What is branding a business? All businesses need to have a brand, and a strong one at that. Even small businesses should focus on their branding. Branding is giving consumers a way to identify your business. It is what makes your customers able to recognize your business. A strong brand is more than just a logo; it’s everything from your customer service style, staff uniforms, business cards and even your marketing materials/advertising. You should have a strategy when it comes to your business’ brand. Entrepreneur.com gave some great advice on business branding, when they said, “Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command.”
So how can you brand your small business? And what exactly should your brand look like?
Define Your Brand
Defining your brand means you have determined what your business’ goals are, and what you want your business to look like to consumers. Your brand could be known as any number of things, like: professional, charming, funny, etc. Once you have decided on HOW you would like to brand your business, you can start focusing on moving forward. The way you define your brand should rely heavily on what industry you are in, and what your business does. For example, a doctor’s office would want to be known as clean and professional, while a bookstore would want to be known as charming and welcoming. Think about what your business stands for, and brainstorm with your employees in order to determine your business’ brand.
Miles Anthony Smith posted a valuable article explaining the reasons and ways behind building a strong personal brand. The article tells us, “A strong personal brand is so much more than a memorable name or product. It’s an extension of yourself that lingers even long after that person has left your website, book, show, or other piece of content.” You can read the full article here.
Streamline Your Online Presence
That’s right! If we haven’t already told you that online presence is a big deal, we are now. Here’s a hint: EVERYONE is online, and that is where they go to find businesses to work with. Streamlining your online presence means you have profiles on several platforms, including: Google, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Not only that, but this means that your branding is the same across the board. Your logo, photos and information should tell the same story across each of your online profiles and listings. Why? Because you want to be easily recognizable to past, present and future customers. This builds trust with your customers, as well as strengthening your online presence.
Have a Strong “Voice” for Your Brand
The perfect example of this is Wendy’s Twitter account. They’ve created a voice for themselves online that is easily recognizable because it is strong and consistent. They have chosen to take the humorous route and write posts that are witty and catch people’s attention because they’re funny. Having a strong voice for your brand means that all of your online accounts, and in person communications are consistent. Your voice should be friendly and professional, of course, but it’s not a bad idea to add in some wit or humor. Whatever you choose to do, be sure your brand’s voice is relatable, friendly, consistent and strong.
Once you have defined a brand for your small business, and you’ve gone through the steps of making sure your brand is obvious and streamlined, stay consistent. Consistency is so important, because once your brand is established, your customers will become confused if things change. Be sure your customers can recognize you online, in person and over the phone through your brand!\
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!