We have found that branding is something small to mid-size business owners rarely consider or often think of as being reserved for major corporations. Branding is every bit as important for small to mid-size firms. It exists whether a business owner is aware or not. Do you know what your brand says about you?
What do customers and your industry think about you and your business? What is the thing that comes to mind when your company, your product or you are mentioned? What is the commitment you make to your clients? The answers to these questions are your brand. If you aren’t sure, you need to find out! Your clients need to feel what your brand stands for and you have the power to shape it.
In business, far more people have heard of your business than actually know it personally or even you. What they know, what they associate it with (if anything) is your brand.
So branding is about creating a desired impression in the minds of people. This is more important for small business than almost anyone else because there is so much pressure from competition out there. But if you are able to do it, the benefits are many. For the small business, a favorable brand carries with it:
- Increased income potential
- Solid business
Here are some steps to take in creating an identifiable, strong brand:
- Understand how you are perceived: How do people perceive your business now? Is that how you want to be perceived?
- Decide upon your Unique Selling Proposition: What makes you or your business unique, different, special or what niche is available that only you can fill?
- What are client’s expectations? What do your clients typically expect of you? What unique attributes do you offer that best fit client’s expectations?
- Make it personal; do you trust a corporation or a person? Whom would you expect to give you better customer service? Whom do you think is more honest? A person! A good idea for a small business is to tie his or her own name/personality in with the brand. People like and trust people more than businesses.
- Put it all together: A great brand will offer something unique, something that people want. It will be based on honesty and integrity, it will both attract and repel clients, and finally, it will offer perceived value.
Once you decide what your brand will be, then get the word out consistently and repeatedly using every means available to you; website, newsletter, e-mail, advertising, public relations and the growing social networks.
The desired result is that you will create a memorable business that stands for something, you!