Small business owners tend to think that branding is something only large companies need. However with small businesses accounting for as much as 95-99% of private sector entities in most countries, branding is crucial for small businesses to be able to stand out and capture potential clients. No matter how amazing your product is, no-one will hear about it until you create an identity that is recognizable amongst the massive crowd of competitors. Here are five branding tips that will help your small business stand out from the crowd.
Branding Tip 1: Define Your Brand
How do you want your customers to describe your brand? What is the one thing that you want your brand to be known for? What differentiates your brand from other competing ones? Answering these questions will give you a clearer idea of your brand’s vision, purpose, and value proposition.
Branding Tip 2: Create a Simple and Coherent Branding Message
It’s likely that the average man or woman on the street won’t understand the nuances and intricacies of your product or service. Only 1 in 1000 of your customers will go, “Wow, this product has (insert specifications), (insert specifications), (insert specifications), and (insert specifications)! I have to get it!” What matters more to the other 999 customers is how these features will benefit them directly; all the nitty-gritty details will cause them to move on to a product that seems easier to understand. In short: skip the features and technology, and get to the point.
Branding Tip 3: Develop a Consistent Brand Voice
Think of Apple, and a picture of an excited and inspirational Steve Jobs likely jumps into your mind. This is not just because Steve Jobs was (and apparently, still is) the face of Apple. It is because all the copy in Apple’s various advertisements (video and print alike) supported this persona with adjectives that conveyed both simplicity and cutting-edge technology. Steve Jobs himself communicated the same message in his keynote speeches.
Apple is testament to how a consistent “brand voice” can set your brand apart from the competition: by creating a unique personality for people to connect with your product or service. Of course, it is vitally important that the product or service delivered is also similarly consistent to what the brand voice promises.
Branding Tip 4: Remind Your Customers about Your Brand
Customers need to be reminded about your brand. Don’t assume that all your customers will remember what your brand stands for. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was Nike’s brand – it took three decades of strategic marketing for Nike to reach where they are today. If you want your brand to be known for something, you need to remind your customers again, and again, and again. You need to be able to “own your mile“, or in other words, own your potential customers.
So how do you remind your customers of your brand without being a pain? One subtle way would be to ensure that you include your company logo and slogan in your (and all your employees’) email signature, as well as on your business name card. Another way would be to blog about or send your customers content that is relevant to and which reinforces your brand. This can be done through your company’s blog, any relevant publishing websites, email newsletters, or even old-school snail mail.
Branding Tip 5: Think Big, Be Big
Being a small business does not mean that you are a small fry. Your brand is essential in helping your small business be portrayed as a serious player. Think big with your brand, and use it to capture potential clients and win their trust.
Developing a great product or service is important, however without a strong brand it can get lost in the shuffle. Our tips will help develop your brand and be recognized. If you have any branding tips to share, leave it in the comments!