademark protection and eliminate the possibili-moving towards the new, the never-thought-of. This ties of trademark pirating. Malta has very reason-form of “innovation” helps drive diﬀerentiation and able administration fees for various industrialcompetitive advantage through ownership of property registrations including those for trade-deﬁned brand assets, such as original designs for marks and patents, as a measure to encouragelogos, high-quality communication, distinctive enterprises to explore intangible assets. This type ofadvertising with higher production values, authen- brand-building and brand protection help the SMEtic and original photography, and various other to develop ownership of their market through theintangible assets. Brand building requires the recurrent revenues enjoyed by the brand. Integritywell-crafted design of a brand namestyle and is an important foundation of SME brand develop-identiﬁer of the product and services involved – ment and allows a believable and engaging brandnormally a bundle of the two. An outstanding piece promise to emerge and be maintained by theof design development or a clever brand name can business for longterm revenue harvesting. Adraw the attention of a great number of consumers, relatively recent Maltese start-up to recognise theraise the value of the product and services and importance of brand protection is the new smoothiebecome an important asset of the enterprise. brand Dr. Juice, which now operates 7 outlets and Therefore, SME’s should increase their awareness has expanded their brand franchise to Italy.
3. TURNING BRANDING TO COMPETETIVE ADVANTAGEWhen engaging in promotion and marketing, local into the most proﬁtable IT business in Malta. TheirSME’s usually cannot invest substantial amounts in eﬀective use of trade fairs, collaterals, editoriala large advertising campaign. Maltese SME’s, features in trade journals and exhibition catalogueshowever, may still publicise and promote themselves together with dedicated commitment across digitalthrough other eﬀective channels. For instance, by channels has been instrumental in establishing theirparticipating in international exhibition activities brands as credible alternatives in internationalthrough the delegations regularly organised by markets, backed by Maltese entrepreneurial ﬂair.Malta Enterprise, FinanceMalta, Malta Tourism Ascent’s success is proof that Maltese SME’s canAuthority and other entities as well as taking part in compete successfully in international markets andoverseas exhibitions which may help to increase the develop those markets to serve their base in Malta,exposure of their products and also provide an creating local employment and earnings derivedopportunity for SMEs to exchange views with from outside the local economy. By quickly master-overseas counterparts and gain inspiration for new ing new opportunities in the social media sphere, itideas. Local SME’s therefore can seize the opportu- is possible for brands to have a reach, and to build anity to take part in various activities and market responsive network of suppliers, staﬀ, customerstheir products to overseas trade visitors, source and stakeholders which put the SME-brand centre-business partners and buyers and explore new stage at a fraction of the cost involved in traditionalmarkets. Ascent Software in Luqa has taken this media channels such as television, newspapersapproach for the last 7 years and has built a portfo- or radio.lio of international brands which have turned them“You now have to decide what imageyou want for your brand. Image meanspersonality. Products, like people, havepersonalities, and they can make or breakthem in the market place.”David Ogilvy
SME BRANDS AREABOUT BUILDING ANDDELIVERING VALUEThe small business deﬁnes Malta’s economy. Weare almost all operating small businesses. We arenot alone. More than 99% of all Europeanbusinesses are Small and Medium Enterprises(SME’s), and these have been especially hard hitby the tightening of credit and the weakeningeconomic outlook. All economies within the EUare completely dependent on SME‘s represent-ing around 95% of each Member State economy.If you are the owner of a small business, you mayhave wondered about the necessity of brandingyour small business. Creating a brand identity is absolutely crucialespecially if you are competing in a market thatis saturated with other busi- nesses selling thesame product or service as your business does.The Maltese SME ‘brand’ is beginning toemerge and is a combination of quality and Source:mark or sign. By making full use of their own Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963), David Ogilvy Blood, Brains and Beer (1978), David Ogilvyunique features, wisely using resources and Ogilvy on Advertising (1983), David Ogilvystrengthening competitiveness, their brands will Ogilvy & Mather The Red Papers:be built up gradually to deliver higher value. Learning to Read the RiverAudiences now expect brands to be online and Ogilvy & Mather The Red Papers: What’s the Big Ideal?small businesses can use the internet and social Ogilvy & Mather The Red Papers: Socialise the Enterprisemedia to their advantage, increasing brand Author: Edwin Ward, Creative Director at Ogilvy Maltaawareness and extending reach on a national or Contact Edwin at email@example.com scale. If you are a small business www.ogilvymalta.comowner you will no doubt want to spend yourmarketing resources where they will have thegreatest impact – on developing a brand andtaking care of your customers and your commu-nity. Every business wants to be a customersﬁrst choice. Building and managing a brand canplay a signiﬁcant part in achieving that goal.Important Notice: All information is for reference only. While every eﬀort is made to ensure the accuracy of informa-tion, Ogilvy Malta will not be held responsible or be liable for failing to guarantee the accuracy of any informationprovided, nor for any damage caused by inaccurate information or omissions.