Brand recognition means that potential customers recognize your business when they encounter certain aspects like your logo, visual content, and reputation. For instance, you probably recognize a Chevy or Mercedes vehicle in a parking lot simply based on the symbol attached to the front of the vehicle. You know and remember the brand because you’ve encountered that symbol connected to that brand enough times to remember the association.
Your local business is able to achieve similar brand recognition on a smaller, local scale through deliberate and consistent branding efforts. Whether your business sells legal, professional or home services, or some other kind of service, brand recognition can work for you.
Follow along with this guide to find out how to create exceptional brand recognition for your small business. Throughout, we’ll offer our favorite branding tips for small business owners that can help you develop brand recognition.
Figure Out What Your Brand is as of Today
To start with, it’s essential to understand what makes up a brand. A brand is a combination of perception, value and awareness. Ask yourself the following questions to gauge your business’s current brand, as well as how your audience recognizes it.
- Do people know of your small business by name?
- Does your small business rank highly in local search results?
- What do people think about your small business?
- Does your business have online reviews, a high star rating and positive feedback?
- Does your small business deliver on its promise to help clients?
- What value does your small business bring to the table that others in the area cannot or do not?
The answers to these questions offer a good starting point. If you’re not entirely sure of the answers, keep reading to learn more.
Elements of a Brand
How do you create a brand? What are the elements that make it up and help people recognize your business?
A brand includes these core assets:
- Business name
- Color palette
- Slogan / Tagline
- Voice / Tone
- Design style
The main assets that work for recognition are the logo, color palette and tagline. These are aspects that help the human brain recognize, remember and create perceptions.
Nonetheless, other aspects act as important parts of cohesive brand efforts as well.
Depending on your brand, some assets work better than others. You may even want to focus on ones beyond the main list to include assets like business cards, lawn signs, and service vehicles. These kinds can help your brand interact in various ways—such as sound and touch instead of just sight—and across different marketing channels.
The various assets work together to build a cohesive brand that people are able to identify and distinguish from others. Brand assets create a picture that helps people know and recognize your brand when they see it. Not only do they create a brand identity, but together they also help develop trust. It’s important for people to consistently interact with your branding for recognition and trust to develop. It can be helpful and comforting for people to have a similar experience with your brand each time, as long as it is a positive one.
To get a better idea of brand assets, think of major corporate brands. Most people know the swoosh symbol of Nike, the red and white color palette of Coca-Cola, and the “golden arches” of McDonald’s. These are branding aspects that create recognition of a brand and what it offers. You can gain ideas of well-known brands to see how it’s done well and to help you develop your own brand. You might think it’s different for a small business like yours compared to these major corporations, but the same kinds of elements apply to any brand and can work in the same way to identify your brand and affect an audience’s perception of it.
Brand Personality and Experience
Nonetheless, branding tips for small business do not just focus on a logo and certain colors. These are not the only aspects that help people remember you. The most important aspect of your brand is creating a personality around your business that compels a potential client to pick up the phone or reach out online and contact you instead of a competitor. This can be especially important when your business takes place on a small, local scale and you need to stand out from other local competitors.
All of your core assets and how well you maintain your online presence play a factor in establishing your business’s “personality.” By consistently sticking to your brand assets and business personality, you create an association in your audience’s minds. At this point, they recognize your branding when they interact with it, and thus, you have created brand recognition.
Ultimately, the business personality creates the experience your audience has with your brand. You want to develop that experience based on the type of company you have, the services you offer and your target audience. A professional services brand may want a personality and experience that is serious and trustworthy, while a home service may focus on reliability. Nonetheless, you need to make sure that your small, local business stands out against the same type of business in your area. What sets you apart, and how does your audience differ from the target audience of your competitor? Answers to this kind of question can help guide the brand you create, and thus the personality and experience you cultivate.
Build & Maintain Your Brand
A few steps lead you in the direction of building your brand and consistently maintaining it, thus impacting brand recognition.
1. Understand Your Current Brand Perception
Start by becoming aware of the way your audience currently perceives your brand. Here’s how:
- Ask your clients
- Monitor your business name for social media mentions
- Analyze your star ratings and the details people include in their reviews
It’s possible that your business doesn’t currently have much brand perception. This is something you can build, and learning the current perception—or lack thereof—shows you gaps to focus on.
Perception is something that becomes tied up with brand recognition. When someone recognizes a brand, they have a certain idea about it, which is perception. It’s important to put the effort into making this perception a positive one, rather than a negative or even neutral one.
Brand perception is important, as it impacts important things like:
- Feelings about a business
- Choosing one business over another
- Customer loyalty
- Recommending a business
People may develop their own perceptions about your business regardless of what you say, just as they do about us as individuals. Nonetheless, your business does have the power to influence brand perception to a large extent. The following steps point you in the right direction.
2. Review Your Brand and Online Presence
Also, see what kind of branding you currently have and how consistent it is across the internet.
Review the following:
- Your brand messaging: Are you conveying your value? Is your website copy clear and concise?
- Your digital footprint: Can people find you quickly and easily? Make sure you have claimed your online directory listings, Google My Business profile, social media profiles and other relevant profiles and listings.
Gaining a better idea of your brand and its presence helps you see how much brand recognition you have and how to make it grow.
3. Take Strategic Steps to Build Your Brand
Carry out activities that help you build and maintain your brand. Six activities we recommend include:
- Run a brand sentiment analysis to compare what people are saying about your small business online and how they feel about your business.
- Strive to gain more online reviews and write replies.
- Measure your total average star rating across all review platforms.
- Run email marketing campaigns that send surveys and questions to your client base.
- Organize your brand’s visual assets in a centralized location.
- Make your business easy to reach through a range of methods, including text messaging, email, social media direct messaging, and website chat.
These branding tips for small businesses create a clearer picture of your brand, your audience’s brand perception, and other aspects of brand recognition. With this data, you can create more consistency with your brand and improve your recognition.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
Using SurefireLocal’s business intelligence marketing software, your small business is able to carry out all six of the previous activities from a single platform. This makes it easy to better understand your current brand recognition and perception, so you can find gaps and areas for improvement.