The Brand Gap: Finding Mid-Market Successes

May 21, 2013 | Branding Strategies

There’s a hole in the canon of brand research and literature.

Visit Amazon or your local bookstore, and you will find lots of books on branding for small business and branding for big companies. But there’s not much available for mid-size companies.

Small businesses are well covered with advice for startups, freelancers and do-it-yourself marketing. And large, tier one companies have oodles of branding resources and case studies drawing on the successes of brands like Apple, Starbucks and Zappos.

Where are the stories of mid-market companies—companies between $5 million and $50 million in revenue—who are kicking ass and taking names? Where do these companies turn to for branding expertise and case studies tailored for them?

It’s hard to see the trees in the forest

Talking about mid-market brands is not a question of seeing the forest for the trees. It’s the reverse challenge. It’s hard to spot the remarkable stories in a very crowded market place.

It’s easy to talk about the Top 100 Brands, because they are highly visible, global companies.

The Top 100 achieve their brand equity largely out of the size and influence of their organizations. We all know Coca-Cola, IBM, Starbucks and Nike. And that shared knowledge makes them easier to analyze and talk about.

Mid-market companies don’t share the same visibility. These companies are usually regional or niche businesses, and only a select audience is aware of the great work they do.

The people who know these successful mid-market companies appreciate them and talk about them, but outside of their niche they go virtually unknown.

Brands based on service not advertising

Another challenge of engaging and talking about successful mid-market brands is they aren’t driven by advertising.

Companies don’t typically engage in broad based advertising until they cross $100 million in revenue. Smaller organizations grow their brands by purposefully serving their customers and developing sticky relationships.

Visit a niche with a highly successful business, and you will find the business has a very prominent position and reputation. The people who need to know them, know them. And not only do they know them, they enthusiastically choose them first.

A key ingredient to mid-market companies’ success is in their approach to customers. They don’t have endless marketing and advertising budgets to promote the business, so they rely on their own resources and talent. This keeps them close to their customers, and enables them to innovate and respond to their customers’ needs rapidly.

It’s time to fill the gap

I need your help. I’ve set out a research project to fill The Brand Gap. I am working to collect and showcase the stories of mid-market companies who have sticky brands.

I am interviewing business owners and executives of successful mid-market companies. Do you have suggestions of people I should interview?

The profile of companies I am interviewing are between $5 million to $50 million in revenue, and are innovating in their industries.

They can be innovating in multiple areas of their business:

  • Customer service
  • The products or services they deliver
  • Their approach to design
  • Or something else

You can spot these organizations, because they have a loyal customer base who talk about them.

Do you know of organizations that are standing out in their market, and should be featured by Sticky Branding. If so, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment on the blog, or contact me directly.

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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