When thinking about strong brands, most people quickly will identify Coca-Cola and Nike, corporate brands that have instant recognition, wide reach (and massive branding and marketing budgets).
Yet branding is not about business size nor about budgets. As Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, states, “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person.”
Larry Winget, speaker and bestselling author, adds, “Branding is nothing but knowing who you are and what you do that makes you stand out from everyone else, then communicating that through your marketing efforts.”
Every business, large and small, new and established, needs branding.
What is a Brand and What Does Branding Include?
A brand is a mental image of everything that a company stands for. It is a collection of elements that distinguishes one company from another. It becomes all the things that your customers, employees, vendors and business partners know and believe about you.
It’s also the visual elements of your business—your logo, website, signage, social media properties, physical presence, etc.
Why Branding Is Important for Your Small Business
Branding is critical to the success and even survival of every business for a variety of reasons. It creates and improves business recognition, so people can “see” your brand and know quickly who you are. It builds and establishes trust, credibility and comfort.
Some other benefits of branding:
- It supports and focuses on all elements of your marketing and advertising components.
- It inspires employees because they know what the company stands for, aligning their personal identity with the company.
- It generates new customers because branding elements are sharable.
- It creates revenue channels.
- It helps build company staying power and financial value.
- It sets expectations in the marketplace and establishes potential.
- It makes your company feel bigger.
How to Brand a Small Business
The first step to branding a small business is to define what your brand will be.
What does your company stand for? What are its mission and values? What are the needs of your customers, and how do the products or services you provide meet those needs?
Next, determine and define your target audience. Develop a “buyer persona” that “pictures” your desired customer. That way, you can speak deliberately to them in relevant ways.
Throughout the first two steps, you’ll want to develop your means of branding identity: logo, website, social media identity, signage, etc. Be consistent with their use.
Third, make sure to create a strategic marketing plan that uses the elements of branding, using consistent imagery and a defined tone of voice that communicates your brand values.
Finally, deliver on your product and service promises through superior execution. Communicate frequently and consistently by creating powerful content and having engaging communication.
Seek Professional Branding and Marketing Assistance
Contact VisionPATH Marketing for superior branding and marketing assistance.
With more than 15 years of experience working with small businesses, we have developed powerful marketing strategies and the tools to help you succeed.