Branding is a term that’s largely ignored or misunderstood, especially by small businesses but it is a very powerful, passive way of attracting your target customers and raising awareness.
To us, branding means helping customers and the general public identify your business through a logo, images, wording and even sounds – think about the McDonald’s whistle we hear on the radio and TV or the slogan “I’m Lovin’ It.” Those, along with the yellow ‘M’ sign and the new green and cream coloured interiors are all examples of a brand that raises awareness of its products through a unified, consistent approach.
What we find when working with small business owners who are trying to promote what they do is a lack of brand awareness, identity and a uniformed approach to marketing. We are not saying that you have to go as far as McDonald’s with their humongous budgets for branding, marketing and advertising. However, there are powerful ways that small businesses can compete without the price tag or staff.
Uniformed and structured branding is key to successfully setting your business apart from the competition and passively making sales. Here’s a little overview of what you need to do to create great branding and let your customers come to you:
Create a Brand Strategy
It’s a fancy term for a relatively simple process. All that’s involved in creating a branding strategy is:
- Research – looking at how other companies in your trade and competitors raise awareness of their business. Do they have a logo? Do they create graphics with their branding on?
- Analyse – look at how your competitors are using their branding I.e. Their logo, their advertising, their wording for their services. Then look at global or U.K.-wide companies whose advertising you see a lot of. Make a list of what you like and dislike about the branding of competitions and larger companies.
- Target Audience – who is your target customer? Where do they live, work, what do they enjoy doing? What might they need from you? A lot of advertising and brand awareness needs to be focused on your target audience so it really helps to have a clear audience in mind in your planning.
- Aims & Objectives – create a plan for the aims and objectives of your branding. What you want people (your target audience) to think about when they see your logo or read your slogan. Would you want them to think: “They’re the best plumbers in the area because they have a 24-hour helpline.” Think about how you want your company to stand apart from others. Will you offer a free-consultation service? Will you be available 24/7 for call-outs? Will your engineers always have a smile on their faces? Whatever your business ethos and aims are, write them down.
- Design & Write – this is the part we help a lot of businesses with. Writing down words that encompass your company that you can use for branded material such as flyers, adverts, posters, Facebook pages and so much more is vital for business branding success. The right words that speak to your target audience. Think about the design and colour scheme of your business, what will your logo look like, what colours could represent your brand the best? Write down all of your branding ideas and design thoughts.
- Getting Your Brand Out There – here’s a good place to think about how you’ll market your brand following on from your research and understanding of your aims and objectives. Will you use social media? Will you blog? Will you advertise?
2. Get your Staff Behind your Branding
Whether your staff are young, old or in between, every one of your employees can help with promoting your brand. Following on from your strategy, give your staff clear guidelines about what you expect from them in representing your company and branding. From what they wear to how they act right through to what they post on social media, several people are better than one at raising awareness of your branding.
Let your staff, family, friends and associates know that you’re taking branding seriously and get ready to launch your brand identity.
3. Brand Identity Launch
Whether you already have a logo and a website or not, you can re-brand or build your brand identity at any point.
You’ve planned what you’re going to do and got some support behind you so now’s the time to take action! Get your brand out there through:
- A website
- A regular blog
- Social media
- Trade shows
- Press releases
There are so many ways to raise your brand awareness with your customers making you a trusted name in your industry. For more help with marketing your brand and creating your brand identity, get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out our Branding Pack – a great way to help you get started with branding. This pack offers everything you need to get going with a logo, designs, colour-scheme, blurb writing and expert advice.