Brand building is an important strategy for any business, no matter how big or small it is. Yet, small business owners often lack the acumen or knowledge in how to brand their business successfully, and what strategies are open to them to achieve this. Here are some tips to get great branding on the road.
Know who you are
A strong brand lets others know what it does. Make sure you, and your staff, fully understand your own brand – who you are, what your goals and values are, what you want to achieve, etc. If you don’t fully understand yourself, then it will be hard to communicate this well to your customers.
With lots of competitors in the marketplace, your branding needs to scream out what makes you different from the rest. Let others know why you are unique and what it is that you do differently from your competitors.
Consistency of messages
Successful branding involves reinforcing strong messages, so that your customers will retain information about who you are and what you do. Make sure you are clear on what message you want to give out, and stick to the same message on all mediums of communication. Consistency is a key component to branding success.
Name and logo
An instantly recognisable brand name and logo is a sign of good branding. Whatever name or logo design you choose make sure it is recognisable, inspires trust and makes a connection to the types of goods or services you offer. Consider hiring the services of a design agency to create name or logo concepts as you start out, and always include them on every piece of communication you send.
Get your name out there
Organisations both large and small understand the importance of building networks with customers and new customers, as well as generating trust for what they offer. By building an online and offline community, you are in the driving seat to get customers on your side and love your brand. Make the most of social networking sites and start blogging.
Your business cards and letterheads look great, your customer service team know how to reinforce your brand with customers, and your products are something to be proud of. But, make sure that the internet is not letting all of your hard work down. It is easy to neglect this side of a business, but in fact it is a crucial element of branding. Make sure your website is up to date, and looks as slick as your offline communications. Use the same level of professionalism replying to email comments as you would for hand-written communications. Don’t let your guard down, either, on social networking sites, where it can be easy to adopt a more casual or informal approach.
Have a great product or service
Having a successful branding strategy is one thing, but you need to combine that with a great product or service. Don’t let your product or service slip, just because your branding is on top form. It’s not a sustainable strategy, and your customers will soon lose trust in you.
It’s easy enough to spout great marketing speak about who you are and what you offer, but make sure that whatever you say and how you say it, you can deliver and not let your customers down. Create honest branding that builds up trust.
There are many great brand names out there, and there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from them and learning from their achievements. But, never ever nick ideas off them. Don’t copy the big boys, as you will soon be seen-through. Try to always think of original ideas, or at least add a twist to tried and trusted branding messages and strategies.
Get to know who your customers are, and what they like about you. Valuable customers who like your offering can become great brand ambassadors, spreading the word to others about what you’ve got to offer. Spend time nurturing these important relationships and get to know who your brand ambassadors are.
Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Troy Thompson