New survey from American Express finds SBOs are focused on
differentiating themselves from their competition amidst continued
decline of overall business outlook
MARKHAM, ON, July 15, 2013 /CNW/ - In today's highly competitive
business climate, creating a recognizable and trusted brand is an
important concern for many small business owners (SBOs). Increasingly,
SBOs recognize the importance branding has on business success, and as
such, are focusing on providing an overall brand experience to their
customers. The quarterly American Express Small Business Monitor
reveals that the vast majority (93%) of SBOs cite having a unique brand
that differentiates them from the competition is more important now
It's evident that business owners have seemingly prioritized branding
strategies with 71 per cent saying brand experience is the most
important part of their business' overall brand. SBOs are also placing
a high value on branding as the majority (51%) report branding is
critical to attracting new business.
"Having a powerful brand is vital in today's economy, it can be the
difference between a business that blends in with the crowd or stands
out from the competition," says Athena Varmazis, Vice President and
General Manager, Small Business Services, American Express Canada.
"It's refreshing to see business owners placing an emphasis on branding
since it's their platform to tell their business' story with current
and future customers."
SBOs display a willingness to go digital but stay true to traditional
With consumers increasingly embracing social media and leveraging social
platforms when making purchase decisions, almost three quarters (73%)
of SBOs report that they need to constantly monitor their brand's
perception. As such, SBOs have welcomed digital elements into their
branding with over half (52%) of business owners utilizing a company
website to build their brand.
Yet many still rely heavily on traditional approaches stemming from
internal communications. A full 60 per cent of business owners rely on
the actions of their employees to communicate their brand to their
customers and almost half (45%) of these report it being effective.
Furthermore, 32% of small business owners leverage events to help
increase brand awareness.
SBOs desire a strong brand presence, yet have room for improvement
The demand for a strong, prominent business identity is at an all-time
high with 84% of business owners stating that branding is important to
the overall success of their business. While SBOs feel an increased
need to stand out from the competition, 55 per cent aren't refining
their brand annually and may be missing the opportunity to assess the
evolving trends to ensure their business stacks up in the market.
Thirty-six percent of SBOs admit that they are interested in expanding
their brand but don't know where to start. Despite this, a substantial
86 per cent of SBOs still choose not to capitalize on the resources
third party experts offer with over one quarter (29%) of SBOs rely on
themselves in the development of their business' brand.
"It is surprising to see that the majority of SBOs aren't investing in
the necessary third party resources to help them develop and refine
their brand, yet they are willing to invest in other areas, such as
accounting, legal or payroll," says Varmazis. "Branding plays a
significant role in the overall success of their business and shouldn't
be taken lightly by business owners."
Overall business outlook continues to decline for SBOs
Results reveal that Canadian SBOs are wary about the outlook of their
business and are therefore making more reserved and thoughtful
decisions when it comes to business growth. The index portion of the
Monitor reveals a decline in SBOs' optimism levels year over year.
Although over half (55%) of SBOs remain hopeful about their future
financial position, this has decreased by 15 per cent since this time
While 39 per cent of SBOs report their business' current financial
position is improving, this number is down 21% from April 2012. Coupled
with only one-fifth (22%) of SBOs willing to take above average or
significant risks for their business in the next six months, also
declining over the past year (April '12 38%), it is evident that SBOs
are more reserved about the decisions effecting their businesses.
"Optimism levels have declined below what they were a year ago, leaving
SBOs mindful and cautious when it comes to decisions affecting their
business," says Varmazis. "Now, more than ever, business owners are
mitigating risks and are carefully planning for the future."
About the American Express Small Business Monitor
From May 13 and May 30 Rogers Connect Market Research conducted an
online survey on behalf of American Express Small Business Services
with a sample of 529 Canadian small business owners each employing
between 2 and 100 people. The margin of error for the total sample is
+/- 4.3%, 19 times out of 20. In order to ensure the results are
representative of the entire population of small business owners
in Canada, the data have been statistically weighted for small business
by region according to Statistics Canada. Respondents were located
across Canada and came from a variety of industries, including health,
social services, education, tech, sales and skilled trades. Due to
rounding, some results may add to over 100 per cent.
About American Express Small Business Services
American Express Small Business Services (SBS) is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners
and their companies. SBS supports business owners with exceptional service. We offer tailored products and services that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, cash flow management and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically,
business owners can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools,
services and savings, including charge and credit cards, robust online
account management capabilities and savings on business services from
an expanded line-up of partners. To obtain more information about SBS,
visit www.amexforbusiness.ca or www.facebook.com/AmefforBusiness.
SOURCE: American Express
For further information:
For further information or a full copy of the report, please contact:
Isabella Mise, (416) 644-2293
Christina Peck, (416) 644-2295