Branding is the process of developing a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product or service from those of competitors. This is usually achieved by creating a name and image that are memorable and unique. Branding is an important strategy for a small business as it helps to create an image that will be associated with your business. It creates a recognition value for the business, which will help to sell products. Makes sense? Now, let’s look at developing your BRAND…
What is Branding Basics for a Small Business?
As you can see, Branding is no small task. Create a brand is only part of the process; you also have to communicate it effectively.
Branding basics for a Small Business is a process.
There are several elements which are involved in creating your brand and effectively communicating your brand to your target customer audience,
* Personality – you can develop your brand personality and its the “voice” in the way you use your content and marketing pieces
* Website colours, and the format of your header, and layout
* Marketing message
* Images used in your posts and marketing material
Your brand is transmitted through every single action your business takes. In your website, it’s delivered in the content you produce, social media posts, and every time you interact with your customers.
Your business success will depend on your products’ effective marketing, or services and the brand will be vital in your achievement of this result.
Question #1 – What do the customers think of your company, and how do they express it?
Look at your social posts’ feedback or use online polls to understand what they feel about and describe your business?
They may say that your company is innovative, unpredictable or reliable?
I would suggest making a list of benefits and adjectives that you hear from your customers and prospects. Remember that your colleagues may think differently about your business than your customers’, and prospects may think differently from customers. Your brand image must be the same between all groups.
Question #2 – What do you want people to say about your business?
What should the customers think when they hear your name? The brand image that you have and the one that you wish to may be different. This is why it’s essential to understand your current reality clearly and also to identify your goals. You can then create a reliable brand and begin taking steps to change your image in your prospects and customers’ minds.
It is an excellent activity to list the words you want your customers to think positively about your company.
You can now start to support these words with your company’s features and benefits to your customers.
You’ll begin to see that you have the desired brand image. Compare your two lists. Is your brand image what you want it to be? If not, you need to start making some changes.
It’s one thing to have a brand name that people recognise. However, for real marketing power, it’s better to have a meaningful brand. So what does it mean to have an influential brand? It means that your prospects and customers can relate to it.
Your brand needs to mean something to your audience. If you can make your audience care, they’ll want to connect with you. They’ll remember you. And perhaps most importantly, they’ll want to do business with you. Many business owners ask, so how do you make your brand mean something to your audience? Well, the first step is to tell them a story.
People Remember Stories
People are attracted to ideas and stories – much more so than data and facts. Your story can be part of your company’s history. It can also be related to the benefits your organisation provides. Many small companies can discuss their influence on the local community, such as supporting a local sports team or a charity through online support.
For example, online retailer ASOS offers free shipping and free returns. This is a huge benefit, and it has become part of their story. Rather than create a story, they share stories from happy customers on social media. It’s become a large part of their Branding. Social media plays a large role in creating and communicating brands.
Most major online companies will respond to every single post about them. Their response is consistent in terms of brand voice and approach. It’s become part of their story and their brand. Remember, not everyone will value your story, and that is, and that’s okay. You’re not marketing to everyone. You’re marketing to a particular audience. Find them, connect with them, and create a story that they will find meaningful.
Meaningful stories are:
Look for opportunities to show your audience who you are and what you’re about by creating stories rather than sharing data. You’ll help build your brand and a loyal following.
When you are creating your brand you need to consider the following:-
Who do you buy from? If you’re like most people, you buy from businesses that you like and trust. You buy from people you consider to be credible experts, and you buy from companies you care about.
The same is true for your audience. Your brand is what communicates your message to your audience. It’s what tells them you’re likeable, credible, and trustworthy – it sets the foundation for a relationship. This means that creating your brand is an essential part of your marketing strategy and plan. Without a reliable brand, you may send a confusing and disjointed message. The following questions will help you create or redefine your brand.
1. What does your business do, and how do you do it better than anyone else? Write down why your business exists and why you’re different from everyone else.
2. What images and words do you want your audience to think about when they hear your name?
3. Make a list of the words and emotions that you want people to associate with your business. Add to that list the characteristics of your business. Who are you, and what are you about?
4. What are the advantages and benefits of doing business with you?
Why would your prospects want to do business with you? What do they gain? For example, do you provide exceptional customer service?
Pull It All Together
With the information you’ve compiled, narrow your ideas down to one concept that you know you can communicate effectively to your audience and place in the minds of the people you do business with.
Finally, remember that clarity and consistency are essential. Once you have a clear-cut brand definition, it’s vital to make sure that you project that brand in every marketing piece you create and share.
The only way to make sure your brand sticks and that your audience remembers who you are and what you’re about is being consistent in your messages in all the communication channels you are using.
This means that your brand must give the same simple message and experience across all the channels of communication, including e-mails and social media posts so that your customers do not experience confusing messages across the various channels.
Consistency with your brand?
* Project Make sure your logo is the same one used on the blog and social posts. The colours and images you use are consistent across all your marketing materials and help everyone immediately identify your company.
* Communicate have a consistent voice in your communications –
Your brand should have its own personality and ensure it is expressed in all your communications from e-mails social media posts. For example, if you’re amusing in writing your blog, you also need to ensure this is maintained across your social media.
* Your message should be consistent across all of your marketing and communications channels
– The tagline is part of your overall message and should reflect your companies message and brand focus. It describes what your brand stands are, and that message needs to be integrated into your content and marketing.
