If you are a small business, you may not see the “importance of branding". Many small businesses see branding as only important for larger companies and therefore don't even consider it.
It doesn't matter if you are a cleaner, a solicitor or run an eatery; I want to be able to convince every business owner of the importance of branding, as your brand is part of your reputation.
What is branding you may be asking? Basically, branding is looking at the impression that your business makes out there in the big wide world. To be a successful business you need to care about this, your business needs to create a positive impression at all times and showcase what you are good at. Look at your brand as what your company is promising to deliver.
Branding can be done on a budget. You need to firstly concentrate on having a great name that is memorable. Try and stay away from innuendo and something that may appear funny, but after hearing it more than twice just seems tacky and may give the impression you are not serious about your business. If you are a plumber, electrician etc. look at using your name for the business, as this personalises the business and people can put a name to who they are dealing with. Tag lines are a good way of getting people to remember you. Keep it simple and look at what is unique about your business and try and base your tag line around this.
You may be struggling to see what is unique about your business, but every business has its USP (Unique Selling Point) it can be your great customer service, quality products, maybe you sell a product that is unique to the market or your selection of products may be better than your competitors. By finding your USP you will also see where you fit into the market and in potential client’s minds.
Do your research. Learn what your customer base is looking for and what their needs are. Don't just go with your own thoughts on what they require, make sure you do market research and find out what a section of the market is looking for. Remember market research is looking for people who have already used a similar service or product. If you are a bridal shop look at doing your market research on people who have just got married and ask them what they were looking for when looking for a wedding dress i.e. was customer service important, the range of dresses or having an alteration service on site? These people will be able to give you more precise answers as they have gone through the process and purchased a dress and can tell you the pros and cons they found in your competition.
Make sure that you spend time on creating a strong logo as it will be visible on your website, stationery, business card, email signature etc. Logos shouldn’t be over complicated. Think about the Nike tick, Virgins logo is the ‘V’ on a red or white background. These are some of the most instantly recognisable logos and they are simple. It might be worthwhile getting your branding designed by a graphic designer and there are plenty of freelancers who won’t quote you the earth. Remember that everything needs to be consistent, from your logo to the fonts used on your letterheads and email signature. By employing a graphic designer they will create professional results.
It is not only your logo and stationery that are part of your branding; you and your staff are part of it too. Everyone involved in the running of the business needs to understand the brand and the promise you are making to clients. Make sure everyone wears the branded uniform, answers the phone in a certain way and uses their business email signature on all correspondence.
If part of your brand is friendly and efficient customer service make sure all your employees understand this and everyone who deals with your businesses gets the same high level of customer service. If you are a formal company make sure everyone represents this in how they present themselves to the outside world.
Once you've defined your brand, you then need to let get the message out there. Just remember to be consistent in your branding, as this is highly important in getting your message out there and always deliver on the promise that your business makes to its customers as this will help make your brand a success!
If you need advice on business branding or marketing, please feel free to get in touch for a friendly chat via our website at Spiral Orange.