Have you ever asked yourself why branding matters? Don’t we already buy what we want or hire the services we need? Isn’t a brand just another advertising message? And don’t we have enough of those already?
It’s also the case that brand image importance is a significant factor in our consumer choices. How many of us refer to acetylsalicylic acid when trying to get rid of a headache? Don’t we just use the word “Aspirin,” the trade name initially registered by the Bayer Corporation in 1899?
So you see that brands have a way of sticking—both in our minds and our culture generally. Why is this?
Here’s Why Branding Matters
A brand captures the essence of a product or collection of products to the extent that people know and recognize it and have even taken a certain degree of ownership in defining or characterizing it. If a brand is successful, it’s because many people feel a bond with it. Thus, it “provides consumers with a decision-making-shortcut.”
You Must Cultivate a Brand
Like a plant, a brand must be tended by its owners and creators. It should be allowed to draw nourishment from its environment to flourish. For a brand, this means it must absorb, reflect, and develop alongside various cultural inputs. You have to reimagine your brand in ways that make it fit each era it passes through.
A brand is an experience, and it must be a good and memorable one if it’s to work at all. Many brands are universally recognizable due to the array of strategies and tools used in reinforcing their existence, persistence, and marketable attributes.
A Creative and Robust Logo Is Essential
Probably the most familiar and memorable aspect of a brand is its logo. A logo is a design that’s simple to reproduce yet complex in its conception and the sentiments it evokes. It takes a lot of time and effort to design a logo—and it’s worth every minute, as well as every dollar you spend on a professional designer’s services.
When used consistently, a log builds trust in your brand. Although a logo (and the brand it stands for) should be updated periodically, the changes should not be frequent or dramatic.
A Well-Maintained Online Presence Is Equally Important
Nowadays, everyone expects a business of any size to have a website with the necessary information and expert design, interactive features, stellar content, and eye-catching graphics. For most companies, having a dull website signals an inferior operation, regardless of the real story. It might be more difficult for a business than it seems at first.
With your logo placed subtly throughout and a signature color scheme, your website is a chance to introduce clients and prospects to more tangible features of your brand, which could include the full product line, the values underlying your products,
Why Branding Matters for Small Business
Small businesses, especially local ones, face a few challenges when it comes to establishing a brand. For one, they must craft a mix of standard media resources and those specific to the local or other niche community they serve. Yet, small businesses struggle to come up with the funding to support an encompassing marketing campaign. Getting a website in place is hard enough.
So ask yourself, “do I need a brand?” If you’re a small business, the answer is an emphatic “yes”! You must use your available resources wisely. Fortunately, some benefits are both unique to your situation and inexpensive (or even free).
Small Business Branding Opportunities
Today’s small businesses fall into two primary (and increasingly overlapping) categories: online and local. These entities can leverage certain advantages that come with their more consolidated size and scope—provided they have a solid brand in place, of course. These include:
- The chance to get to know customers or clients on a personal level
- Word of mouth within the local or niche community
- Access to local or niche media
Internet-based niche businesses enjoy these benefits:
- Viral messaging
- Selling relevant products through e-commerce
And for local media specifically, add these local opportunities:
- Posters and yard signs
- Local TV, radio, and newspapers
- Sponsorships for local events
- Local SEO
Each of these (and undoubtedly others) is a chance for a business to extend and develop its brand messaging.
Small Business Branded Marketing Strategy
Your branded marketing strategy should accommodate your small business’s specific attributes. Is it a local or online business? Is it, for example, a lumber yard, a dental clinic, or a beauty salon? Does it have a local clientele, an online clientele, or both? These and other distinguishing features should be reflected in your logo, website, and all marketing collateral.
Marketing strategies also should be appropriate for the media and modes of delivery you use. For instance, yard signs are most often used for political statements. We saw one recently, though, that was advertising a new recording by a local band. The element of surprise is helpful in a marketing campaign of any type. For a small business campaign, it’s something to celebrate.
A benefit of social media marketing for a small business is its virality and the ways people communicate with one another about the messages they see—whether through their comments (which are often longer than the original message) or by posting new messages. It is particularly the case with messages that speak to niche groups or residents of a region or local community.
Command the Brand Before You Expand
Don’t forget why branding matters—even once you and your clients have developed your brand’s comfort level. Many companies are still successfully using the beloved brands they created decades ago. However, as you can see in the link, they also tweak it to introduce new products and services that retain older customers and bring new ones.
It might take time and adjustment to get your brand off the ground, but it will be worth it when people start referring to it directly instead of saying “your store,” “your business,” or other generic terms. While waiting for your brand to gel, don’t hesitate to ask friends and fellow merchants for feedback and suggestions. It can only help.
If you could use some help with your brand marketing strategies, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love working with new clients!