‘Branding’ – there’s that word again…
For most small businesses and startups ‘branding’ means a logo, right?
Well, not exactly…
Branding, in its entirety, is the term used to describe your company’s visual language or story. It’s what enables you to stand out from the competition by promoting your company’s unique products, style, and service. It’s an integral part of establishing a successful business, no matter how large or small.
Good branding involves more than creating an eye-catching logo, flashy website, online content or marketing materials, and should be derived from who you are now, who you want to be and how you want your audience to perceive you.
Do you have years of experience? Are you wise and reliable? Perhaps a forward thinking maverick? Discovering your unique selling point (USP’s) is the first step in creating an effective brand strategy.
DISCOVERING YOUR VISION:
Knowing how to brand yourself can be a real stumper. It takes precious time and involves some serious self-reflection.
Consider the following:
What is your company mission?
This is the perfect opportunity to define goals, company culture, and ethics. A great mission statement helps you understand business objectives and creates a story to share with your customers.
What are the features and benefits?
Product knowledge is an essential sales skill and consumers will always respond better to enthusiastic staff who are backed by knowledge. Your product or service descriptions should be kept simple; describe features and benefits in terms that the general populous understand and appreciate. Remember the ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ consumer mentality. If you can’t tell me why I need it, why would I buy it…?
Are there any preconceived notions regarding your business?
Be aware of what others are saying about your business. Monitor your online statistics with free programs like Google Analytics and stay up to date with industry trends. Learn about your customer’s expectations of your business and rivals. Address both positive and negative feedback in a professional and authentic way – overcoming a negative customer complaint in a positive way can quite often help improve the way you are perceived in your specific industry.
Now it’s time to put these thoughts into action:
SPREAD THE WORD:
Get a stylish logo.
A logo can impact brand perception, purchase decisions and a consumer’s attitude toward a company. Your logo should set you apart from your competition and express personality. And, whilst online design companies like Fiverr and Canva make the creation of logos look (and cost) simple – there’s nothing more important than engaging a qualified designer to handle this crucial component for you, but that’s a whole other article…
Research the needs of your clients.
Before promoting your business you’ll need to know what your customers want and why. Market research will help you discover how to convince your customers that they need your services. What’s more, the correct research will help you to determine what the emotional triggers are that engage your customers to buy. People don’t buy a service – they buy a feeling.
Consider every aspect of your business; from what you wear, how you answer the phone and your social content, even your email signature. Now, more than ever consistency is key. With platforms like Pinterest and Instagram requiring strong visual content, it is important to maintain a strong brand story. Is there uniformity in your communications and branding or are you spreading mixed messages?
Find your “voice”.
Are you marketing yourself as friendly and personable? Down to earth? Formal? Make sure this “voice” is heard through your logo, across social media platforms, and in all correspondence. The language you use in all your communications is what gives your brand its personality. Writing in a dry, informative style won’t communicate your fun and bubbly personality if you’re a brand is targetted to kids, now will it?
Develop a tagline.
Write a statement that captures the essence of your brand and uses it. A tagline doesn’t have to be clever to be effective. It should be functional and explain the primary value of your business.
There’s no quicker way to lose customers than not delivering on brand expectations. Honest business practices inspire staff and customers to stay motivated and drive your company forward.
Companies aren’t alone in benefiting from solid branding. Stay tuned to read the next in our series, which explores the importance of establishing a personal brand, and how this can impact the way that you grow your business.