If you think that branding is just something for big businesses with big budgets, think again. Branding is just as important for small businesses, maybe even more so. If you don’t have the budget to hire a big branding agency (and not many small businesses do) here are 8 simple steps you can take to keep your brand in check.
- Remember – It’s not all about your logo
Your logo is important, but branding is about far more than just that. Your logo is a badge that will represent you to the world, it’ll help distinguish your business from your competitors and it may even help customers to understand what you do. But it’s just one small part of a much bigger picture and even the best logo won’t build a successful brand on its own.
- Know what you stand for
What values and ideals are at the core of your business? What motivated you to start and what keeps you going? If you’re unsure of where you’re going and why your customers will be even less sure. Keep a list of at least three core values and make sure that any new products, services and marketing campaigns are true to them.
- Know what value your business provides
Whatever type of business you run, one thing is guaranteed your customers are not interested in just buying your products or your services. What they’re interested in is results. It’s the real life benefits that your products can offer them that will really get them engaged. A lot of businesses make the mistake of focusing on the features of their products and wonder why they’re not getting results. By taking a step back and communicating the benefits they offer you can give customers a really compelling reason to part with their money.
- Get inside your customers heads
Knowing your customers inside out is crucial. Forget about your taste and your preferences and focus on the people you’re trying to serve. Who are they? What are they looking for? What gets them excited? Keep your focus very narrow to start with; just think about your ideal customer.
Keep this profile in mind whenever you’re planning a new piece of marketing and build it just for them. This will really help to keep your message focused and effective.
- Keep a close eye on the competition
Identify your closest competitors and make sure you check up on them regularly. Who are they targeting? How are they doing it? What messages are they putting out? Where are they falling short? By doing this you can stay ahead of the game and fill gaps that they’re leaving. Remember, they’re probably watching your every move too.
- Find something unique to offer
Every business has something unique to offer, but many don’t take the time to identify it and use it to their advantage. Strong brands clearly stand out even in a crowded market. You might sell the same products as everyone else but that doesn’t mean you have to offer exactly the same service. If you’re struggling to find something that makes you stand out, go back to your customers, think about what they need and where your competitors might be falling short.
- Be consistent
Whatever direction you choose to take your brand in, make sure you’re consistent about it. That means keeping an eye on every tiny detail from how your logo looks, to the colours and fonts you use right through to your website and the kind of language you use when you talk to your customers. All this will build up to give the impression of professional, credible and trustworthy business.
- Keep it simple
We all lead busy lives and few people have the time to unravel complex messages. Simple, well thought out communication is more likely to get through and be remembered. This applies to your logo, your marketing material, your customer communications – even your business processes.