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Does your small business have a brand? Whether you have been working to build one or not, the answer to that question is yes. The only question is whether you have been putting in the effort to build the type of brand you want for your business.
A brand is basically the sum total of what current and potential customers think of your business. In essence, it is the reputation and identity of your business. These factors will develop whether you are trying to build a brand or not. For most businesses, it is better to guide and control the development of their brand. That way, you can make sure it fits with the image and feel you want the business to project.
But what can small businesses do to build a strong brand? Read this post to see some of the top tips for small business brand building.
#1. Always Aim for Quality
It might sound obvious, but you want to offer products or services that satisfy your customers. The products or services you sell are going to be at the core of your brand. If they are not good, you will have a hard time building and maintaining a positive brand identity. You might be able to fool people for a while, but they will eventually come to recognize the poor value of what you have to offer. Once you have a reputation for being low quality, it will be hard to turn around.
#2. Develop Your Brand Identity
What do you want your brand to represent in the minds of customers? A brand can have different qualities or traits that people associate with it. You can also consider different personality points for a brand. Some can be formal, and others might be fun. Think hard about what you want your products and business to represent in the minds of consumers.
#3. Know Your Customers
You should consider the types of customers you want when building your brand. Maybe they are young or old. Maybe they share a specific hobby or interest. Factors like audience demographics and behavior can have an influence on branding. Different types of messaging or imagery will work better with different groups. Knowing your audience can also help you find the best places to reach your customers. It can also help you develop the most effective brand identity. This is where customer research will help you build a better brand.
#4. The Basics of Your Brand
Building a brand starts with a foundation. For example, your brand name and colors are part of the basics. You might already have a name, but you need to develop a brand color palette. Beyond the color palette, you might need a logo and a slogan. You should also work on developing a brand voice and a style guide. All of these elements form the core of your brand’s identity.
#5. Build a Website
Modern brands need an online presence. The first step in establishing your brand online is to have a website. Make sure you use your brand colors and voice when building your site. You also want a website that performs well and helps customers achieve their goals. Small businesses should also work to attract traffic to their websites. Use tactics like search engine optimization (SEO) to make your site easier to find and more discoverable.
#6. Consider Branded Items
Branded merchandise or gifts can be a great way to build your brand. Some obvious options include items like shirts or caps. Items like pens, mugs, water bottles, and USB drives can also work well for brand building. You can put your logo and company name on them and have them in your brand colors. You could run promos to give them out with certain purchases. It can be a great way to show appreciation, and the item will keep your brand in the minds of customers.
#7. Use Signage
So many small businesses fail to consider the branding power of something as simple as a sign. Signs can work well for reinforcing your brand identity. They can also raise awareness of your brand. The fascia sign on the front of your building is one obvious choice. You can also place pylon signs or freestanding signs in different places. Some businesses might even use various electric signs. Regardless of the type of sign, you need to make sure it fits with your brand image and uses brand colors.
Social media can be another effective element of brand building. Most consumers will be using at least one social media platform. Try to identify the platforms that are popular among your customers and use them to build your brand. You can start by building profiles that fit the style and look of your brand. Once you have profiles, you need to develop a strategy for using social media marketing. That means posting comments regularly. You might even want to engage in conversations with customers.
#9. Branded Packaging
Consider the packaging you send your products out in. If it is a plain box or wrapper, you might want to consider branded packaging. It not only reinforces your brand but it creates a complete brand experience. Use your brand’s colors or logo on the packaging. Beyond that, you could also consider branded bags if your business has a store where customers can shop. If you offer nice shopping bags, customers might even save them to use when they go shopping in the future.
#10. Put Customers First
Your relationship with customers will determine your brand. If your customers feel like you don’t care about them or that you don’t value them, it will impact your brand image. The first step in building a good relationship with customers is good customer service. If customers have problems, do your best to resolve them. Businesses can also take various steps to show appreciation to customers. An inexpensive free gift or voucher can go a long way. You should also let customers know you value their feedback. Take the time to read and respond to some of their reviews. If you can implement their feedback, that is even better.
Finally, you need to realize that brand building is an ongoing effort. Even once you have a brand, you need to work to maintain it. As soon as you stop, your brand can start to drift. Remember to keep working on your brand and be consistent in your efforts. If you keep it up, you will have a strong brand that adds value to your business.