When you own and run a small business, having the right brand and branding is hugely important. This gives your business an identity, and helps to make it stand out from the many other businesses who might be selling a similar product or service. A brand that is instantly recognisable and trusted is priceless.
Building a brand doesn’t have to be an expensive project, although it can take some time to get right and be noticed. If you do it the right way, however, this will be time well spent. Here are some ways to build a brand and build your business off the back of it.
Define The Brand
Before you can create a brand you need to be able to define it. That means knowing exactly what your business has to offer and making sure your brand revolves around that, and the values that you bring to the company.
To do this, you should find where you sit in the marketplace and then use that information to work out who your target market really is. This way you can promote your business in the right way to the right people, saving you money on your marketing budget.
Give Your Brand A Character
Giving your brand a character is a good way to help keep it in people’s minds. You don’t have to literally create a character – although this has worked well for McDonald’s and various breakfast cereals, for example – but you do need to give your brand certain characteristics to enable it to function in the way you want it to.
This means you need to have an understanding of what your brand stands for, and what it means to you and to your customers. Once you know this, you must always keep it in mind so that you can work to these principles. Any deviation from your brand’s core characteristics will confuse your customers and could be detrimental to your reputation.
Everything Should Match
Having a brand is wonderful for marketing purposes, and it will help to build up trust within your business. However, having a confusing brand that people can’t understand will do the opposite; it will make you look like an amateur who doesn’t understand their own business, and this will put people off buying from you.
When you create a brand, you are creating something that can be used in all areas of your business. You need to have a website that has the same branding as your uniforms, and the same branding as your vehicles. Private number plates should all be similar too, as does your paperwork. This way your brand is immediately recognisable and not confusing for anyone trying to find you online, for example.
Have A Style Guide
Even if you are the only one working in your business, a written style guide can be useful. You might have come up with your branding many months before having to use it again and you can easily forget which font you used, and the size of the type as well, for example.
If you have more than one person working in your business then it is even more important. Every piece of output needs to be consistent with the brand, and it’s not just about the look of something (although this is important). You also need to consider the tone of what is being created, and even the spellings of certain words. Everything needs to be the same and be consistent and having a written set of rules regarding the style of your branding will mean everyone can create something that works perfectly.
Listen To Feedback
Just because you like something and think it makes for a great logo or tagline, that doesn’t mean your customers will, and since they are the most important element of your business it is wise to listen to them and their feedback.
Sometimes you can be too close to your business to really understand why a particular part of your branding (or the entire thing) isn’t working for you. Ask your customers what it is that might be putting them off, and then seek to change it. Although this might initially be a time consuming and costly exercise, if it is going to bring in more customers in the long term then it will certainly be worth doing.
Use Your Brand
Creating a brand is one thing, but then you must use it in everything you do. This can be hard to get started with since it could be an entirely new concept, but if you make a conscious effort to include it in everything you do, people will notice it much sooner.