I recently read an article in the Business Courier that really struck a chord with me about the significance of branding.  The company featured was a Cincinnati favorite, Graeter’s.  Graeter’s has been doing exceptionally well in recent years:  new stores are popping up, ice cream pints of Buckeye Blitz can be found in the freezer section of your neighborhood Kroger’s, and several local restaurants carry a few varieties on their dessert menu.  However, it is interesting to note that you cannot find Graeter’s everywhere.  And, in this case, that is a very good thing.

Graeter’s decided that selling its ice cream in Walmart stores was not in alignment with its brand.  Tough decision?  Yes and no.  Yes, because many companies would look at the opportunity to sell its products through the retail giant as the ticket to overnight success.  No, because the ultimate decision rests in the branding the company has established for itself.  Graeter’s has taken the time to identify who its customers are, the process involved in making its traditional “French pot” ice cream, and the price point it plays in.  To deviate from that would erode the solid foundation the company has enjoyed for four generations.

There will always be an endless supply of people offering you ways to grow your business.  Remember to always return to your branding to evaluate whether or not the opportunity aligns with it.  As tempting as it might be to try something new, not enforcing brand management each and every day can have lasting negative effects on your long-term financial success.

Keep it targeted.

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