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Branding is just as crucial for small businesses as it is for big-name companies. Many corporate brands try to look more like small firms to appeal to consumers that prefer to support small, independent brands.
Most business owners we talk to recognize the link between successful businesses and strong branding and aspire for similar success for themselves. They understand that branding is not just a logo or how their business is perceived externally. But too few realize that successful brands have this branding at the heart of the business.
Branding is defining your business to yourself, your team and your external audience. It could be called the business’ “identity,” but only on the understanding that it embodies the core of what the company is and its values, not just what it looks and sounds like.
The team at 309 Marketing can help you develop your brand by:
1. Defining your brand.
Review the product or service your business offers, pinpoint the space in the market it occupies and research the needs and concerns of your customers.
2. Think of it as a person.
Every one of us is an individual whose character is made up of beliefs, values, and purposes that define who we are and who we connect with. Our personality determines how we behave in different situations, how we dress and what we say. For people, it’s intuitive and rare that you even consider what your own character is, but when you’re building a brand, it’s vital to have that understanding.
3. Consider what drives your business.
What does it believe in, what is its purpose and who are its brand heroes? These things can help establish your emotive brand positioning and inform the identity and character for brand communications.
4. Build long-term relationships.
Don’t dress up your offering and raise expectations that result in broken promises, create trust with honest branding — be clear who your company is and be faithful to the values that drive it every day.
5. Speak to your audience with a consistent tone.
It will help reinforce the business’ character and clarify its offering, so customers are aware of precisely what to expect from the product or service.
6. Don’t repeat the same message in the same way over and over again.
Alternatively, aim to make your key messages work together to build a coherent identity.
7. Don’t try to mimic the look of chains or big brands.
Carve out your own distinctive identity. There is a big consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are in fact trying to mimic an independent feel to capture some of that market. Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how they feel about themselves.
8. Be innovative, bold and daring – stand for something you believe in.
Big brands are encumbered by large layers of bureaucracy, preventing them from being flexible and reacting to the ever-changing needs of their customers. Those layers of decision-makers can make it hard for them to be daring with their branding.
9. Always consider your branding when communicating with customers.
Don’t lose your pride or dilute your brand positioning with discounting. Try offering more, rather than slashing prices. Promotions are an opportunity to reinforce your brand mission.
10. The old way of stamping your logo on everything won’t cut it.
While your logo is vital, the future of branding is fluid and engaging — respect your customers’ intelligence. Generate some intrigue and allow them to unearth more about your brand for themselves. This is the way to foster ambassadors who revel in telling other people what they have discovered.
Brand Development is one of the most important steps any business can take, so don’t make those decisions without expert help. Give the professionals at 309 Marketing a call today. You can contact us at 309-213-9398 to request a quote. Also, our Peoria office is located at 311 SW Water Street, Unit 201 Peoria, IL 61602. Other office locations include Schaumburg, Tampa, Orlando and St. Petersburg.