Small Business Branding Secrets | 5 Tips For Turning Your Startup Into An Iconic Brand
Small Business Branding Secrets | Branding isn’t just for large corporations. The truth of the matter is that it’s just as important to brand your startup or a small business. For startups, branding happens from scratch. For existing businesses, the question of re-branding should be addressed on a regular basis. After all, a powerful brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? And why should a small business owner like you care?
Many small business owners believe that branding is simply about uploading a logo to their website and then waiting around for the phone to start ringing off the hook. A brand is much more than that – it is the sum total of the experiences your past and potential clients have while doing business with you. Your brand lives in everyday interactions with your clients, the images you publish, the messages you post on your website, the content of your marketing materials, and in your posts on social networks.
Bold Brand Promises Are Unique | Small Business Branding Secrets
Your brand promise can NOT be something that your clients automatically expect today, like “great service” or “quick delivery.” You have to think outside of the box and come up with a promise that your potential clients are not expecting. If your brand is going to be strong, you need to be able to determine what it is that makes what you do different. Are you the creative maverick in your niche? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be everything to all people.
Your Logo Matters, But Consistency Matters More | Small Business Branding Secrets
Ultimately, your loyal clients aren’t there because you have a stunning logo. They’re loyal to your great product or service. To build and maintain a powerful brand, every element of it should be as good as your product or service and you must ensure consistency when presenting your brand. This includes not only your business name, logo, overall aesthetic design, products and services, but also trickles into your marketing materials, website, content posted to social networks, appearances at trade shows and conferences… and the list goes on and on. Create templates and define brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme and logo placement to ensure consistent look and feel throughout.
Find Your Voice | Small Business Branding Secrets
What you say is important, but don’t forget the way you say it. Your company’s “voice” is the language and personality you and your employees will use to deliver your branding message and engage your clients. Many small businesses mistakenly change their messaging depending on their audience. For example, a company might take a more serious tone throughout their website but a very laid-back tone on their Facebook fan page, which will only confuse the existing and potential clients.
Be True To Your Brand | Small Business Branding Secrets
Although this may sound obvious, you’d be surprised how many small business owners ruin relationships with their clients by failing to keep their promises. Happy clients who feel good about doing business with you are your best source of referrals. They’ll never return to you, let alone refer you to someone else, if you don’t deliver on your brand promise. At the end of the day, the foundation of brand loyalty lies in great service – a happy client is a loyal client – so make sure you aren’t making promises that you can’t keep. Even a strong brand will suffer when it creates average or below average products or services.
Focus On Relationship Building | Small Business Branding Secrets
People can become your brand’s ambassadors – spreading your ideas and brand to their own networks. So, spend time nurturing relationships with your clients. People refer business to those they can vouch for, those who they know, like, admire, trust and know will go the extra mile. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money to do this. In fact, many successful brands concentrate almost exclusively in online and offline community building as opposed to traditional advertising. Build relationships that matter and surround yourself with people who you can learn and grow from.