A branding strategy should be even more important for small businesses than for large corporations. With a little or ‘non-existence’ budget, the brand has to work harder than ever to succeed and become memorable in people minds.
Unfortunately, this is a point that the vast majority of small business’ owners seem to forget. Small business are often being faced with a variety of hurdles and the necessity of being able to spin many plates at the same time. As a business owner, one minute you are an accountant or project manager and the next you act as a sale assistant or marketer. There is so much to do in such a limited time. To help you focus on what’s important we have put together the ’10 commandments’ on how to build a brand for SMEs.
The aim of branding is to differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t follow the flock- be unusual! Don’t sell the same products or have same promotion. Try to find your own strengths and Unique Selling Points- be the one of a kind.
2. Make a promise
I often compare brand to a promise you give to a client. You need to keep the promise every time they use or buy your product. Think about what’s your promise? Make sure that what you promise is meeting the needs and wants of your clients, helping them, along the way.
- Tell the story through your brand
What’s the story behind your brand? People love stories! They make us loyal and draw us towards specific brand. If, for example, you come from a family of bakers and you’re running a bakery- tell them about it! This will add personality to your brand and trustworthiness. Remember- the story has to reflect how your clients perceive you!
- Have logo which will represent your brand
Is brand and logo two different things? Your logo and the way it represents your business adds up to your overall image. If your appearance is important to you, don’t skimp on it. Treat it as an investment, which will bring a return by means of repeated custom. Seeing your logo for many people can be a first contact with your brand, very often a deciding point whether to chose your product or services over your competitors. Take care of details! If you try to cut the corners, you might be judged as a low quality and careless enterprise.
5. Don’t be afraid to sign your own brand!
It’s surprising to see how many business owners hide in the shade of their businesses! Many don’t want their names featured in the brand creation process. Customers want to know, quite rightly, whose behind the brand. Why won’t you have a professional photo taken and use it in marketing collaterals? If you believe in it, there is a big chance so will your customers!
Make sure you send the same message across all platforms- whether it’s one to one communication, online or traditional advertising. The multichannel marketing with a consistent communication is of the utter importance. The message has to be consistent each time a client is approached by your brand.
7. Protect your brand
Since branding cost a lot of time and effort, you should take steps to protect it too. Register it in appropriate governing bodies. There is nothing worse than realisation that somebody else is copycatting your work and having financial gains as a result! Without having your trademark registered you cannot take any actions!
8. Monitor and Analyse
Take a full advantage of a web and social media. Use them to maximise your online presence! It has never been easier to reach out to the masses! Use Twitter as a part of your customer service or aftercare. Interact and engage with your clients. Answer their questions; wish them good luck using product or service! It has never been easier! You can also monitor what people have to say about your brand, are there any areas of improvements? Could you win clients over? Keep your eyes open!
9. Don’t over stretch!
Yes you might be growing and developing- that’s great! Be careful though not to over stretch! If, for example, you sell fruit and vegetables and just recently started selling gardening equipment, your customers might find it confusing and you can lose them as a result.
Building brand awareness is a time consuming process. Make sure that the information is well implemented at all levels of your business! It’s not only you who have to care about the brand image; it’s your employees too! Make sure that your team can identify themselves with the brand, know it by heart, live and breathe it!
If you are interested in the topic, please find the links to further reading:
Alternatively contact Umbrella Marketing TEAM- happy to help!