A recognizable, successful small business brand is one of the most valuable assets any company, whether small or large, owns. A brand can lend credibility to a product and also provide assurance of quality, letting customers know what to expect when they purchase an item or service. According to a 2015 Nielsen survey, 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from familiar brands.
A new, small business is likely to compete against larger, more recognized brands with devoted customers. Larger companies also have much deeper marketing pockets and therefore, an increased ability to promote their brand across their customer base. This is why small businesses need to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competition while building a stable branding process of their own.
So how do small businesses build a brand? Below are eight tips small businesses can use- either on their own or with the help of a design professional like Bianca Frank Design – to build a strong and recognizable brand of their own regardless of business size.
To attract more customers (and in some cases, investors) a business needs to offer something that the market has yet to hear of. While this may sound easier said than done, it is necessary to draw attention to a small business looking to compete among the masses. A product or service has to be genuine enough to promote curiosity while still remaining useful and functional. Also, it is essential to make sure that your brand identity sparks interest within the target market. Building a brand identity can be complicated for a small business. For this reason, it can be highly beneficial to turn to someone with years of experience in the market. You should consider someone with a marketing or PR background, but make sure that you have checked their references and looked into their previous clients to ensure you have found a professional who can deliver on their promises.
Create an Inspiring, Memorable Logo
Once a small business has decided on its main product or service, the next step is to create a good name and a memorable logo. Some companies choose to do this later on, but they are more likely to have the highest chances of success if they differentiate themselves from the competition early on.
A great business name will stand out and be memorable. The name should also support your branding. You want to make sure you find something that is industry relevant, trendy and as of yet, not trademarked. There are professional agencies that you can hire to help you with this.
Given the significant dependence on visual effects and online marketing today, it has become imperative for businesses of all sizes to create a logo and brand identity that will be effective across all marketing media, including print, social media, and websites.
Define the Target Customer
Once a business has defined its mission, it is time to define their target audience. Who are the people that are going to buy their product or service? Why do they need the product? How long will it be useful for them? Why is their product different than anybody else’s? Once a business can answer these questions, they are on the right path to successful branding. The answers will help with both short- and long-term plans helping the company understand how they will create a profit because they know exactly what their customers are looking for.
Checking out the competition is also a good way to learn more about the target audience, or who the target audience could be. Establishing a customer profile is also helpful because it unifies all of this information and can be changed and updated as more information is gathered. Knowing the consumer will always be an advantage in marketing!
Let Customers Become Brand Ambassadors
Think of customers as brand ambassadors. Each and every customer who purchases a product is a walking representative of your small business brand. Therefore, keeping customers happy and satisfied is essential to ongoing business success. Use various marketing platforms to ensure customers are continually encouraged to use more or different products and services through special discounts, loyalty programs, etc. Many customers enjoy belonging to a “club” and receiving recognition for purchases or customer loyalty. They are also likely to purchase more of a service or item if it means that they will receive a “reward” for their purchases. Word of mouth is still the best advertising. Make sure you control the narrative by keeping happy customers.
Use Free Tools to Stay Consistent
There are endless tools online to help you keep your small business brand consistent. Canva is a great way to set up brand boards, colors, typography etc…so that you can easily use and reuse social media images. MailChimp can help you have great sales converting emails. HubSpot can give you campaigns, content and tracking of social media. LeadSquared has a drip marketing guide, email marketing campaigns and a landing page builder. GetResponse has marketing automation templates, templates for optimized landing pages, and and email marketing tool. These tools also allow additional team members to jump onto the account and utilize the same brand standards.
A key ingredient in building a distinctive brand is quality. This ingredient should not be ignored and must be given the utmost attention. Providing a good quality product or service builds trust wit consumers which leads to brand loyalty, and eventually a larger market share. Whatever a small business is offering; they should stand behind their product or service with pride. This also implies that a product or service’s quality should match the price of said product or service.
If a small business is looking to gain attention in an active market, their brand strategy must remain consistent. At the very beginning, a business is looking to garner attention, and even minor alterations in their branding could be viewed as a sign of weakness or indecision. Consistency is also important to being memorable. If a business keeps changing their name or logo, even customers who like them won’t be able to keep track to find and use their products. Therefore, it is critical to make sure that what is said on the website matches Facebook pages, mailed advertising, newspaper ads, and other social media platforms.
Use Social Media to Boost a Successful Small Business Brand
It is hard to ignore the power that social media has in today’s market. When it comes to promoting brand awareness, Instagram, Facebook, and similar social media networks have tremendous reach. If a small business is not familiar with social media advertising’s finer points, now is the time to hire a professional to help with brand advertising via social media. As simple as it sounds, social media can make or break a small business.
While you can pay for advertising on social media, it can also be a form of free advertising. Once a business has a good following, social media is a wonderful place to advertise sales and promotions. The best part of social media is that loyal customers will also share a business’ posts, pictures and content.
Don’t Forget the Power of Print
Although online marketing is more prominent than ever, print advertising remains quite useful in developing a small business brand. Have your logo printed on pens, notebooks, calendars, USB’s and other similar giveaways and send them out to potential customers. These will serve to remind clients of your brand and hopefully trigger interest when they are looking for a specific product or service. In addition, although it may seem hard to believe, not everyone is online. Therefore, certain targeted forms of print advertising can help a small business reach clients who are part of their target market through means not related to online marketing and branding.
Admittedly, creating a brand is not necessarily a step-by-step process. Many small businesses find the process of creating a brand for their business that stands out among the competition can be complex and challenging. However, even though there are difficulties in building a small business brand, it is inevitably worth it in the end. When it comes to the branding process, many small businesses find it highly beneficial to look to the advice and experience of a professional like Bianca Frank Design in Anchorage. Our design professionals have many years of experience , which can help a successful small business brand that will stand out among the competition.