Finding and promoting the brand identity of your small business is not as complicated as it seems. By doing a few things, you can get the necessary knowledge needed to nail your branding efforts completely. Still, for the most part, you won’t be focused on your brand, but instead, mostly on your services or products.
These lead you to revenue and more customers. This is OK, if you are a unique business that offers particular services or products, but the chances are that you probably won’t be one of a kind, as you can find pretty much anything on the market these days. This is why you must have something that will make you stand out from the crowd and big corporations and small businesses alike do this by branding.
Many people get scared of the word “brand” and think that it’s some sort of colossal thing that is reserved for big corporations. But, the truth is that every company should make their brand known, especially today when there are a lot of tools you can use such as social media marketing. The first thing you need to do is to get a blank paper or a whiteboard and write your company’s name the beginning of the equation, and a big fat question mark at the end of it.
What is branding?
Branding is a process in which a company builds a set of positive perceptions about its business in its customer’s and potential customer’s minds. The perception of a company’s brand identity can be a decisive factor when it comes to the difference between somebody purchasing something you offer or not. When a person sees the name of your business, he or she automatically conjures memories and impressions that determine if they trust you or not.
Products and services can be good or bad, sloppy or professional, and these opinions compromise the customer’s image of your brand. These images have a great influence on the way someone thinks. Customers form images about companies in their mind. Sometimes, marketing puts them there, and sometimes they form themselves on their own. Branding is a technique of creating the right image that can help you improve business results and attract more customers.
Understand the meaning of your brand
Deciding what your brand equals or what it should equal is one of the most essential things. Simply write down all the components that describe what your business is and how you would like people to perceive it. Once you’ve listed all of the characteristics of your business, fine-tune them so that you gain absolute control over your brand to reach your customers. What’s even more important, you can reach those people that have the potential to become your customers. The characteristics of your brand should make you stand out from the competition and send out a clear message of what your business can do and what it’s capable of. They should also affect the clients in a such fashion that they are likely to buy your products or services. With these three key points, you can easily create a brand:
1. Understand how you are different from the rest and focus on your business niche;
2. Find your target audience and know it to its core;
3. Know how your services or products adress the needs of people.
Each and every small business owner thinks his organization serves the needs of a particular audience. The main issue here is whether that audience you plan on targeting is large enough to build your business around it. The same thing applies for branding as well, and if you want to build a brand, you need to have a big target audience. A brand is not a closed circle and there is always room for expanding even further, by taking appropriate actions.
Your employees are your brand’s ambassadors
The second step towards building your brand’s identity is to make sure your employees understand your brand and are true to it in all of their actions. A lot of companies have owners and managers who know what their brand stands for, but the ones who are in contact with clients do not fully grasp the intent of the brand. It’s highly essential that all employees know the brand and play by its norms, so that they can further spread awareness.
You might think that these simple things are commonly familiar to everyone, but you are wrong. Most companies don’t understand who they are and what their brand equates to, and this is why they are unable to transfer their leads into customers. The fact that your company is small is something you can use to your advantage.
Small companies have deeper connections with their customers and this is why your employees will be able to deliver your brand message to the fullest. The key is to keep all of your employees engaged, empowered and informed. You cannot simply assume that your employees fully understand what your brand is all about.
It is important to ask them questions and see how they respond, if you find out that they have misunderstood something, then you will have to explain it to them. Apart from that, this may mean that you aren’t presenting your brand accordingly and customers may misinterpret your message. This is a problem, as you cannot sit down with each customer individually and explain what you are trying to say and what your core brand values are.
After you’ve made sure that your employees have the necessary brand knowledge, train them to spread brand awareness through various portals. This doesn’t mean that you should advise them to talk about your brand, but rather represent it with a certain attitude, dress code, etc.
Exposing the brand to the public
To effectively communicate your value proposition to a wider audience, you will have to know how to live your brand philosophy as a company. Furthermore, you will have to know how to present what you stand for to others. Communicating brand identity is not just about how you describe what it stands for; it also includes techniques and methods that you use to get your message across, to the public and to all of your target customers.
To make it easier to communicate your brand, you can use descriptions, phrases or copies that hit the target. Make sure that you are precise and concise in delivering your message, so that potential customers don’t confuse your brand with something else. You can create a list that includes points you will cover when engaging your potential customers. That list should also outline the course of action for special situations, when a potential customer makes requests or asks questions and needs to be given an appropriate answer.
You should structure all of your statements related to the brand in such a fashion that so the brand is always mentioned in the beginning and at the end, to use the first and last impression to emphasize your brand message. You don’t need stuff it, flying in randomly or improvising on the spot. Lead you audience to the finish line in engage them to support your brand.
Make your target audience soak up your brand message
Once you’ve made your brand distinctive and you explained to your potential customers how you are different from the rest, you’ve hit the spot. Still, there might be some difficulties with controlling the message you are sending, as people may interpret it differently. Luckily, if you use appropriate techniques to make the message coincide with your brand values, you will reduce the number of wrong interpretations to a minimum.
One of the simplest ways of achieving this is to implement a systematic questionnaire or a brand filter that ensures all of the associations and communications you create stick to the concept of your brand’s identity. These “filters” must include questions that will empower you to find out whether your brand is properly represented.
By communicating a proper brand message to your whole audience and making your brand easy to understand, not only will you make your employees ambassadors, but your customers as well. When people favor your brand, they will relate to it and spread the message on their own. A great way of spreading brand awareness is by word of mouth.
If people recommend you in real life and spread words of praise online, others will get the feeling that you are a trustworthy brand. This will open the possibility of them doing business with you, hiring your services or buying products from you. This is why it is important to start your branding campaign properly so that you get positive reactions straight away.
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