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  • Writer's pictureRuth Palmer

Why even small businesses need a pinch of brand magic

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

words written on a desk - I am NOT a machine. My soul is here to...

When was the last time you saw a work van drive past with a memorable business name or a strapline that made you smile?

Clever branding is such a rarity among small businesses that I actually shouted ‘Hallelujah!’ when I first saw a Bearded Bros Removals van on the streets of Brighton. Branding for startups is so often "me-too" and fails to differentiate at all. Bearded Bros Removals logo isn’t fancy - just a black-and-white graphic featuring two bearded dudes wearing shades and stetsons. But it’s engaging, it stands out amid a sea of forgettable competitors and it’s pitched perfectly at their hip and fun-loving Brighton customer base.

A creative brand identity is a great start - but there’s so much more that branding can do for a company - even the tiniest sole trader. The first step should always be defining your brand purpose, beyond simply making money. Brand purpose is the key to personal fulfilment for entrepreneurs. It also unlocks the power of story, differentiating you in a marketplace full of very similar products and services. If customers align with your values, it’s you they’ll choose above all others.

Plumber James Anderson made national headlines after offering free plumbing and heating services to the elderly and disabled in his hometown of Burnley in Lancashire. He also offers paid services to those who can afford them, with the proceeds helping to support his non-profit work. If you lived in Burnley and needed a plumber, wouldn’t James be the first person you’d think to call?

Giving back to your community makes you feel good about your work and it builds a connection with the people around you. This is good for you and good for your customers. It’s good for your business too. It gives you a story - something to talk about other than how good your boiler repair skills are.

Can you imagine a world where every small business owner was living purposefully, loving their work and totally engaged with their community? Wouldn’t it be magical?

Man wearing a cap saying love your neighbour

Brand purpose can create this world. It is about believing in something bigger than yourself and working for a reason beyond financial gain. If you are a solopreneur or you’ve got a side hustle going on - isn’t that exactly why you’re doing it? Or if it isn’t, wouldn’t it be so much more rewarding if you could find a purpose that is more motivating?

Take Twmpa Cycles. Twmpa makes bike frames from British-grown ash. Founder Andy Dix, a former furniture maker, has combined his passion for cycling, wood and sustainability to create a purpose-driven company that has a positive impact on the planet.

Twmpa bike on a track

“The emissions figures [from bike manufacturing] are astonishing,” Andy told Positive News Magazine recently*. “Producing a tonne of planked wood emits minus 457kg of CO2 - in other words. wood locks carbon up. Manufacturing a tonne of aluminium emits 4,532kg.”

Andy Dix has built a business he can be proud of - and he’s gained rave reviews from the cycling press in the process.

Defining your brand purpose does not have to be expensive, and it’s not just for big brands. In fact, we’ve developed a free brand canvas worksheet to get you started. Get your free copy here. Here’s to a more rewarding life, and a happier and healthier planet!

PS - if you do find yourself a purpose-driven magical plumber / decorator, do let me know!


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