What is your brand? … Do you know how you’d answer that question?
Having a strong brand is an important part of your marketing plan, but as small business owners you can’t approach branding the same way as the “big” businesses can.
But, that doesn’t mean small businesses should skip branding.
Eight top branding experts share their small business branding tips to help you stand out from your competition.
Business Branding Tips – #1. Don’t be generic.Small #Business #Branding Tips @Dan_Antonelli says don’t be generic #marketing #brandingtips Click To Tweet
Dan Antonelli gives emphasis on positive brand impression in his article Why Small Businesses Need Strong Logos
First, make sure that your logo is clear and easy to interpret, because you don’t have the years of brand recognition behind you that ensure that people will associate your name with your product or service.
Second, unlike large companies, you don’t have the large advertising budget required to brand icons too generic to help consumers understand the nature of your business.
In short, then, your logo needs to convey what you do and who you are, and leave a positive brand impression. That’s why small business logo design is a different animal from corporate logo design. Corporations can throw enough money into marketing to ensure that people associate any symbol or graphic with their name.
Small businesses don’t have that luxury: Each impression is so important. You need to very quickly connect with your audience members and give them something to latch on to — at the same time that you give them something disruptive in your competitive space.
Business Branding Tips – #2. Assess how you’re positioning your primary product or service within the marketplace.Small #Business #Branding #Tips @CANCapital says assess your product position in the marketplace. #biz Click To Tweet
Daniel DeMeo shares from his article Four Tips for Enhancing Your Small Business Brand
This applies whether you’ve been in business a year or for over two decades. While conducting an exhaustive customer perception study of your firm may not be something you want to invest in at this time, there are less formal ways you can evaluate how the market perceives your brand and your offerings.
Develop a formal panel of your most loyal customers to understand why they choose your brand and what it is they believe your products and services represent in the marketplace. Is it your quality service? Commitment to the local community? Your low prices? Getting to the heart of why customers stick with your firm will help you understand better what you are doing correctly and what messages you may want to adapt, based on how your business has evolved over time.
Business Branding Tips – #3. Find your voice.Small #Business #Branding #Tips @rosskimbarovsky says find your voice. #smallbiztips #brandingtips Click To Tweet
Ross Kimbarovsky’s article on 10 Tips To Help You Build A Successful Small Business Brand says
What you say is important, but don’t overlook how you say it. Your company’s “voice” is the language and personality you and your employees will use to deliver your branding message and reach your customers. Successful brands speak with a unique voice. Think about the brands you admire – what makes them unique? How do they communicate with you and other customers? What do you like about their voice?
Business Branding Tips – #4. Don’t try to mimic the look of chains or big brands.Small #Business #Branding Tips @MysteryTwit says don’t try to mimic the look of chains or big brands Click To Tweet
According to Ten Ways to Build a Brand for Your Small Business by Dan Einzig
Try and 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 feel about themselves.
Business Branding Tips – #5. Make Your Employees Brand AmbassadorsSmall Business Branding Tips @LouImbriano says make your employees #brand ambassadors #smallbusiness Click To Tweet
Try and 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 feel about themselves, says Lou Imbriano in his article According to Branding 101: Tips for Building a Killer Identity.
Business Branding Tips – #6. Be an Advocate for Your Business – Not Just a SalesmanSmall Business #Branding Tips @caronbeesley says be an advocate for your business. #businessgrowth Click To Tweet
Caron Beesley, author of 10 Tips to Help You Build and Grow a Stand-Out Small Business Brand says
You don’t have to be the greatest salesman to succeed in business. Selling takes many forms – and being a brand advocate gels them all together. For example, many small business owners strive to be the number one salesman, the number one cheerleader, and the number one fan of their own business (you’ve got to be excited about it if you want others to be excited too). If you are passionate about your business, be an advocate for it. Use many of the tips in this blog to make sure people understand what you do, the story behind your products, what your products have done for people, your methods and mission, and all that good stuff. Invite people in!
Business Branding Tips – #7. Keep it ProfessionalSmall Business Branding Tips @AllStarDesignUK says keep it professional. #entrepreneurship #biztips Click To Tweet
Dean McNamara of All Star Design and author of Top 5 Branding Tips for a Small Business, says the use of professional images matters a lot in creating your personal brand.
Use professional images – you will be amazed at how much better professionally produced images make your marketing and brand look. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending money on a photo shoot (although that helps if you have the budget!) but there are plenty of great free photos online which take a little bit of searching and you also have istock; don’t be afraid to use what’s available just make sure it fits your brand (and check its copyright terms).
Business Branding Tips – #8. Co-BrandingSmall Business Branding Tips @edwindearborn says co-branding. #branding #advertising #smb #startup Click To Tweet
Edwin Dearborn, author of 9 Small Business Branding Tips, advises to use Co-Branding.
Many people will come to know your brand if you are associated with a trusted brand that they are already fond of and doing business with. Your small business brand can accomplish your marketing and sales objectives much more effectively when you tap into the complementary strengths of another brand and their loyal customer base. Mortgage brokers co-branding with real estate agents is a natural fit. Wedding planners co-branding with a florist is another. Co-branding opportunities are only limited by your imagination and hustle. Co-branding is also known as:
- Affinity marketing
- Alliance marketing
- Cooperative marketing
- Combined brand marketing
- Business partnerships
The bottomline is, branding is part of a marketing plan. You can either allow your business to stand out or be easily forgotten. Like any other plan, if it is well implemented, it will result in something positive, if not, it will not work effectively.
QUESTION: As a small business owner, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to building a strong brand for your business? Share your comments and questions below.