Consistency is about ensuring your potential, and current customers have no doubt about your company. John Lewis, the department store is recognised for value with a tagine of “never knowingly undersold “. They are about to drop this tagline. It is either a foolish mistake or realises that the online sector’s competition has changed their marketing strategy and hence their Branding.
As you build your marketing strategy and plan, it is vital that your Branding is consistent across all communication channels.
A brand comprises visuals and words and needs to express a unique, personal and consistent style to develop an essential link with your audience and how they feel towards your business.
Visuals are essential elements in human communication; we often create an impression in our minds about individuals and companies based only on visual information. Before your potential customer has read a single word, they may have already decided on your company and whether they want to do business with you. This illustrates the need for your brand’s visual elements to not only be supported with your brand definition; they also need to be strong enough to speak on their own. So what goes into a brand?
What are the visual elements to consider?
1. Website header – Your header is likely the first thing that a website visitor sees. It should start the branding process. Your header will likely contain your company name, your tagline, and an image. Your header may evoke emotion or leave visitors flat.
2. Logo – Large organisations spend large sums of money using graphic designers and psychologists to design a business logo. A small business cannot compete with this; however, you can use the free templates on Canva or use a designer from Fiverr to design a logo and header at a reasonable cost. The logo you choose should be simple, memorable, and expresses the values of your company. Keep in mind that you don’t need a logo; however, it can be a useful branding tool when it’s done right.
3. Colours – Colours evoke emotions. Ensure that the colours you choose for your website, logo, and marketing materials all reflect the feelings you want your audience to feel.
4. Font – The font you choose is essential. It needs to be easy to read. It should also convey the right image. For example, a tax accountant probably doesn’t want to use Comic Sans as their website font.
5. Photos/images – Images are essential for your business and for the blog and social posts you create. You can pick the style which complements your brand. For example, you may want to use a cartoon style for your images, or a more traditional style may support your brand. You do not need to stick to photos video can play an inexpensive and essential place in enhancing the visuals associated with your brand. It all works together, words and visuals, to help you create a consistent and cohesive brand message. As you build your website and marketing materials, make sure to keep your brand definition in mind.
Next to your business name, the essential element of your Branding is probably your tagline. Unfortunately, many organisations skip the tagline or fall short of creating one that truly describes their brand. First, let’s talk about what a tagline is, and then we’ll explore some tips to create a memorable one.
What about your Tagline? A tagline is a vital element of your brand and is a phrase or sentence that focuses on your brand message and identity. It is designed to communicate who you are and what you do in a few memorable words. A tagline is also often called a “slogan.” Here are a few examples of memorable taglines:
* HSBC Bank tagline – The World’s Local Bank
* Mars tagline – Work, Rest, Play
* Apple Computer – Think Different
Tips for Writing a Good Tagline
Writing a good tagline isn’t easy, but it is possible. In this process, you need to write down compile a list of words you want to associate with your company and want others to associate with your business. Zappos, a US fashion company, is a great example. Their mission and vision were to be a customer service centred business so the tagline “Powered by Service” represents who they are and what they do. It clearly and succinctly states the benefit of buying from Zappos. Good taglines are:* Memorable – They use power words and words that evoke emotion.
* Short – Notice that the examples all have four words or less. Your tagline should be no more than eight words.
* Separate your company from the others – Your tagline should tell what makes you different from the others.
Your tagline can also state a benefit and reflect your brand personality. It needs to be believable and original. Taglines should be appealing enough to grab your reader’s attention.
Work with colleagues and close friends to develop a list of words, phrases, and emotions and start drafting potential taglines. You might create twenty to fifty potential taglines. That’s fine.
Once you’ve drafted as many as you can think of, set them aside, come back to your list later and identify a few that resonate with you and feel powerful.
You can then start asking others for their input and advice on your potential tagline candidates. You might even test a few with your audience.
Your tagline is essential, so take your time with this step.
Our business brand has a job to do. It has many jobs that it’s responsible for. However, they can’t all be accomplished at once. In your branding and marketing strategy, you’ll want to both identify your goals and prioritise them. It would help if you decided precisely what you want to achieve with your Branding. Let’s take a look at your options.
1. Create credibility and trust – Your brand can be used to create and sustain your reputation. Keeping your brand strong helps set and maintain customer expectations. While this is a challenging metric to track and measure, setting a goal of establishing your brand as a trusted resource can help you develop your business in the long term.
2. Create an emotional connection – Brands can tell a story and connect with your audience on an emotional level. Again, this may be a difficult metric to track and measure. You can measure the degree of engagement on social media accounts as one way to evaluate Branding and emotional connection.
3. Build awareness – Your brand is more than just who you are; it’s an opportunity to increase awareness and recognition. To achieve this you will need to invest in your marketing channels, as a small business this is possible using a budget of £1-5 per day, it needs to be consistent
4. Use your brand to motivate purchases – People buy from brands they trust, like, and believe to be ethical and have credible sources of quality products or services. This can be a goal you can track by accessing the feedback and engagement on social media.
You already know that before you can market your brand, you have to define it. Your brand is defined by your unique products or services, your personality, voice, and the experience and emotions you want your customer to have when they think of you.
You now want customers to recognise your brand by merely seeing your logo and tagline. For a small business, this goal can be achieved within the local community; the online community will be much more challenging to achieve.
It’s a sublime goal to achieve because it takes several impressions for someone to begin making an association between your brand and your company. For example, you probably saw the Nike swish