Branding is a lot more than just your visual identity, logo design or slogan. It is the emotional connection your target market feels when he thinks of your product brand. It is the sentiments provoked when he considers whether or not to purchase your brand.
You see, in today’s day and age, we are bombarded with marketing messages, sales promotions and countless product and service options across diverse industry verticals. How does each brand manager break through this communication clutter and convince us to go for his particular brand instead?
What makes his product stand out? The answer is simple. You brand your business or your product and build a relationship with your prospective customer segment. This way you are ensuring continuity of your business as you build and develop brand loyalty along with the possibility to secure future repeated sales.
A lot of small business owners are now beginning to understand the true power of branding and how to harness it to maximise their bottom lines. Ultimately, branding is the manner in which you choose to define your company, your values, you company persona, your culture and entails everything and anything to do with the business. It is the summation of experiences that your current and prospective customer has when he interacts with your brand.
So, given you are a small business and you’re just starting out, how do you build a brand for your small business? Sounds like a monumentally challenging task, doesn’t it? Especially when you consider that loosening those purse strings just may not be an option and your marketing investment is minimal.
That is what we are here for. Shall we get started?
Think about your brand story. Do a little bit of soul searching and have a think of what kind of associations do you wish your ideal customer to have when he thinks or buys your particular brand? Is there anything that you do that your industrial counterparts do not do and cannot offer? Heard of Apple and the Iphone?
It is not possible that you haven’t! If you have not, then with all due respect, where have you been the last ten or so years? Okay, coming back to the point 😊 Apple is one of the most powerful brands in the world and was created in the year 1997 after the launch of its iconic “Think Different” marketing campaign. In the modern world, Apple positions itself as being an innovative, user friendly market leader that launches the best mobile gadgets technology has to offer.
Reach out and grow your community
Did you know that some of the world’s top known brands such as Amazon, Skype, Google, Facebook, and Virgin choose to not allocate their precious marketing dollars for advertising purpose? Instead, their priority is to focus on enhancing and strengthening their brand bond with their communities. It is simple.
They understand that human beings thrive on social connections and tend to purchase on the basis of trust. If these communities trust these brands, so will other people related to them. As a small business owner, you have a unique opportunity to build a personal community from scratch and really get to know your target market.
Just log on to any social media site such as Facebook or Twitter to get the ball rolling. We recommend that you choose one or two of these social media platforms and concentrate on enhancing your social media footprint there. Remember, you are only human and cannot be present everywhere at the same time. Hey, we got you!
Release awesome products or services
Okay, here’s the catch: if you have a low-quality product but an amazing marketing campaign, sure you will draw people out to buy your product and give it a try. However, if they do not have a strong, positive experience with it, they will not bother venturing out to purchase it again. Remember, fool me once, but do not fool me twice.
What tends to happen is that when large companies become successful, they stop focusing their efforts and energy on maintaining product quality. With time, their sales will drop because their customer groups realise that there are better, higher quality alternatives available in the market and they tend to switch over then. Now, we do not want that to happen to you. Therefore, it is of eminent importance that you maintain the consistency of your product quality.
Get a strong name and logo
Hey, if you have a catchy brand name that is closely linked to the nature of your actual product, you might just achieve top of the mind recall in your industry. Remember that recognition begins with the name you choose for your company. It is going to go on your business cards, packaging, company plaques, office branding, social networks, all possible promotional communication and such. Choose the right logo also because that is how people will eventually come to recognise your brand, even if they don’t necessarily recognise your brand name. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Set your tone
Your brand voice is going to influence your positioning and mind placement in the world. See how you want to deliver the brand message and in what style of voice. Make it part of your organisational culture, live by those values and train your employees to do the same.
Maintain your brand promise
Customers who are happy and satisfied with your brand are going to be the best walking, talking advertisements for you. They will serve as brand ambassadors and an indirect sales force as they praise, appreciate and generally talk up your brand in their social circle of family and friends.
Empower your clients
You are no longer in control of your brand’s story or reputation. With the advent of social media, customers have all the power and you, as a smart brand manager, can help shape the right opinion by giving them transparency and any access to all information requested as well as supporting them in their ventures.