Small Business Branding
The right brand strategy can attract customers and help establish your business’s reputation. Presenting a clear and consistent message about your brand allows people to better understand what your company does and how it differs from the competition.Tweet This
Unfortunately, the concept of branding is an enigma to most small business owners and even to some larger companies. Trust us: it’s an important step, but not an impossible one!
Creating a Brand Identity for Your Business
Brand identity involves everything from text colors and fonts to your tagline and logo. It’s the sum of everything you put out into the marketplace, so crafting your brand identity deserves careful thought. Here are several components that go into creating or retooling a brand identity.
Write a Mission Statement
A typical mission statement consists of a few sentences that summarize what your business stands for and what you provide to customers. It’s no place to oversell yourself by stating your company is “the best in the business” or “beats the competition.” The mission statement may help you understand facets of the types of products and services you want to offer, the type of employer you want to be, the ways you source supplies, and the way you market your company.
Review Your Business Name and Logo
Does your business’s name communicate the details spelled out in the mission statement? For example, a company that manufactures high-speed modem components would probably want to incorporate words that reflect speed and efficiency.
List out any and all company names that come to you, even if you know they won’t make the cut. Putting all of your ideas out there allows you to compare them and narrow them down. Then you’ve got to find out if the preferred name is taken. Run the name in your Secretary of State’s corporations database to see if it’s active. Next, check your desired domain name in a search engine to make sure you can get a logical web address.
Logo design is a tough thing. Like the business’s name, your logo should have some connection to the overall mission of the company. If you don’t have the design skills to create the logo you have in your head, you will need to find someone who does. If money is tight, you might consider finding a freelancer to help. Companies with larger marketing budgets may want to hire a graphic design firm for more support.
Establish Your Business’s Voice
The language you use in your marketing collateral, on the website, and at conferences is a crucial part of your business’s brand identity. Are you buttoned-up and professional? Casual and friendly, or a bit irreverent? In most cases, there’s no “right” answer, as the business’s voice should reflect your own personality.
What is Personal Branding?
Your personal brand and image as a business owner is just as important as your company’s branding. The two are interrelated, and failing to recognize this can damage your prospects for growth. For instance, would you take health and fitness advice from a business run by someone who appeared unhealthy and out of shape? If your personal brand doesn’t align with your company’s, that disconnect could put off potential customers and damage your bottom line.
This methodology is called “CEO branding,” and it’s the art of using tactics such as PR, social media, book deals, speaking engagements, and award procurement to provide the clearest point of differentiation any great company has: its leadership. Even if you prefer to keep a low profile, the image you put forth at events and on social media will be noticed by customers. How can a business owner begin managing her personal brand?
Make the Most of Networking Events
When you walk into a room, it’s usually easy to figure out who the CEO is – the person whom everyone is gathered around and is generally receiving the most attention. However, approach networking with the mindset that everyone is important to the success of your company and will be treated equally. When you open up the lines of communication with more people, you’re likely to establish relationships throughout the ranks of various companies. That can result in opportunities down the line. These new connections may also see you as more personable than business owners who only socialize with one another.
Genuine enthusiasm about your business is infectious and can be key to building a positive personal brand. When it comes to small businesses, the owner is often the face of the brand. A sophisticated logo or website can’t make up for a lackluster attitude.
It’s important to remember that how you see yourself can influence how others see you. Because you can’t hire anyone else to be you, you must make the decision to do the necessary work to project a clear image of who you really are. It’s equally important to present yourself with sincerity and authenticity. Otherwise, people will sense it’s an act and be completely turned off.
Make sure that your social media profiles feature the same business name, logo, address, and phone number. Whoever manages these profiles should keep a consistent voice across audiences, though you shouldn’t post the exact same content on all social networks. Apps like Instagram rely upon visuals, while Twitter is still primarily thought of as a text-based communications tool.
Your customers will praise your product or service if it surpasses their expectations. And one way you can do that is by communicating with them. Whether it’s on Twitter, a review site, or a LinkedIn industry group, acknowledge the connection with the customer. Conversely, act quickly if you become aware of customer complaints. It shows that you care about their experience and are making moves to correct any problems. These interactions can do wonders for your brand’s reputation.
Branding and Business Development
When your small business’s brand is clearly defined, your sales staff can go into the market with a compelling story to tell. They’ll understand what motivates the company, its goals, and the true value of the goods or services you offer.
Salespeople around the world depend on D&B Hoovers™ for up-to-date and timely information about business clients and prospects. Understanding a business and its brand can help salespeople have more informed conversations and close more business. Learn more about D&B Hoovers.
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