Getting your brand name out there can seem like a daunting task when you are just starting out. However, it might be helpful to remember that all the favourite brands were unknown once upon a time, and many, like Apple, reinvented themselves along the way, often having to redo their marketing strategy from scratch. If they have tasted success, so can you. Here are six tips to turn your small business brand into the next BIG thing!
Know what your market wants
Knowing your audience will enable you to appeal to their emotions. What are the problems they are facing? What solutions can you offer them? Connecting the dots between your product or service and the needs of your audience are crucial to crafting a unique brand message that stands out among the rest. A brand is much more than the logo or package design – it includes your unique selling proposition, the passion and mission of your company, and the key features of your business.
Develop a consistent brand voice
Message consistency across all platforms is essential if you want people to get attached to your brand. For example, you don’t want to share different types of images on Instagram and Facebook, so your followers do not recognise your company when they switch channels. Formulating a brand personality before you write a single marketing sentence can help in this regard. Is your brand quirky, funny, easygoing or formal? Is your company geeky, sexy or both? Are you caring, socially or environmentally conscious? Your brand personality will determine your brand message, especially on social media where you will likely develop a following by sharing content relevant to your audience.
Associate yourself with strong brands
Your company does not exist in a vacuum, and neither should your brand. Find and leverage other strong bands connected to your business. For example, if you are a florist, tie up with a local hospital. It could be as simple as posting a photo of a bouquet delivered to the hospital doorstep. Or offer to write a post on the hospital blog with a backlink to your site, and then share the post all over your social media. Connecting with other stronger brands makes yours more memorable and better known within your community.
Play to your audience’s emotions
People rarely remember what is said to them, but never forget how you made them feel. Try to connect with your audience at an emotional level. Can you share a sentimental story about how your business was founded? Can your message evoke love, peace or sadness? The stronger the emotion, the longer your audience will remember you and share your content with their friends. That is the main reason why cat and baby videos are so much more popular than anything else on the Internet.
Be authentic in your branding efforts
You cannot be something else in real life and something else online. Your brand personality has to be reflected by your staff, your business procedures and the way in which you interact with customers in the field. If you develop a fun and vibrant online persona, but your employees are un-enthused and dull, you will lose customers quickly. It is essential to hire people who reflect your brand personality and train them to incorporate that when dealing with customers. Everything from the words your team uses while talking with clients to your email communication and complaint resolution process should represent your brand. It is helpful to spend some time reflecting and implementing your brand strategy in this practical manner too.
Protect your brand
You do not want to work hard to build your brand, only to have some other business steal all the credit. Use registered trademarks to protect your brand name, your logo and your business’s slogan. Consult with a business lawyer and set up water-tight protection around any colour combinations, domain names and symbols that represent your business. Avoid situations that let people make minor changes to spelling or colours to steal your business or cause confusion in your market.
This blog is a guest post by Shweta Shetty, Gowning Street’s Community Outreach Officer. Gowning Street is fast growing start-up selling University Graduation Regalia online.