3 tips for building a successful small-business brand
The power of branding should never be underestimated. It's the reason people are willing to pay that extra amount for a drink from Coca-Cola, a handbag from Gucci or a T-shirt from Adidas.
These are all examples from large globalised businesses, but the principles are the same for small businesses too. An effective brand can help build lasting relationships with customers as well as boost revenues and profits.
Here are three essential things to do when developing your small business's brand.
1) Define your target market with buyer personas
The first step in building a brand for your company is to understand who it is you're trying to reach. Just as you would speak in a different way to your Mum as you would your best friend, the way you speak to your customers depends on who they are.
While you might have an informal understanding of who you're trying to speak to with your brand, a good way to formalise this is to create buyer personas. These are fictional profiles of customers you take to be representative of your customer base. You'll want to include as much detail as possible. Age, sex, income, interests – anything you think may be relevant in defining who your target market is.
The best way to create buyer personas is with a combination of market research and any data you may have on your customer base, such as surveys or interviews. This way they're informed not only by internal data, but external data too, which should help to ensure you're not casting your net too shallow or deep.
2) Communicate value with graphic design
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but when you have nothing else to go on, you will.
Customers will look poorly on a website that looks sloppy or unpolished. They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but when you have nothing else to go on, you will. And when a new customer comes across your website or your promotional materials, how it looks is one of the few things they have to evaluate your company.
Invest the time into developing a professional looking logo, as well as a set of 'brand design principles' like colour schemes and graphic style elements. This is a part of the broader business planning that takes some forethought. Consistency in the image you project is a big part of effective branding. It's the reason companies like Cadbury have (successfully) sued others that sell their chocolate in purple packaging – it's a visual signal that's strongly associated with the brand.
3) Create something customers can relate to
A small business with no logo, no branding, no story, can be hard for consumers to identify with and relate to.This, of course, is a problem as building a business to customer relationship is the primary goal of branding.
A logo and colour scheme is a great start, but it's not enough for people to connect with. What's important is tying your story, your values, the experiences you provide to the visual elements in your brand. The apparel company TOMS is a good example of this – they have a snazzy brand, and a consistent look and feel to their website and products. But the reason their branding is effective is not because of these graphic elements alone. it's because they've told their brand story – giving a free pair of shoes to someone in need every time someone buys a pair of theirs – and tied that to the other elements. When people see the TOMS logo, they don't just think "there's a nice logo". They are reminded of the brand story that's associated with it.
Creating a brand for your small business doesn't have to be hard – it's just talking in the right way to the right people. If you're after some more advice from a specialised business consulting team, get in touch with the team at Wilson Porter today.