Branding is one of the most crucial marketing efforts of your business. As a small business, your branding is vital to reaching your target audience and to find success. Designing and executing a distinct business brand will help you establish your company as trustworthy, reliable, and one-of-a-kind. It will also help customers set their expectations and define the purpose of your business, helping you stand out from the competition.
Creating a brand is more than designing a logo and calling it a day. Your brand is the package of your business’s personality and how you communicate it to the world. While you may be occupied in running the day-to-day operations of your business, don’t fret—it’s never too late to work on your branding.
The Goals of Your Branding
There are lots of perceptions about what exactly makes up a brand. What comes to mind is usually the logo, website, social media copy, and even colours and typeface used throughout your marketing. However, these are things that communicate your brand; what constitutes your brand are the emotions, thoughts, and ideas that people link to your business.
Your brand must tell a story that resonates with your target audience. To quote Seth Godin, an entrepreneur, a brand combines a customer’s expectations, memories, and relationships and uses this to convince them into making a purchase. For your brand value to exist, your customer must either pay a premium, buy from you, or talk about your company with other people.
Creating Your Brand
Creating a unique brand is one of the most effective ways to set yourself apart from your competitors. Even if you and a competitor offer the same services or products, your branding is what swings a customer in your favour. By providing customers with excellent service each time they engage with you, you’ll create a positive experience for them, which will encourage them to keep coming back to you for their needs.
Your brand can be found in its visual identities, such as your website, colour palette and logo. It’s also found in the tone of your blog posts, messaging, and content on your website. Many customers look into what your business values, and the types of causes you support shows this. Finally, your brand is found in your company personality, which is the amalgamation of your workplace culture and your customer service approach.
Here’s how you can get started on your branding:
Look Into Customer Perception
First, determine who your target audience is and what they think of you. Without a brand, your customers may not know precisely what your business offers or values. By discovering their opinions about your customers, you can take the positives and reshape your business to eliminate the negatives.
Tailor your branding according to your audience. If you primarily cater to millennial women, then you’re very likely to use a completely different marketing strategy than a company that targets baby boomers. Younger audiences tend to prefer more casual copy, and older audiences are more inclined towards formal tones. Using these insights can help realign your customer perception into a more favourable one.
Tell Your Origin Story
Another way to build your brand is to tell your business’s origin story. This helps set customer’s expectations, especially if your business was birthed from a common pain point you sought to address. Using this to connect to your customers is a great way to create rapport with them because they’ll feel like you started your business specifically to solve their particular need.
You can seek more insight into your business’s story by asking your customers about the solutions you’ve provided them and how they improved their lives. Not only will this give you valuable information to enhance your service delivery, but this can serve as the foundation of your customer service philosophy.
Determine What Makes You Unique
Next, to create a stable and robust brand, you have to focus on what makes your small business unique. If everything about your business is similar to your competitors, then your customers don’t have a reason to engage with you over another company.
Check out the competition and make notes of how they do business. Look at the way they interact with their customers and how efficiently they deliver their services. If you’ve noticed a habit in your competitors that have quickly become a pain point for customers, like lengthy turnaround times, then that can be your competitive edge.
You can also make your business unique simply by providing an authentic yet distinctive voice. Companies that use fun, witty, and vibrant marketing strategies stand out, as they show the quirky personality of the company without compromising professionalism. Don’t be afraid to take a few risks with your branding—this can easily give you the star power you need to get ahead of your competitors.
Implementing Your Brand
Now that you have a rough idea of your brand, it’s time to implement it. You have a clearer picture of what your small business offers and can now communicate it through your branding. After writing up your brand positioning statement, which mentions the products or services you offer, it’s time to package it in a visually arresting way.
Figuring Out The Aesthetics
Knowing your target audience means knowing what they like. Creating an effective brand means finding the most effective ways to showcase your values, personality, and services, and a particular combination of visual elements can help with that. Whether your brand needs a complete graphic design overhaul or just a few tweaks, ensure that it’s consistently deployed throughout your website, social media, and other materials.
It may be tempting to cut corners and tweak your brand assets yourself, but you’ll want the professional help of a graphic designer. They understand essential design components, like colour theory, that help your brand create a cohesive visual story and genuinely resonate with your audience.
Applying It Everywhere
Once you have all your branding assets, it’s time to implement it. Update all your social media accounts with the new colour schemes, messaging, and logos. If you have a small brick-and-mortar location or a stall in a bazaar, use your new assets and collaterals to help you stand out.
Your new brand doesn’t apply just online—make sure you reflect this in your business cards, brochures, and every print material you have as well. Not only does this make you more modern and professional, but it also helps build your credibility when your new branding is uniformly implemented.
You might even want to announce your new branding efforts. If you’ve sought help from your customers, especially when making changes, be sure to thank them or offer a customer appreciation token. Your customers will feel valued, which will give you an edge over your competitors.
The Bottom Line
All businesses benefit from branding. As a small business, you need to put in a little more work to get new customers and thrive, which branding can effectively achieve. By keeping these branding basics in mind, you’ll be transforming your small business into a branding juggernaut in no time.
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