How to brand your small business
Whether you are a sole trader, a small business, or a growing enterprise, branding yourself is essential.
Leading global media and marketing group Nielsen tells us that:
“A brand name can be one of the most valuable assets a company possesses. It can lend credibility to product efficacy and provide an assurance of quality, letting consumers know what they can expect when they buy a product. But because brand building can be costly and time-consuming, it can be extremely advantageous for established brands to lend their name to a new item in the same category through line extensions. In fact, line extensions are approximately three to four times more common than “new manufacturer” and “new brand” launches combined.”
With this in mind, we’re going to distil what it takes to turn a business/business idea into a brand that can work for you in the long term.
What is your brand?
The Core Elements
First and foremost, you need to accurately define what it is you are selling. You can start with the tangible aspect of it (e.g. fresh food) and build upon it by thinking big picture (e.g. freshness, nutrition, value). Add to this any other distinct elements such as your location and history, and you will have a solid foundation of what your brand is and could be.
Unique Selling Proposition
“The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition .” Entreprenuer.com
Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what helps you stand out from the crowd. It might be something such as:
- Product feature
- Product range
- Service approach
Start with the one point that truly stands out, and build a few other key benefits around it to form a selling proposition that can underpin all of your marketing activities.
What do those who work with you think? From suppliers and banks through to employees and investors, consider what those who are tied to you professionally think of your business. This will inform you of what you stand for in the eyes of those who involved in your day to day business activities.
Whether it is done face-to-face, via email marketing, social media or a take-home questionnaire, it is important to know what it is your regular customers think. What is it that drove them to choose you over the competition from the outset? What draws them in for repeat business?
What do Google and your social networks say about you? Look at how the bigger (and smarter) brands out there manage their image online and see how you can apply the same logic.
It is important to establish goals for what you hope to achieve with a defined brand identity. These goals could cover areas such as:
Cementing your niche and name in your industry; armed with a well-defined brand identity you could actively differentiate yourself from competition who you may have an abundance of parity with.
Having researched what your position is in the social sphere and with your regular customers, you can now plan for what and how you wish to change public perception of your business/brand.
Now You Can Create Your Small Business Brand
While the creation of thorough brand guidelines might take months, if not years, there are some elements you can pin down sooner.
Look at the words used within your industry and specific category, and what words your customers use – with this you can start to define your personal brand language. This should be reflective of what you are aiming to project and what your customers want to hear. Huffington Post reported that,
“As we grow towards a competitive future filled with infinite brands and choices, creating a unique voice and tone is imperative. Shakespeare was a master of language and invented over 1,700 words and phrases, including words like eyeball, silliness, and uncomfortable. “Love is blind,” “all’s well that ends well,” and “dead as a doornail” are phrases he coined that are still used today.”
Aside from language, you need to consider all the visual elements of your brand. Think of whether you want photos or illustrations, full colour or black and white, and which colour you want to represent your brand everywhere possible. A consistent visual ‘language’ will give added credence to your words and help cement your name in the minds of customers and competitors alike.
Still have questions? TAFE Queensland is here to provide you with skills and solutions designed for businesses, big and small. Our mentors and workshops can aid you in redefining your business idea and with developing a clear marketing plan.
Talk to us today about how we can help you grow your business.