Branding is a big buzzword these days, but is it relevant to your small business? The answer is a resounding yes! Small business branding is actually the key to your success. The truth is, you have a brand from the moment you go into business. The question is whether it’s the brand you want. You are always presenting yourself to clients in a particular way and they are busy perceiving you. Follow these guidelines on how to brand your small business effectively.
1. Do Some Serious Soul-Searching
This is the time to get out your journal, go sit at a coffee shop and ask yourself the hard questions. Your business needs a clear identity and mission. Specifically, you need to be able to give detailed answers to the following questions:
- Who are you as a business?
- Why is your business here?
- Where is your business going?
2. Create a Logo
Now that you have clarified your company’s identity, how will you visually present that to the world? This can seem like a simple step, but resist the urge to slap something together with ClipArt. Your logo is your identity in shorthand and you will have it for a while. Take the time to create something that embodies your company.
3. Mold Your Business to Fit Your Brand
Go back and look at what you wrote in your journal at the coffee shop. Hopefully you’ve got several pages of detailed material. Now is the time to distill it into a nugget, also known as a mission statement. Distill that even further to a tag for your website and all company materials. Assess all aspects of your business and create an action plan to bring them into line with your branding. This includes:
- Uniformity of all print and web materials
- Employee appearance
- Verbiage used in communications with clients
4. Create Your Online Presence
The internet is a powerful tool for getting the word out about your company. Brand your small business and boost your reputation by careful website design, savvy social media usage and a quality company blog.
5. Stick to Your Guns
The number one tool in your branding toolbox is your customer service. This is vital. Your brand creates an expectation in your client before they ever step foot in your door. Don’t let them down. Once you have chosen a flavor for your company image that resonates with your customer base, don’t change it. Basic small business branding depends upon consistency and customer service. Every time.
Your small business will rise or fall based on its reputation. Careful branding allows you to create a narrative for your small business in a way that connects with clients and builds trust that will last for years to come.