“Once I’m up and running, I’ll invest in building a brand.”
Sound familiar? This is a common mindset among small business owners who focus on marketing and selling but forget that their company is both a business and a brand.
Strong branding is vital for any business owner regardless of their business size. When it comes to establishing your successful brand, you first need to understand what branding means. It’s marketing lingo for your logo, name, symbol, design, and other components associated with your business’s identity. Branding is essentially how people identify your company, whether it’s through a great logo, a tagline, a color, or a feeling.
We’ve got some tips below to help you create a brand identity that will make your small business stand out.
Research, research, research
Before you create your brand, do some research on your customers and target audience. Think about what will appeal to them. Brand elements that would work for one industry might not work for another.
Find out what values, products, services, and aesthetics speak to your target audience. Learn what your competitors are doing to attract customers.
Define your brand identity
Branding is more than just a logo you slap on your website. Your branding is who you are as a company; it’s your values and your mission, it’s the way you treat your customers, it’s the look and feel of your visual assets. So, before you can move forward with the more tactical steps in your branding strategy (like designing your logo), you need to take the time to get really clear on who you are as a company or, in other words, your brand identity.
Know your Audience
Can you identify your brand’s ideal customer? Knowing your target audience is a key component of your marketing strategy. You can’t market properly without understanding who you’re talking to. Think about what your business does, what benefit it has to your existing and potential customers, and how you’re different from other brands in the same industry.
To know how you’re different, it’s important to understand what’s common and effective in your industry. Looking at your competition may provide inspiration for promotional material, help you identify emerging trends, and can shed some light on what resonates with your ideal client or customer.
Iterate and refine
Your brand identity may change over time, and that’s okay. Once you have created your initial brand identity, analyze and refine it based on customer feedback. Test new strategies and tactics to see what works best. For example, you could A/B test different taglines on your homepage to see which story resonates best with your audience.
Kick start your branding strategy
You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to effectively brand your business. All you need is a little creativity and some good, old-fashioned hard word.
Your brand isn’t a fixed business artifact. You’ve got to allow for changes in taglines, ad campaigns, and even modernizing an aging brand identity so you can keep pace with evolving trends and audience interests. That’s why flexibility to change is critical to sustaining a brand over time. So follow these steps, and you can create a brand that enables your business to stand out.