For many small businesses the owner began as a sales person, technical support or leader in their industry before venturing their own business. Most didn’t go to school to run a business, so they don’t have the background to understand all the elements of building a business that will be able to grow and thrive. Many of the small business owners we talk to understand that branding is an essential part of their business, but not surprisingly most have no idea how to build their brand or why building it is so important.
Today this article will discuss the link between successful businesses and a strong brand, and how the two coexist. You will learn the benefits of building a brand strategy and how it can drive your business.
Use Branding as a way to define your business. A brand is often associated with your organization’s identity for very good reason. It should help identify the core of your business and its values, and should convey these to your internal organization and external audience. Remember that branding within any business starts from within. Strategically building a brand in this manner will create instant connections. Overall a strong brand will lead to higher sales, better brand differentiation, brand loyalty and advocacy and will increase your share of the market.
Consider the driving force in your business. How does your brand build a long term relationship with staff and customers alike? Eliminate short-lived gimmicks and trendy topics. If everyone in your market space are doing something one way, try to steer clear. Blending into the market does nothing to establish your brand as independent. The old mantra ‘if everyone jumped off a bridge’ is accurate here. The caveat to this is where elements make sense with your core values and what resonates with your audience. Make sure to put your individual spin on it though, in order to segment you from the majority. Small businesses have a different audience that national chains, so don’t try to mimic the look and feel of bigger brands. Instead be proud to be a small business, there is plenty market segment for individuals and businesses that prefer the small business approach to service and products.
Keep it consistent. You message should always focus on a consistent tone and core. It should reinforce your values and give your customers reassurance that they are doing business with a company who puts the customer’s needs first. Don’t become obsessed that the same words are repeated endlessly, but rather that the core message remains the same. You will be delivering this message over and over again, and in order for it to remain fresh it should be changed up. The key is to make sure that the identity and tone are always similar regardless of the method of delivery.
Dare to be daring and innovative. Many small businesses are so afraid of offending people that they scare away from daring to stand for something. This doesn’t mean to stand for a political cause or controversial issue, but a small business has a large advantage over the bigger players by not having to cut through bureaucratic red tape. Use your ability to be flexible and react to the changing needs of your customers quickly. Remember that what feels right, is right, even if you are wrong. As long as you have the best of intentions, are looking out for your customer relationships, and feel as though you are doing the right thing, you customers will forgive you if you are wrong. If a mistake is made, take responsibility, make it right, and move on. People are very forgiving as long as you took a stand and stand behind the choice you made, even if you have changed it, people are likely to forgive and appreciate the attempt.
Get your brand out there. Make sure that your brand is out there, available online, on marketing brochures and items you can put into someone’s hands and they will use. Walk the floor of a trade show or convention and you will likely see it on hundreds of items, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of products you can put your mark on, but before you do, make sure it makes sense. Having a product your customers or referral sources will find useful is key. Putting your logo on something industry related and useful, not something that will be thrown away or into a drawer never to be seen again is throwing your money and time away. Spend the few extra pennies on a product that makes people want to stand in line and you have something that will bring you more business in the long run, which means a better return on your investment.
Learn more about how building your brand can be beneficial to your business by following Hunter Marketing Group on our blog or social pages.