Every small business owner will find their business reaching a period of plateaued growth after the initial growth spurt. One of the key reasons this might happen is a disparity between how you and your customers/clients perceive your business. When just starting a company, word-of-mouth and promotional marketing power its initial growth period. However, only maintaining that status quo is not enough to sustain the business’ growth.
If you want to succeed in your small business ventures, you need to make your company unique in the market and set it apart from your competitors. You can achieve this by successful branding.
What is a Brand?
The term “brand” refers to the result that a customer inherently ascribes to a company or a business. To your customers, it symbolizes your company’s promise and commitment. While to your employees, it encompasses your company’s vision and mission statement. Your brand identity is what sets your company and its products/services apart from your competitors.
The act of branding refers to the various marketing and business strategies that can improve your company’s brand value and brand recognition. It is one of the best ways for you to propel the growth of your small business.
Tips for Building Your Brand
If you find yourself lost on how to pen a good branding strategy, here are some tips to get you started:
A company logo comprises unique pieces of text and imagery that can immediately associate with your brand. Here are some points to keep in mind when designing your business logo:
- It should reflect your brand identity.
- It should be consistent in its design. For example, if you have chosen a retro theme for your logo, it should not contain any elements out of place with that theme.
While the logo reflects your brand, the tagline is a statement of your company’s purpose and goal. A good one-liner can go a long way towards building brand awareness. It should be:
- Concise but catchy,
- Clear in its messaging,
- Intelligible in its wording, and
- Relevant to your brand.
- Brand Voice
Brand voice refers to your company’s personality during communication, either with its employees or with customers. A consistent brand voice improves customer loyalty, brand recognition and ensures that your business values are always represented accurately across all platforms.
- New Website
In today’s cut-throat competitive market, having a business website has become a necessity. Your website and all its contents should always remain on-brand. The site should feature your logo, tagline, and a customer service feature that adheres to your brand voice. Developing a website that does not remain on-brand will hurt customer loyalty and can be extremely detrimental to your marketing campaign.
- Social Media
The surge in social media usage due to the pandemic has made it a powerful resource to incorporate into your branding strategy. As a small business, here are some things to keep in mind while testing the waters of social media branding:
- Establish the Basics of Your Brand – Any social media account you hold should prominently feature your brand basics, from logo to your tagline.
- Engage with Your Audience –The fundamental goal of social media branding is to increase brand awareness. So, make sure that you engage with your audience using a consistent brand voice.
- Create a Social Media Calendar – Posting randomly and at unusual times is a surefire way to lose followers. Best practice is to create a calendar of what to post and when. There are plenty of tools available that push your posts live on a predetermined schedule. Be sure to keep consistent with your calendar and avoid dropping off.
- Step Out of Your Comfort Zone – Don’t be afraid to try new things. For example, Instagram’s Reels feature is a great place to boost your following. The platform always favors those taking advantage of the latest app updates, so by creating Reels and hashtagging, you may see your views skyrocket.
- Promotional Products
One of the many fundamental marketing principles is to ensure maximal visibility of your brand in your target audience. The more people see your brand, the more recognition it generates. Promotional merchandise like branded clothing, personalized drinkware, and custom writing pens can be beneficial resources to boost your brand visibility and awareness to the next level, especially since 81 percent of people tend to own these products for over a year.
Uniforms work much the same way as promotional merchandise. A uniform is nothing but a reflection of your brand identity on apparel. Every employee who puts on that uniform becomes a brand ambassador. It’s a great and very efficient way to market your business and, at the same time, create a team atmosphere and unity amongst your employees.
Brand experience is the total of what potential and existing customer experiences before, during, and after interacting with your business. The idea is to create an experience for your customer that is memorable, unique, and instantly relatable to your brand identity. The following four things primarily govern it:
- Brand voice
- Brand image
- Customer support
- User experience
A bad customer experience at any of the segments above will negatively impact their minds. Even if all the four elements work correctly, it will still take consistency and ubiquity for your brand experience to truly take hold.
Branding Precedes Marketing
One of the critical mistakes new small business owners make is to focus and invest heavily in marketing even before their brand has had a chance to gain enough recognition. This practice is unfruitful since the marketing campaign has nothing unique to offer the consumer base. Thus, branding builds the foundation of the brand that a marketing campaign can promote.