Five Things Your Small Business Should Know About Branding
Branding is a powerful tool that can make or break your small business. Building a strong brand requires an understanding of what your business stands for and why you are in business. A strong brand is built on trust, and trust is built over time. By consistently delivering on your brand promise through all touch points with customers, you can create loyal customers who will continue to choose your business over competitors. A strong brand also helps to differentiate your business from competitors by establishing a unique identity and personality. Unfortunately, many small business owners don't understand the reach of their brand and its impact on their business. Here are five things your small business should know about branding:
1. A strong brand inspires long-term connection
A strong brand inspires long-term connection with customers. It is more than just a logo; it encompasses the emotions and feelings people associate with your business. Starbucks is an excellent example of a company that pays attention to every consumer touch point, artfully linking their product and customer experience together. While consumers could opt to make their coffee at home, they choose to go to Starbucks for the experience that the company has cultivated for them. By establishing deep connections with your customers and consistently delivering on your brand promise, you can create a loyal customer base that will continue to choose your business time and time again.
2. Branding and marketing are not the same
Branding and marketing are two words that are often used interchangeably but actually have several distinctions. In simple terms, you can think of branding like your heart and marketing like your head. Branding is the emotive part of your business – it generally answers the why behind your brand. Marketing, on the other hand, refers to the more tactile ways that your brand goes out into the world and interacts with consumers.
Marketing can better answer the question of “what does your business do and how does it do it?” Both are important, but understanding the distinction between these two words is critical to building a successful brand. Branding should be the foundation of all marketing efforts because it establishes the identity and personality of your business, which can then be communicated through various marketing channels such as advertising, social media, and content marketing.
3. Your logo is just one puzzle piece of your brand
Your logo is just one part of your brand. Your brand includes everything people say, think, and feel about your business when you're not in the room. It encompasses your:
- mission and vision
- and customer experience
Your brand should be consistent across all touch points with customers, from your website and social media presence to your physical location and customer service interactions. Creating a powerful brand means that your logo is just one component of a larger, more comprehensive brand strategy. When you create a powerful brand, your logo is just a vehicle to communicate that one little piece of who you are to the world.
4. Your brand is like an iceberg
Your brand is like an iceberg - there's a lot more substance and weight to what's under the surface. Beyond your logo and other visual components of your brand, there are foundational aspects of your brand that are often neglected because they're not visible. These include your mission and vision, values, brand personality, tone of voice, and messaging. These foundational pieces help to establish the identity and personality of your business and should be consistently communicated through all touch points with customers. By investing in these foundational aspects of your brand, you can create a powerful brand that resonates with your target audience and inspires loyalty in your customers.
5. Brand guidelines are essential
Brand guidelines are essential for a clear understanding of your brand by employees and customers. A comprehensive approach to brand guidelines will ensure that everyone who interacts with your brand has a clear understanding of who you are and what you stand for. Your brand guidelines should include:
- visual components such as logos, fonts, and color palettes
- your mission and vision
- tone of voice
- brand personality
- and audience
By establishing clear brand guidelines, you can ensure consistency across all touch points with customers and create a strong, recognizable brand identity.
Branding is critical to the success of your business. By understanding the power of your brand and taking the time to clarify and codify it, you can create a contagious culture internally that embodies your values and inspires loyalty in your customers. So don't underestimate the power of your brand - take the time to build a strong foundation that will set you apart from the competition.