If you are running a small business, you have heard of the importance of “branding” since day one. However, it is not always clear precisely what “branding means” and why it matters. In this article, you will learn what it means to brand your small business and why it is critical to do.
What is branding?
Branding yourself means establishing your “image,” which your customers can perceive. An excellent example of this is Apple. They have a brand, that while subtle, is pretty compelling. The brand and resulting ecosystem are that of creative types who like simplicity and things that “just work” while looking beautiful. The brand here is what you, the customer perceives about the company and the product. Since Apple has done so well to sell its brand image, anyone who can even remotely resonate with the aspects of that brand is more inclined to purchase those products. That is also why we see such division among Apple and Android fanatics. Android has done well to sell itself as the customizable and “geeky” alternative, a brand that encourages tinkering, customized options, and more. So, as a small business, you should create a brand that resonates with your target audience to increase engagement and feelings of similarity, which ultimately increases sales.
Mark your presence
The first and most important aspect of branding your business entails creating a “mark” that customers can associate with your company. Look at any business in the Fortune 500, and they all have “marked” themselves quite well. You first need a logo, perhaps a slogan or catchphrase, and a well-defined “theme” for your website and business materials. For instance, your social media posts and website should have the same relative theme, such as the same fonts, color-schemes, tone of writing, and more. One of my favorite examples is a cell-phone carrier run by Ryan Reynolds. The carrier sells second rate data through T-Mobile but branded as Mint Mobile. Throughout the website and emails, you can see and feel a laid back and funny tone that you would expect from Ryan Reynolds himself. This alone makes the experience uniform and more wholesome since the entire website and materials follow that format.
Pair with a personality
Along with your logo, and materials, you need to picture your average user and their characteristics. Let’s say you sell longboards in a college/beach town. Your brand should be the epitome of the average user in your target audience. At the same time, if you’re selling a service such as plumbing, then think about the characteristics of the average homeowner or renter who may be calling you. Overall, it may pay off to do some market research and find your audience’s metrics to mimic in your brand.
What makes you stand out?
Chances are, if you’re running or about to run a business, then thousands of others just like it are already in the market. So, what makes your brand and company stand out? Are you particularly lighthearted in a serious market? Is your brand somehow more reliable? Sit down with the team and brainstorm something unique for your offering. Keep in mind; your uniqueness does not need to be the next “earth-shattering” brand of revelation. Your unique aspect is probably pretty similar to others as well. Thus, your ability to stand apart is more so dictated on you already exist in that space.
You are an expert
The next step is to establish your brand and company as subject matter experts. After all, no one will call your auto insurance business if you just watched a youtube video, and now you’re in business. A great and inexpensive way to do this is through content marketing. What is that you ask? Content marketing typically means writing articles or producing videos that detail your knowledge and expertise in the subject matter. So, write some blog posts, create some decent videos, and make sure they’re clearly and easily searchable/findable on your website.