Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, and it is equally important for large or small businesses, retail or B2B. In addition to branding, an effective brand strategy will give you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets.
And while branding is an immense topic we certainly can’t explain in just one blog post, it is important for your small business to have a brand. If you don’t know where to start or what to do, start from the beginning. Here is what we recommend.
Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand stands for who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
3 Foundations of Brand Building for Your Small Business:
1. Get a great logo
The foundation of your brand is your logo. They’re the shorthand — the visual cue — used to communicate a brand’s culture, behavior, and values. Logos are instantly recognizable, and can provide the base upon which a brand can be built. Place your logo everywhere. Your website, business cards, email signature, packaging, company car, newsletters and other promotional materials should integrate your logo and communicate your brand.
2. Get a website
About 48 percent of people have cited a website’s design as being the number one factor when judging whether a site is credible or not, and an overwhelming 94 percent of people have cited a website’s design as being the reason they mistrusted or rejected a site. If you don’t nail this most basic form of design and aesthetics, you’re not going to communicate efficiently. More importantly, you won’t be trusted.
If you are just starting out and thinking whether you should even have a website, the answer is yes, absolutely! Today a website is like an ID of a business, and not having a website can cause a mistrust of your prospect customers or clients. Your website can be simple, but make sure it is nicely designed, functional, effective in what you want to achieve, and that is promotes your brand.
3. Have an engaging social media presence
Today, brand presence on social media has become a marketing imperative. It allows brands to showcase their expertise, cement their place in communities as industry experts, do valuable market research, network with others, and show off what the brand is about. If a logo can be considered a brand’s face, social media is its voice. It allows brands to engage with followers and supporters, and personify the business.
And while the abundance of social media channels might feel overwhelming for a small business, especially when starting up, it is important to define at least one social media channel most used by your target audience, and engage there.
A strong social media presence has tangible results, too. In fact, it has a 100 percent higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing tactics. About 72 percent of marketers have also said that social media has helped them close deals, and another 45 percent of people have reported making new partnerships through social media.
Another benefit of using social media is that if you do decide to do any marketing there, it will be much less expensive than traditional print, radio or TV ads.
“If a logo can be considered a brand’s face, social media is its voice.”
Other branding tips for your small business:
- Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? If you have employees, they should be aware of your brand attributes.
- Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business – how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
- Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal.
- Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
- Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout.
- Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you, or refer you to someone else, if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
- Be consistent. Consistency involves all of the above and is the most important thing for your brand and your business. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.
Brand building takes time, work and dedication. But, if you want to build your brand, and be successful at it, you need to take action. You need to make sure your company is always in sight, and interact with people once it catches their eye. Though it can take time to build up a small business’s brand, it’s something that has to be done.
Brand Building for Small Business, Case Study: Acapulco Chairs Baja
LA76 Strategic Design team has been approached by Acapulco Chairs Baja, a small business based in Los Cabos, a start-up who had the desire and vision of creating a brand, which would help promote the icon of Mexican design, Acapulco chair, and deliver it to its customers worldwide. As a start-up they didn’t have a large budget to begin with, but they knew that having a brand presence was crucial to developing their business. We developed a logo for them and a simple website with the main feature: online store.
Because of the complexity of shipping items from Baja California Sur across the borders of Mexico (because we are a border state with US, we have different rules and laws that concern shipping items across the border, which involve dealing with customs for each single shipping), we decided to use a young Mexico based shopping platform Kichink, which enables secure shopping and payments, and shipping with DHL, and takes much of the company’s burden of dealing with shipping and customs.
The website also features a blog, where they feature homes and decor ideas with Acapuco chairs.
Because of the size of the business, the owners didn’t want to heavily engage in many social media platforms, but have chosen to be present on Facebook and Instagram, which allows them to share photographs and engage with their public.
Phase 1 of this project is now completed, and we have begun planning Phase 2, which will involve a newsletter, packaging and some other items.
If you have any question about building a brand or regarding promoting your small business, please send us an email to info@LA76.com. We’d be glad to help!
Sources: 1 & 2