Oftentimes, creating conversions isn’t just about the price or performance of your goods and services—your reputation (or branding) as a business matters just as much as the aforementioned two things...
When you think of household names like Nike, Apple, and Starbucks, chances are, a specific image comes to mind. The hypermodernity of Nike running shoes, the sleek performance of the latest iPhone, or the consistent taste of Starbucks lattes are examples of well-accomplished branding. It is no accident that branded products evoke certain feelings or memorable images in your mind, because that is exactly what branding intends to do.
But why should branding matter to small businesses?
For many small business owners, branding tends to receive relatively little attention compared to other aspects of running a business. You might wonder why you should put emphasis into something that you don’t think directly affects your sales. The truth is, branding does have an impact on sales, in fact, it has everything to do with it. If you have been struggling to find a more profitable practice for your business, branding will help your business carve out a specialized niche in your market. Having a brand identity will help distinguish you from being just another generic small business. To receive maximum exposure and generate sales, it is crucial to build your base of loyal customers, and that is dependent upon your reputation and the impressions you make as a business. In a market where many competitors often offer the same or similar goods and services, a smart branding strategy will set your offerings as a cut above the rest.
Even if you’ve put little to no energy into shaping the brand identity of your company, one has already formed, and it may not be as glowing as you hope if you haven’t taken the proper time to develop it. From your first day in business, your logo sets the precedent for the aesthetic, tone, and feeling associated with your company. Establishing a presence with a logo that reigns true to your mission, along with consistent marketing materials, or a brand identity system, will set up your business to thrive. Utilizing a brand identity system will help your business expand in revenue, and demonstrate that you are professionally established, that you have achieved expertise in your field, and run a thriving, well-represented business. By branding properly and showcasing your offerings, you’ll attract more clients exclusively on the look and feel of your marketing. Consumers love to buy from businesses that align with their beliefs and aesthetic, and many buy solely based upon the appearance of your packaging, your social media, or your website.
So, how do I start building my brand?
A brand is what connects your core business values to your target audience. Focus on what your ideal customer desires and needs and connect that to how you can promise to deliver it. Your branding does not have to a complicated, daunting task — have fun with it; this is your chance to share its personality with your customers! What kind of impression do you want to share? Why is your business different from its competitors? Think about what your strengths are and what you believe in as a business, and make sure that you and your employees can consistently deliver your strengths—also known as “brand values.” Capitalize on these points and remember that this is a highly personalized step that is unique to every business.
Once you are ready to share these values, create a logo—this can act as a stamp of quality assurance. If you run a construction service, you might want to go with more of a classic and straightforward appearance. If you own a floral shop, you might opt for a logo that includes a cursive typography to convey elegance and timelessness. Remember that logos aren’t everything, though. Your brand is the way customers perceive you through their experiences with your business, and that doesn’t stop at your logo.
Consider your entire customer service experience in regards to branding. It is crucial to maintain consistency throughout your logo, website, social media campaigns, employee-customer relations, and even phone answering techniques. Reinforce your values with every possible contact with customers, no matter how small the interaction is. Some key areas that can reinforce your goals are your packaging, the nuances and unique style & quality of your products, the varying parts of your website (is it a mere landing page or an interactive experience?), and how you and your employees dress and behave. Your brand will be strengthened if all of these elements are consistent with your brand values. If they are not, your brand could suffer.
Keeping employees and customers actively involved by establishing a feedback system will help you to fine tune your branding strategy to fit your customers’ needs and keep them satisfied with their experiences with your business. However discouraging it can seem, constructive criticism from dissatisfied customers should be welcomed, as it can be the most valuable type of feedback you will receive, and will ultimately help your bottom line. When you properly address these pain points head on and make your disenchanted customers feel acknowledged and like they matter, your business will excel. Remember this to constantly improve upon your brand!
If all of these steps are taken, your brand will be widely recognizable and your ideal customers with make their way to your business. By this point, you will have gained these customers’ trust and brand loyalty as they can vouch for your business’ standards and reputation, and they will recommend your company to friends or even go out of their way to purchase your good or service!
What are some great ad campaigns that come to mind when you think of extraordinary branding?