How you present your small business is important. No matter how well you provide a service or product, there is one thing that can overshadow all your hard work: your brand.
Branding is much more than your logo, website and printed material. Business cards can be a powerful marketing and networking tool; imagine if all of your interactions were this powerful – this is what good branding can do. With each step of your business you should consider how it can help your business grow.
Many small businesses don’t have the resources to consult with a brand designer or specialist – and you don’t necessarily need to. However there are three branding questions all business owners should consider:
1. Who Is Your Audience?
Who is your target market and who will be using your product or service? Who are your existing customers? What do they need, and how can you help them? Are there new audiences or niche markets you could to attract?
Considering your audience is the first crucial step in learning about and developing a brand suitable for your business. The better you understand your audience the better you will be able to engage them with your branding.
As an example, corporate and professional branding might be appropriate for lawyers and the financial industry, whereas a bakery or salon can add more fun and humour to their branding to get an edge on the competition.
If you have existing customers and are considering developing new branding, it is important to consider these customers. You don’t want to alienate an existing loyal customer base.
2. What Impression Would You Like Your Business to Create?
Use your brand as a powerful tool to create and maintain the right impression of your business. Your business and its identity should be a cohesive unit – from service, to product, to marketing material.
Unique branding is one way small businesses can stand apart from competitors and gain customers or capture a niche market. A unique story or local flair is a powerful way a business impression can be developed.
Whether a customer is calling your office, visiting your storefront location, or viewing your company website, your brand should be reflected uniformly in all your business practices. What you say, says a lot about you.
3. What Does Your Brand Say About Your Business?
What would be the personality of your business? Consider: If your brand was a public figure, who would it be?
How would you like your business to be remembered? The brand is the personality of your business – something customers can relate to and recognise. How would your brand communicate and interact with your customers?
Is your brand aligning with your target audience? Would it expressing your vision or mission statement?
Keep your brand consistent and relevant, but don’t be afraid to have fun! Some businesses are so tight and controlling with colours, typefaces and style that their branding becomes dull and repetitive. Keep your audience interested and engaged.
Once you’ve considered these questions you are on the right track to develop and build a strong brand for your business. Ensure everyone involved in your business is a part of your brand, and even a part of developing it. This will keep your brand relevant to your audience and aligned to your business practices.