Do you know one of the biggest mistakes most small businesses make? It’s forgetting they are both a business and a brand. You might think branding will take care of itself, but it won’t. Branding should be an intentional, well-thought-out plan based on how you want your business to be portrayed and the personality you want your brand to have. You need to strategically brand your company because that is how your brand will be perceived now and going forward.
That’s why we have put together some brand development tips for small businesses. You can use these tips as a guideline to develop your brand along with your business.
Let’s get started.
What Is Branding?
Branding is the process of crafting a unique business identity. That identity is what will distinguish you from your competition. Your brand is what will create an immediately recognizable and memorable image in the minds of consumers.
If you are like most people, when you think of branding you automatically think of it as a company logo and the other visual aspects of your business. But that’s not all there is to it. The visual aspects of your business are important, but that is only one aspect of branding. Branding encompasses not only your company’s identity, but it’s also how people perceive your business.
Why Developing a Brand Matters
Branding will help you develop name recognition and contribute to your brand’s reputation in the industry you’re in. It will help build a layer of trust between you and your customers because it gives you the perception of being an authority. And branding is what will help you develop customer relationships that result in increased brand loyalty over time.
Building a brand starts with you being an unknown entity, which then leads to you becoming a trusted business. This will give you an advantage over your competition. Additionally, once you are a trusted brand, it will be much easier to get new customers because you are now a recognizable, and therefore, trusted business within your local community. And a trusted business will receive more traffic and word-of-mouth customers, as well as a higher level of talent and company pride.
A Little Due Diligence Before You Begin Branding
Before you begin, you will need to perform a little due diligence first. Branding should include more than just visual elements such as your company’s name, logo, and visual design. Your brand is also your business’s personality, mission, and tone of voice. Therefore, if you want to properly build your brand, you will need to start by doing some research and reflection first.
- Discover How People Perceive Your Business: You can discover the perception of your business by asking your employees, current customers, community leaders, etc. how they perceive what you do. This can be done by talking with people directly, sending out surveys, or using email or messaging to gain insight. Then you can begin crafting your brand based on how people view what you do.
- Define What Makes Your Business Unique: Answer the following questions. What makes your brand unique? How do your brand’s products and services solve customer problems? Why should customers care about your brand? What goals do you have for your brand now and going forward?
- Identify Your Ideal Customer: Take some time to identify the characteristics of your best customers. This is extremely important if you want to attract more of the same. You can do this by building customer personas. This will give you an outline of how to proceed. What positive attributes do they have? Which customers pay the most and why? What customers do you most enjoy working with? What are your most requested services and why? Now that you have this information, you can use it to craft your brand in a way that will attract similar customers.
- Evaluate Your Competition: Take some time to study and evaluate your competition. What services does your competition offer, and how could you do better? Are there any holes in what they are offering? How could you fill those holes? Where and how do they advertise, what keywords and phrases are they using, and how is their messaging being presented? Learn as much as you can about your competition then determine how your business is unique and bake that into your branding. This is what is going to make your brand stand out.
- Create Your Brand’s Vision and Values: You will need to decide what you want your brand vision to be. Your vision should line up with your business’s purpose and its values. Your brand’s vision is what will help people understand what you do and how that translates into how you can help fulfill their needs.
- Develop Your Brand’s Personality: Your brand’s personality should be based on your target audience’s wants and needs. Do you want to present your brand as a casual, “let’s be friends” personality? Or would you prefer a more professional tone? Whatever you decide, your brand’s personality should be obvious to anyone who sees your design, your content, communications, customer service, and your brand’s overall tone. Your brand’s personality should be apparent in everything you do.
- Create a Brand Story: This doesn’t necessarily have to be how your business originated. However, your brand story should show people what you are all about. What does your business believe in, what pain points do your products and services help solve, what is your mission, and what are your future goals? This shouldn’t be a sales pitch, but it should convey how your brand relates to your target audience’s wants and needs, and how it fits into that scenario.
Now, let’s move on to providing you with some brand development tips for small businesses.
Brand Development Tips for Small Business
1. Create a Visual Identity, Professional Logo, and Visual Assets
Create a visual brand identity that has purpose, and personality, and tells your story. Then create cohesive visual assets that include a professional logo, color palettes, fonts, icons, photos, graphics, and anything else you might need.
2. Your Website Must Align with Your Brand’s New Identity
Your brand messaging, personality, tone, and identity should be reflected through your website. And the visual assets you’ve chosen should match across your entire online presence.
3. Use Attention-Grabbing Messaging
Brand messaging is what conveys your value proposition and communicates those values to your audience. Additionally, your brand messaging should be based on its personality, tone, language, and core message. And lastly, your brand messaging is what helps tell the public what you do and what you have to offer.
4. Be Authentic and Consistent
You must be authentic in every aspect of your branding. If you aren’t, it will show and create distrust among consumers. In addition to being authentic, your branding needs to be consistent. All your digital assets need to have the same personality, tone, and visual aspects across mediums.
5. Create a Brand Voice and Valuable Content That Is Memorable
If you want people to read and share your content, it must be high quality, present value, and be memorable. A great way to make your content memorable is to come up with messaging that is likely to make your audience feel emotionally invested in your brand. You can do that by using humor, nostalgia, or some other tactic that makes your brand and brand’s messaging memorable.
6. Build a Social Media Presence
Building a strong media presence is extremely important. Consumers look to social media for proof that you are a legitimate, trustworthy business. They also look to social media before making buying decisions.
7. Engage Your Community
Build as many social media pages and post on as many business directories and review sites as possible (more about how to do that quickly and easily in a moment). Engaging with your community is a great way to gain loyal followers that turn into loyal customers.
8. Work on Building Your Brand’s Reputation
Everything we’ve talked about so far combined will get you well on your way to building a positive brand reputation.
- Craft your brand identity.
- Establish an online presence.
- Consistently ask for and respond to reviews.
- Study your reviews and customer feedback, then make changes as needed.
- Pay close attention to what’s working and what’s not and pivot when necessary.
- Be consistent when projecting your online image.
- Be available to and engage with the public.
You can build your brand’s reputation manually or use a platform like Surefire Local to help make the process much quicker and easier.
What Is Surefire Local?
Surefire Local is business intelligence marketing software that costs much less than using other online tools and resources and significantly less than using a digital agency for simple tasks you could easily do yourself.
Additionally, the Surefire Local marketing software takes many of your most time-consuming digital marketing tasks and enables you to handle them all from a single platform. This is much easier than logging in and out of multiple platforms to perform singular tasks.
How Surefire Local Can Help Build Your Brand
~ Can send review requests via text message and email, then post responses for you.
~ Can generate, distribute, and publish content to your blog, social media pages, and even your Google Business Profile.
~ Can share your photos and videos to all your digital assets.
~ Can maintain your brand consistency for the information found about your brand online such as your name, address, phone number, special offers, and anything else of importance.
~ Can help optimize your website which will help increase your local search rankings.
~ Can measure customer engagement making it easier for you to learn what interests your customers the most.
~ Can send targeted email campaigns that will help nurture positive customer relationships and build trust in your brand.
~ Can help determine online brand sentiment by producing a word-cloud that shows you the words customers use the most in your online reviews.
Surefire Local is one of the best online digital marketing tools available. So request your demo today and get ready to be amazed!
Hopefully you found this article about Brand Development Tips for Small Business helpful. We look forward to hearing from you!