The short answer is yes: brand is particularly relevant for businesses that don’t advertise.
Since advertising is a very expensive tactic, most businesses wisely don’t use this. And often times brand is conflated with traditional advertising which leaves some businesses thinking, maybe since I don’t advertise brand isn’t relevant for me.
But in reality, an intentional brand strategy can make advertising less necessary to begin with. So businesses that don’t advertise have a particular interest in embracing brand strategy.
That’s because brand enables you to gain attention without overt advertising. Brand makes it easy for your customers, and for the media, and for influencers to talk about you and embrace you.
For example, brand can help you to gain earned media through PR outreach, which is typically free or inexpensive. The reason is that successful PR requires a compelling story, a compelling brand idea.
Glossier, the beauty brand, until recently, did no advertising. And yet Glossier built a billion-dollar brand by precisely and deliberately defining what it is that they stand for as a business. Without a defined brand, Glossier would have been waving in the wind, but because they did define their brand, they became magnetic.
Remember — a brand strategy enables you to gain the attention of your audience naturally and sustainably rather than have to buy their attention involuntarily. The less advertising you are doing, the more important it is that you are deliberate and sharp in what you stand for.