In Spring ‘21, representing Novella Brandhouse, I was selected to be in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business National Cohort. This week, I attended the 10KSB National Summit alongside 2,500 small business owners from across the country. It was an INCREDIBLE event. 

Goldman Sachs pulled out all the stops to bring us a speaker lineup that was insightful, aspirational and full of gems for all the entrepreneurs in attendance. The all-star speaker list included: Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffet, Adam Grant, Gwynth Paltrow, Rebecca Minkoff, Alli Web, Chris Paul, George W. Bush, Ryan Reynolds, GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani, and many more.

From the stage, we heard financial wisdom, leadership tips, and customer service best practices. But one topic that came up in just about every talk was branding. Drybar Founder Alli Webb was asked what the three most important things were that made her business successful.

  1. Customer service
  2. Passion for the business.
  3. Branding

“Pay attention to every detail of every touchpoint,” Webb said. “What’s it like when your customer experiences your brand? What’s the experience for them? Your brand is more than just the logo.”

As important as building a strong brand is, you have to be authentic in your positioning, messaging and delivery. The best brands tell the product story, the problem you are solving for your customers (in a positive way) and align with their values and mission.

“Customers make their buying decisions based on their beliefs and what they need,” American Good Co-Founder & CEO Emma Grede explained.  “You have to brand authentically.”

Grede said her number one marketing tip was harnessing the power of social media. But in order to do that well, your marketing has to be what your brand is about, not just the latest fad or TikTok trend. “Consumers see right through that,” Grede added.

Ann Colgin of Colgin Cellars said she always thinks about the brand when it comes to her business. When she was approached about selling her winery to another company, she considered not only the financial offer but also if the brand was landing in the right hands. Yet, another way a business owner was thinking about the brand outside of the marketing campaign.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a bit of (branding) advice from the 43rd President of the United States. When talking about leadership, George W. Bush explained, “A CEO’s job is to look down the road. Everyone else on the team is thinking about the here and now, your job is to think about next week, next quarter, next year.”

He added that principle-guided decision making is key. And what drives those principles? Your mission. Your values. Your brand. Remember, your brand drives everything.

Interested in chatting more about how your branding is the key ingredient for building a business? Let’s talk! Grab our spot on our calendar