Building a Strong Brand for Your Small Business
Small business owners know that branding plays a big role in a company’s success. Many of the big-named firms we know of today like Nike or Starbucks took years of customer study and market behavior to know how they can build their brand and make it effervescent. For small businesses, they recognize the relationship between excellent branding and business success, and that to do so, they need to learn the following:
- Being more than just a logo, but about creating a positive public perception
- Being more than just the what you’re selling, but about creating a lifestyle around the product
- Being more than just a website with a unique domain name, but about creating a personality around that domain name that people can relate with
- Being more than just a company, but about creating a relationship with the public
But it is disconcerting to know that not a lot of small business owners understand why they need to build a strong brand.
Simply put, branding is your company identity; it’s what separates you from the herd. Something unique that no other company is offering. Think of this as striving to become the Rudolph of Santa’s herd of reindeers. But branding is more than just having a unique selling point. It involves your company core values, what your business is, and how it should be perceived externally. The goal is to build a relationship with your audience by first appealing to them and then showing them that your beliefs and values are the same as theirs.
However, there is a difference between appealing to an audience and pandering; and you best believe the customers can see through all the gloss and spin.
Develop Your Persona and Voice
One of the first things you need to do is creating a buyer persona. Knowing what demographic you should target is very different from understanding their consumer behavior. A buyer persona is basically a profile of the audience you are trying to reach. If your market touches on different demographics, then create profiles for each one; you can even give them names.
This will not just help you analyze their purchasing behavior and their attitude towards your product, but it will help you tailor your message to the specific audience that you are targeting — and this is where the tone of voice comes in.
Much of marketing is content. It’s how you communicate with people and how you rank on search engines. This will depend on the nature of your business. It’s going to be easy if you’re a B2C business since you can switch from casual to funny when talking to your audience, and the occasional serious message. However, if you’re a B2B business, you might want to stick to more professional, formal tones.
Be Authentic. Don’t Copy Big-Named Brands
While there are certain lessons to be learn from the experiences of well-established corporations, remember that they are not the mould. Never try to mimic their branding values, especially in an age when most consumers are looking for originality and authenticity. In fact, the trend nowadays shows that even big corporations are gunning for a more independent business vibe.
You’re already a small business, so take advantage of that. Push for more personalized interactions with your customers. Engage with them and involve them in some of the decision-making. Not only will you strengthen your relationship with them, but you will also show that you are willing to listen to them.