When you hear the word “branding” – what do you think about?
Coca-Cola, Nike, Apple, Starbucks, or Dove? So, huge corporations whose names represent the entire product or services lines or even whose individual products represent a band on their own (ex. Dove – Unilever). Those brands have a life of their own. Hardly anyone knows the names of the executive teams or employees working to maintain the brands’ reputation and market them. People buy the products and services mostly because they trust those brands, they know them and are used to them.
What about you when you are a entrepreneur or a small business owner? How does it work, is it even worth it? Let’s see if I can answer some of these questions for you.
You are the Leader of the brand; you ARE the brand.
Branding became more critical than ever before for small business. Why? Because nowadays you’re visible on many different platforms and communicate with possibly unlimited number of potential customers through many different channels: social media, e-mails, printed materials, and of course, in person.
Therefore, whether you’re aware of it or not, especially when running solo, you define the brand in your business. On the flip side, the brand represents “you” as well, as it includes everything you do or claim to do as a business. That’s why it’s so important not only to be aware of it but also intentional and strategic about it.
Here’re 3 key benefits of building a strong brand:
- It creates a competitive advantage. Even if someone tries to copy what you do, they cannot be YOU. You are unique, which makes your brand unique;
- Branding allows you to harness the power of emotions, connect with your clients and create memories for them;
- This is how you can build customer loyalty. People get attached to brands, stories they tell, and how they make them feel. Customers recommend brands, not just individual products or services;
How do I create my brand strategy, then?
Firstly, know that your brand is your promise to your customers. It tells them what they can expect from your products or services. It’s connected to who you are that’s why it also is a differentiator from your competition.
Secondly, given the first statement, it’s important to know who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. Answering the below questions will help you start:
- What is your business mission?
- What values do you want your business to represent and be associated with?
- What are the qualities (benefits & features) of your product or services?
- What do your customers and prospects already think of your business?
- What do you want your brand promise to be?
Thirdly, think about a “voice,” a “persona” with human qualities that your brand needs to consistently portray across all the channels of communication. When you’re the brand, it means being aware of and intentional about how you communicate in various situations not only on social media, via e-mail or phone but also in person.
Next, now that you’ve developed the foundation you can build on it and dress it up with a tagline, logo, and colours. Then, of course, ensure that the branding visuals are always visible in your marketing & promotional materials, written customer communications, etc.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. – Warren Buffet
Lastly, be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you, or refer you if you don’t consistently deliver on your brand promise. Consistency is key here – that’s how the trust and reputation of any business are built. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a strong brand will fail.
All in all, working on any strategy in your business, branding included, can be hard, but it’s fun! It’s one of those important things you should schedule and do as it gives you a great return in the long run.
And if you need help with strategy building or learning & establishing a high-productivity system that will ensure you stay consistent, let’s talk, I can help! Click here and in 10 seconds you can set-up a chat with me if you’re open-minded to it.