A strong brand clearly communicates your values, establishes credibility and brings to mind a positive emotion or feeling about your company. So how does a small business begin to create this powerful brand? Here are four branding tips to help your small business get started.
Benefit of a powerful business brand
A well-developed brand has a powerful impact on whether someone wants to work with you.
- Project everything you are, the value you deliver and the total client experience. Every image you project, from your visual brand identity, location, office furnishings and the way your staff answers the phone, needs to accurately reflect your business attributes.
- Communicate the personality of your business clearly, visually and promote credibility. It shapes clients’ perceptions of you and conveys the expectations and promises that you extend to your clients in terms of quality, service, reliability and trustworthiness.
- Helps the audience differentiate you from your competitors. This differentiation will attract those that have a need and positively influence their decision to hire you, directly impacting your profitability.
How do you determine your business brand?
Before you start to develop your brand identity (the visual representation of your brand), you need to define your brand so that you can project the value you provide to your target audience.
1. Be clear on the purpose of your business
What made you start your business in the first place?
This purpose – the emotional connections you make with those you help – is why some people naturally want to work with you and not someone else. For example, a business coach may have the following:
My purpose is to enrich the lives of business owners by helping them discover, develop and maximize their abilities and assets. This results in enhanced personal and professional growth which yields higher productivity, better quality of life and higher and profits.
2. Determine the values that are core to your business
People are attracted to businesses whose values reflect their own. By incorporating your values throughout your communication, you build an emotional connection with people and influence how they interact with you.
Zappos is a good example of a company that has identified and communicated their values. If you look at their 10 core values, they live and breath them through everything they do. They “deliver WOW through service and value being fun and being a little weird“.
Figure out what your core values are and deliver on them continuously.
3. Identify your top personality attributes that people associate with your business
Every business has a personality. To create a brand that connects with your ideal client, you must understand its characteristics. If your business personality that is seen by customers is not what you think it is, you could be projecting an image that is wrong for the audience you serve, the market you’re targeting and where you want to be in the future.
Remember the Mac vs. PC ads? They ran from May 2006 to October 2009. Apple portrayed the PC as old, stuffy and difficult to use while the Mac was innovative, stylish, intuitive, cool and friendly.
4. Determine your core strengths and make them the essence of your brand
Focusing on what you do best helps create trust because you are more likely to live up to your promises. Trying to be the expert at too many areas will water down your messages and cause you to be “me too” or too generic to effectively stand out.
One way to focus is to become an expert in one area of your business such as:
- Personal brand consultant for independent professionals
- Search engine optimization consultant for small local businesses
- Personal trainer for student athletes.
Another way to focus is to pick a specialized target market to work with such as:
- Business coaching for fitness instructors
- Marketing services for chiropractors
- Image consultant to plus sized women.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have other areas you work with, but you are known for one thing very well.
Your business brand – personality, expertise, values
When you clearly define these four areas, you can then develop a brand that consistently projects your personality, values and expertise. The effort is a long-term commitment. When your brand matches the needs of your target, the end results are rewarding for both your business and your customers.