Branding Your Small Business
The power of good branding shouldn’t be underestimated.
In a country where 2–3 tech start ups are born every single day, there’s too much being thrown at consumers for them to make keenly researched decisions at every turn. That’s where brands come in — cultivate a bond between your audience and your product and you’ll find your loyal base turning to you every time they need to act fast — which happens a lot.
So many small businesses think that branding should be left to the Googles and the Nikes of the world, but the truth is that every single business can benefit from the kind of recognition and the rewards that a strong brand reaps.
Here are six things you can start doing immediately to cultivate your brand with a limited budget, along with their immediate benefits.
If, of course, you find yourself needing more personalised help, don’t hesitate to shoot us a message!
Have a strongly defined identity
Your company is so much more than what you sell, especially in the age of social media and digital advertising. It needs to have a voice that people resonate with and a mission that is relatable and easily definable.
With the help of 99designs.com, we’ve come up with a few questions that should get you on track to figuring out what exactly your brand even IS:
- What three words would you use to describe your company?
- What do you want to be known for?
- What are your core values?
- What’s your ultimate mission?
- What’s the best case scenario for a five year period? Ten year?
2. Know your audience and their preferences
According to the BBN times, a trait that all strong brands have in common is that “their marketing is based on the emotions that are critical to their audience.”
What this means is you need to
- be keenly aware of your current audience as well as the kind of consumers you want to attract in the long run and
- know what’s important to them
What you gather from (b) should then be reflected through your company’s core values. There are dozens of ways you can make it happen, even if the product itself doesn’t exactly scream it. Your social media presence can help enforce this to an extent, with your advertising campaigns giving it an additional push.
3. Partner with those who are ahead
Establishing yourself in business terms is much like cementing your reputation in real life.
The company you keep determines how you are perceived more often than not, so partnering up with businesses who are a few steps ahead, who have a brand sense in place already, will go a long way in getting you the kind of recognition you want for your company.
4. Podcasts, blogs, guest pieces… Try everything that’ll get your message “out there”
Pretty self explanatory, this one.
Even if you can’t see what the immediate benefits of a constant stream of content could be, give it a go for a few months and you’ll probably agree with us by the end of it. The point of all this is to give you some visibility, something that’s getting increasingly hard to capture, as well as develop a steady base of loyal clients who are interested in your company beyond just what you sell.
5. Find out what makes you stand out — and then advertise the hell out of it
As you probably already know, there’s no such thing as a “unique” company. Regardless of what you specialise in, odds are there’s a whole industry full of almost identical businesses operating alongside you — key word being ALMOST.
Your job is to figure out what difference (however tiny) sets you apart from the crowd and then make sure the rest of the world hears about it, too.
In some ways, this is the whole point of branding. Finding that little distinguishing factor that makes your clients choose you over and over again. Its the KFC secret herbs, the Apple design, the Tidal exclusivity. Find yours and build your brand around it.
6. Get Visual!
What’s so iconic about the Nike tick mark is that it’s instantly recognisable while simultaneously being one of the most common symbols around.
Find temples, themes, that are specific to you while also easily accessibly and representative of your overall brand.
This is much harder said than done, but taking your time to get it just right will prove to be a smart move in the long run. Be it your website, packaging or even just emails sent from your company ID, make sure it all ties up to the overall aesthetic you’re going for.