Owners of a small business know they are light years apart in many ways when compared to a large business or multinational corporation. Budgeting is simpler for the small business, staffing is usually minimal, and the general day-to-day operation of the business is fairly straightforward.
But regardless of the size of the business, there is one challenge that all business have in common: branding. Successful small businesses recognize the importance of branding in the global economy and treat it as the crucial element of future success that it is.
To successfully brand a business requires a number of processes, actions, and strategies. The start of any successful branding of a small business is being able to define your business to yourself, your team, and your external marketing audience. Successful branding of a business plays a significant future role in lead conversion and public perception because your brand is what will identify your business now and into the future.
While manipulative branding is easily detected by viewers on the Internet, a properly defined brand with a specific strategy will positively stand apart from the competition. Improving on brand differentiation and sales techniques that will result in making your brand stand out further is well worth the time and effort spent on their development.
The following tips can get your creative brand engine revved up:
Give Your Brand Meaning
Branding requires brainstorming, with the end goal of creating a brand name that is succinct and descriptive. If it means nothing to you it will mean nothing to your target audience. To achieve the end goal you will need to do extensive research on the complete range of products and/or services your company provides.
Vital questions to ask during the early stages of selecting a brand are:
- What does your product or service belong in the industry or market you will be targeting?
- How are you identifying the rational and emotional needs of your target audience??
- How does your choice of brand connect with your existing client base and how does it differentiate it from your competitors?
Bringing Your Brand To Life
When your company brand connects with potential customers, it will be because they see your company as a reflection of themselves in some way. Ineffective brands come off as lifeless and robotic. If you can create a brand that is actually alive, whether the completion is other small businesses or a huge conglomerate, you will have a competitive advantage. A surefire way to do this is to avoid mimicking the brands of large businesses. Your small size and close-knit operation in combination with a lively brand will create a fondness from customers who cheer for the underdog. Take pride in your individuality and brand and you will see the results you hoped for.
Some ideas worth considering are:
- Demonstrating how your customer service is superior and more valued by customers than that of larger businesses
- Showcase a very elite and close knit team as evidence of how such teamwork specifically benefits the quality of the product and/or service
Both of these ideas can be implemented through a Meet The Team video presentation or visual case study
Make Honest Branding A Priority
The end goal for branding is creating a long-term source of new clients. When you over exaggerate or play loose with the facts of your business you risk trading a short-term gain for a long-term loss. Such trickery often hurts a company’s brand, leaving current and potential customer feeling manipulated. The research shows that a negative brand experience will result in a person telling 9 friends or family about the experience, causing a loss of brand reputation and in all likelihood – business. It is essential to remain honest and only makes assertions that you can prove. Making a money back guarantee available to customers will help develop a level of trust connected to your brand. Be patient in meeting your expectations when developing your brand,
Keep The Tone Of Your Voice Consistent
There are a variety of ways you can project the tone of your brand using your voice. While some prefer a more casual tone, others place a very high value on appearing and sounding professional. In most cases, it will depend on the product or service you are offering. Someone selling skateboards may want the casual tone, while a business providing public relation services much prefers a professional tone. The final decision is yours.
Whatever tone you choose, be sure to apply it consistently across all dimensions of your brand. Customers love consistency, and keeping your tone consistent and reinforcing that consistency will get current and future customers to embrace your brand. Your company will gain a reputation for being genuine and transparent, and that reputation will be connected to the products and services you are selling.
Avoid Being Overly Repetitive
One familiar example of limited repetition is the “Leggo my Eggo” campaign for Eggo frozen waffles. The product and name repetition was catchy and popular for one specific marketing campaign but would be folly to continue to use it over and over again. This would be taking their brand and making it overly repetitive.
You should be confident in your brand choice and the products or services you sell. However, the goal of the brand is to reach your target audience. Once that goal has been reached, a foundation has been laid and you can move on to work on improving your brand or something better that will improve a specific aspect of your brand in a meaningful or original way.
Discovering A Balance Between Confidence and Modesty
A small business needs to believe that their product is competitive and has the requisite quality to be competitive in the marketplace. They must be confident their product or service will meet their own and the customer’s expectations. But upon entering the business arena they begin to lose heart after seeing bigger companies outselling them, believing that even with a superior brand they will fail to catch up with the industry leaders.
The truth is that customers, especially in North America, have an affinity to wanting to see smaller businesses that do their job well succeed. For example, in the United States, there is more than 28 million small business and they account for 54 percent of the country’s total sales. The numbers don’t lie. There is more than a little bias to people preferring small businesses over larger companies. This is not a matter of size but of the perception – or reality – that smaller businesses create higher quality products regardless of the product or service. Regardless of the size of the competition, you can have confidence going into the business arena that you can successfully compete and grab a piece of the market share pie.
The best brands will be clear and cohesive, but will also have a little intrigue added for the target audience. This means having people ask one or two questions in their minds that will cause them to inquire further. This will encourage them to engage the business directly, and let the tips discussed above shine through in presenting your brand. The result is demonstrating that your company is honest, transparent, and committed to both the product or service and the customer. Knowing what your specific niche is and being able to effectively communicate it without smothering the target audience with detail will help you walk that fine line between clarity and intrigue.
Branding your small business requires you to do a number of things to define your business, its products, and services, along with other aspects of your business which includes how you will meet the needs of current and prospective customers. Use the tips above to jumpstart your small business branding process, putting it on the path of success in the present and for the future.