The truth is, branding is hard. But a small business can go further than ever before with a well-thought-out branding strategy. In the end, branding your business is a profitable marketing practice that will help you get noticed, build a broader customer base, and ultimately generate sales.
This article will teach you why branding is vital and some practical steps you can take to start branding your small business.
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty, shall we?
What is Branding?
Branding is a marketing strategy where a business uses distinguishing aspects to identify their products or services as their own.
But hold on, there’s more. Branding encompasses more than just the visuals that distinguish a company; it is also about the voice, the values, beliefs, and the culture that a business communicates to its audience.
Why is Branding Your Small Business Important?
1. Branding will make you stand out.
Branding will help your small business get noticed and differentiate you from the competition. If you do an excellent job with branding, customers will naturally choose you over your competition.
2. Branding creates a sense of trust between a buyer and a business.
Having a brand increases trust from your potential buyers. Do you think a customer will buy if they visit your social media page and see random pictures of products, with captions asking them to make a purchase?
Anyone can, after all, take random product photos, post them on social media, and ask people to buy them. What makes you different? That’s where the magic of branding comes into play!
When someone comes to your page and is graced by a theme, a vibe, an emotion, or some phrases that they resonate with, they are naturally inclined to make the purchase! Even if the purchase does not happen right away, you will have gained a potential customer.
3. Branding breeds a loyal customer base.
Having a brand tends to yield emotional attachment from your customers.
People form relationships with the brands that sell the products, not with the products themselves.
Emotional bonds are what keep customers coming back.
4. Branding adds value to your business.
Branding will boost the value of your business. With a brand, a slew of lucrative collaborations will begin to emerge.
Furthermore, if your audience perceives your brand in a positive light, your business’s reputation will improve, and all of this will lead to one thing: sales.
How to Brand Your Business
With the basics of branding out of the way, let’s squeeze the juicy part.
1. Start with a Clear Mission.
Successful branding starts with a clear picture of what your business will offer.
At this point, you should identify what the value of your business is, what it is trying to solve, and why people need it.
Remember, entrepreneurship is the exchange of value for profit. If you can’t figure out what the sole value of your business is, go back to the drawing board and reconsider.
2. What Makes you Unique?
A brand can not be a clone of another company!
As a brand, you should have your own distinct identity that is recognized by your customers and competitors. At this branding stage, you should identify what sets you apart from the rest of the pack.
Conduct extensive research and uncover at least a single-point difference that will separate you from the rest of the competitors.
3. Know your Target Audience.
Audience research is a significant part of any successful brand.
Knowing your customers will set your brand up for success. Identify their key characteristics: their needs, likes, dislikes, pain points, and demographics.
You see, learning as much as you can about your target audience will enable you to develop an ideal that will appeal to them, and as a result, create a loyal customer base.
One mistake a lot of budding entrepreneurs make is trying to sell to everyone; this labels you as a generalist. A brand should be recognized by a specific audience with similar needs, interests, and pain points. So concentrate on a single niche and create a persona that represents a person in that niche.
Finally, align your business to cater to that specific persona.
4. Know Your Competitors.
In the same vein as knowing your customers, taking the time to research and understand your competition will make your brand a success. Competitors are an inevitable part of any business and must not be overlooked. It is essential to know who they are to better understand the market you are in.
To outperform your competitors, first, identify their weaknesses and strengths, and then use their weaknesses as a benchmark to improve your services and products.
5. Get Visual
After you’ve completed all of the fundamentals of branding, the next step is to give your brand a look. Give it a face! This is the point at which the visual elements come into play. Decide on the design of your logo,colors that will represent your brand, fonts that will be used in your text, the design of your business cards, and so on.
One thing you must not overlook is consistency across all your designs; you don’t want to risk confusing your customers.
Additionally, your designs should be unique and should evoke a sense of identity whenever your audience sees them.
Don’t shy from asking for help; you can take the time to employ a creative consultant or enlist the assistance of some friends.
Let people know that you exist!
With a vast array of active users and way too much engagement, social media is the go-to place to let people know about your brand.
Choose the right platform that you feel will work best for you, make some noise, and get noticed!
Also, a website is a necessity! Having a website proves the seriousness and commitment of your brand, as well as gives you another outlet to let people know about what you do.
7. Integrate the Brand into Your Business.
Put the brand to work! Communicate the vibe of your brand to anyone that comes across it.
This can be done through your team’s apparel, product packaging, your motto, delivery notes, and so on, depending on the kind of your business. The list is truly endless. Find ways to promote your brand whenever possible and show up whenever needed.
8. Make it Better.
Building a brand is a never-ending process. At this stage, your brand is up and running, and you should be looking for ways to improve it.
Improvements can be inspired by feedback from your audience or your team. Additionally, an in-depth look at your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses can also help you improve your brand.
Be careful not to mess up what is already good, though!
While you may deem branding as a thing for the large, well-established companies of the world, branding is just as essential for you as a small business owner.
Branding is what establishes a bond between you and your customers. It is how your target customers identify you and distinguish you from the crowd.
Finally, do you own a small business? Are you a budding entrepreneur? Tell me about some branding strategies you have been using to get noticed in the comment section below.