No matter what size business you own, branding is vital to your success. Identifying who you are and placing your personal stamp on that identity is what is going to set you apart from your competitors.
But, when you’re just a small business and you don’t have massive capital outlay, what can you do to build your brand and create a brand identity?
Interestingly, through our branding we define our business to ourselves as well as our teams and external audiences. Today’s consumers are so street-smart they can very quickly pick up on whether you have just glossed over your branding or that you have taken the time to formulate a brand identity that they can identify with, making an emotional connection, and support.
When consumers connect emotively, because they share the same values and beliefs in a brand, it leads to increased sales and way better brand differentiation. It also leads to loyalty which is what you want in customers. It can also protect your price when competitors are relying on promotional discounts to drive their sales.
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1. Start by defining your brand
- Review the products and services that your business offers and identify the space in the market that it occupies
- Research the emotive and rational needs and concerns of your customers. The personality of your brand should promote your business, connect with your customers and create differentiation from your competitors for you within the market place.
2. Think of your brand as a person – bring it to life
- Create a brand belief system
- Create values for your brand – what is it that you stand for?
- Create purpose for your brand outside of its obvious usage ie. benefits to your clients
3. What is the drive behind your business?
- Seeing your business as a living breathing entity, will help establish you emotive brand positioning and will portray the identity and character of your brand in all your communications
4. Build long term relationships
- People do business with people!
- Always deliver on your brands promise
- Your brand promise creates expectations – never fail to deliver on those expectations
- Be true to your values and demonstrate those values to your clients in every interaction
5. Aim to make your key messages work together to build a coherent identity
- Be consistent in your messaging
6. Create your own unique identity
- Never try to mimic anyone else whether they are big brands or not
- Put all your effort into carving out your own unique identity
7. Be innovative, be bold, be daring
- Stand for what you believe in
- Never be afraid to take a chance on your own business
- Unless you try it, you’ll never know if you’ll succeed
9. Consider your brand at all times when communication with your customers
- Upholding your brand values and maintaining your positioning statement will ensure that you rick to your marketing strategy
10. Your logo is no longer sufficient branding
- Understand that your brand encompasses your entire business
- Placing your logo on your communications is no longer enough – follow through with your identity and your believes and values, is essential to your success
- Respect your customers intelligence