Majority of Canadian entrepreneurs lack total confidence in their brand identity



    New research from HP Canada shows that Canadian small business owners
    recognize the benefits of branding, but many are dissatisfied with their
    own current brand and marketing

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 4 /CNW/ - There's more to a "brand" than having a
great logo or tag line. And while Canadian entrepreneurs seem to recognize the
value of brand, a new survey released today indicates that these business
owners lack confidence in their own brand and the marketing of that brand.
    The survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid for HP Canada, indicates that 59% of
small to medium-sized (SMB) owners polled say branding their business is a
priority. However, less than half (45%) are very satisfied with their
company's current brand, and only one in three (32%) strongly agree that they
are confident they are making the right marketing and branding decisions.
    The poll also suggests that there's uncertainty among small business
owners as to what "brand" actually means. According to the survey, more than
half (55%) of entrepreneurs surveyed define brand as their product or company
name, while 29% say it is their logo.
    "Having a strong brand is not just for the Starbucks or the Nikes of the
world," says Erin Brand, owner of Erin Brand Ink, a creative consultancy in
Toronto, and co-founder of yourbrandmakeover.com. "Brand is what makes a
business, product or service unique in the mind of its customers and the
marketplace. It is expressed in every interaction with your customers - your
name and logo, your communications and marketing materials, your Web site and
even your day-to-day transactions. An investment in your brand is an important
investment in your business."
    But according to the survey, only 5% of SMB owners say that when they
first started their business or took it over from someone else, marketing and
branding were top priorities. Interestingly, younger entrepreneurs, aged
18-34, are more likely (67%) than middle aged, 35-54 (57%), and older
entrepreneurs, aged 55 and older (53%) to say that branding is a business
priority today.
    "Small businesses often don't have the budget, time or dedicated
marketing department that larger businesses have to develop and manage a
marketing program," says Jean-Paul Desmarais, Senior Marketing Manager,
Imaging and Printing Group, HP Canada. "There are technologies and online
tools available to small businesses today that can help them level the playing
field with larger companies."
    Along with a host of products geared at SMBs, HP also offers online tools
to help small businesses develop effective marketing materials themselves. For
instance, HP Colour Printing Center (www.hp.ca/colour) offers a number of free
resources, including training, templates and step-by-step guides, to help
users create professional quality marketing materials. As well, HP's new
global integrated marketing campaign "What do you have to say" provides small
businesses with new ideas and online tools to help them create, mash, express,
share and publish their content. The campaign includes marketing collateral
templates designed by Paula Scher (www.hp.ca/scher) and a discussion on brand
identity by snowboard entrepreneur Jake Burton (www.hp.ca/burton).
    "HP is helping small businesses better communicate with their customers
and better market their business by giving them the tools to improve marketing
efforts," says Desmarais.

    SMB owners search for ways to build their brand

    When they have put their marketing plans into action, in the last six
months small business owners have placed ads (33%), designed marketing
collateral (30%), participated in direct marketing (27%) and launched a new
web site (22%). Interestingly, 38% of respondents admit to having never
significantly updated their company logo, and 26% have never updated their
company's marketing materials.
    For the small business owners who are developing their own marketing
materials, nearly half (46%) create their marketing materials in-house. When
it comes to printing and marketing those materials, one-quarter (23%) say they
outsource all of that work, while 27% say they print their materials all
in-house, while one quarter (23%) use a combination of both methods. One
quarter don't engage in printing marketing materials at all.
    Among those people who don't create and print their marketing materials
in-house, the leading reason they don't do this is they believe it is too
expensive to print in-house (20%) or claim not to have the time (18%) or the
knowledge (13%) to do these activities themselves.
    "There are many ways to build, create and express your brand and it
doesn't have to be an expensive or time-consuming process," says Brand.
"Whether they want to print and develop their materials themselves or
outsource, small businesses have a number of options available to them that
will allow them to build and express their brands effectively."
    Additional highlights from the survey include:

    
      -  Regionally, Quebec (66%) and Atlantic Canada (64%) are more likely
         than those living in Ontario (56%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (56%),
         Alberta (54%) and British Columbia (53%) to indicate that branding
         is important to their business

      -  Albertans (59%) are much more likely to say they are very satisfied
         with their current brand than those in other provinces

      -  Entrepreneurs living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (47%) are the most
         likely to say they have never updated their company logo

      -  Female entrepreneurs (51%) are more likely than their male
         counterparts (39%) to say that they are very satisfied with their
         current brand. Women are more likely than men (31% versus 22%) to
         strongly agree that their marketing efforts are effective

      -  Solopreneurs and consultants (34%) are most likely to indicate they
         have never updated their marketing materials
    

    Survey Methodology

    These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of HP
from January 29 to February 14, 2008. For the survey, a representative
randomly selected sample of 1225 small-business owners was interviewed via the
Ipsos I-Say Online Panel. With a sample of this size, the results are
considered accurate to within +/-2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of
what they would have been had the entire adult population of Canadian
small-business owners been polled. The margin of error will be larger within
regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were
weighted to ensure that the sample's regional composition reflects that of the
actual Canadian population according to Census data.

    About yourbrandmakeover.com

    Launched by Erin Brand and Cheryl Sylvester, www.yourbrandmakeover.com is
a blog designed to help small medium businesses develop and raise their brand
confidence. yourbrandmakeover.com provides small businesses with inspiration,
tips and tools to create brands that authentically reflects who they are, what
they stand for - and where they're going.

    About Ipsos Reid

    Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader and the country's
leading provider of public opinion research. With operations in eight cities,
Ipsos Reid employs more than 300 research professionals and support staff in
Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in
Canada, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and on-line panels.
Ipsos Reid's Canadian marketing research and public affairs practices are
staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific
backgrounds, offering the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada -
including the Ipsos Trend Report, the leading source of public opinion in the
country - all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant
information. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based
market research group. To learn more, visit www.ipsos.ca

    About HP

    HP focuses on simplifying technology experiences for all of its customers
- from individual consumers to the largest businesses. With a portfolio that
spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure,
HP is among the world's largest IT companies, with revenue totaling
$107.7 billion for the four fiscal quarters ended Jan. 31, 2008. More
information about HP (NYSE:   HPQ) is available at www.hp.com.

    (C) 2008 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information
    contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties
    for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty
    statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should
    be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be
    liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.





For further information:

For further information: Editorial contacts: Mary Warner, Hill &
Knowlton for HP, (416) 413-4761, mary.warner@hillandknowlton.ca; Michelle
Mullins, Hill & Knowlton for HP, (416) 413-4656,
michelle.mullins@hillandknowlton.ca

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