Brand building: 6 tips to grow your small business’ brandStuart Taverner
Small businesses rarely have a dedicated marketing team, so building your small business brand is a crucial step to grow your business. A small business with strong brand equity has loyal customers and generally, more profit.
Think about Apple. Through building its brand equity, the tech giant is able to charge higher prices and still have people camp for hours overnight in anticipation of a new product release.
Yes, Apple has a big name, big budgets, and a flashy logo. But, a strong brand is built on its actions not words: promoting its strengths and focusing on the customer experience at each and every interaction.
We have put together six small business branding tips, to attract and create a dedicated customer base.
Decide what your brand stands for
Beyond making money, ask yourself what the purpose of your business is. How do you contribute? What problem do you solve? What is your vision? Gather a clear idea of who you are and what you believe in before you communicate to your customers. When established, communicate effectively, and genuinely, with your customers. As a business owner, these values should guide decision making, so you can stay true to what you stand for.
Above all, remember that you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are should be based, to some extent, on what your customer needs and wants.
Take Almo Milk. On a mission to disrupt the almond milk industry, Almo Milk is a small business dedicated to creating wholesome, nutritious and protein rich milk in a sustainable fashion. On their homepage, the company outlines what they stand for, their unique selling point, and vision for the future; there is even a section called ‘The brand’ to convince potential customers why their milk comes above their competition.
Brand positing: finding your niche
How do you want to position your small business brand? Are you a luxury brand, more of an everyday value alternative, or something between the two? What do you hope your customers say when they’re telling their friends about you? Think about what you want your business to be recognised for, and develop your products and services in line with those values.
This is perceived value: a customers view of the benefits and costs of one brand compared to another. Apple is king in perceived value. It has created an air of exclusivity by keeping product development behind closed doors, using emotive language and excellent design to create a sense of luxury. This brand building has led to a dedicated fan base of an almost religious nature.
Humanise your brand
The way your small business brand speaks, acts, and even thinks are all represented by your overall brand personality. These elements manifest themselves in all marketing messages and communication, through online and physical channels.
What is the tone of your brand? Are you more corporate professional, jovial, friendly, or relaxed? Some brands have a serious business-like tone while others use humour. If you want customers to be able to relate to your brand, think about the human attributes you want it posses.
Miei Fiori execute this wonderfully. Using a friendly and inspiring tone, their website focuses on the mission behind their business – closing the poverty gap in Australia – as opposed to their products. A sign off from the founder on the about page demonstrates this perfectly, alongside pictures of the family and its customers.
Make sure your message is consistent
Brand consistency matters. Your communications, marketing, and business materials all represent one brand; so they should look and sound like it. And, although they should all be consistent with your brand personality, it’s important to set yourself apart from your competitors and appeal to your chosen target audience.
A national brand that stands out here is Bunnings. They promote the idea of helpful experts at a low price, marketed consistently across stores and advertisements, achieving excellent brand positioning. You know when you go to Bunnings you’ll get cheap prices and customer service that goes above and beyond expectation.
Know exactly what your customers want
Knowing your brand is important, but knowing your customers is absolutely vital. You need to understand their needs and desires, what they value, and what they’re looking for from your business and industry.
But, how do you get to know your customers? Aside from chatting to them face to face or over the phone, try looking at the data you gain from social media. What are your customers interacting with? Where does their affinity lie? Look at demographic information and monitor social media discussions to get a sense of customer personalities and the topics that they care about. Digital Doughnut have a fantastic article on how to do this.
Provide a great customer experience every time
Customer service is central to building a positive brand reputation; this should be the core value at every level throughout your business. This includes every time a customer comes into contact with your brand, before, during and after making a purchase. You will start to develop an instinct for these types of things after you’ve laid down the initial groundwork. Successful brands are built when their owners know their market, inside out, and understand what makes their customers tick.
Branding is one of the most important aspects of business, no matter the size. An effective brand strategy, that has been developed using a considered approach, gives an advantage over your competition. Build your small business brand with external perception in mind and ask yourself the question – who are we, really?
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