A brand is a powerful image or idea that guides the way that customers see a company or organization. Brands are developed through outbound marketing, such as print advertising and promotional product campaigns, and inbound marketing, such as search engine optimization techniques. A good brand is one that communicates a positive feeling about a company and makes customers trust in that organization.
Small businesses are often at a disadvantage relative to larger companies because they don't have the same resources to help them develop a successful brand. As a result, attempts can be scatter-shot and won't always hit the notes that small business owners want them to. That's why it is important for local companies to constantly revisit their brand and attempt to understand how it can be tweaked.
An organization that has the means can poll or research consumers in their area, but the simplest way to get a better picture of how a company is being interpreted is simply to ask around. This can be done by soliciting reviews and comments on a social media site, showing promotional products and marketing materials to friends who haven't been exposed to them yet or simply by attempting to step into the shoes of customers and see what they see.