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Why Your Small Business Should Care More About Branding

By: Lexie Lu

 

Why Your Small Business Should Care More About Brand

Your brand is more about how people see your business than how you present your business. While there are some things you can do to change people’s perceptions, many businesses don’t fully understand branding or have limited time to put into it. Small businesses may struggle to find the time and resources to get the word out and develop a brand personality.

The most valuable brand in the world is Amazon—worth around $188 billion. The world sees this e-commerce giant as full of inventory with fast delivery. How do you want the world to see your brand? If you haven’t really thought much about your business’s perception versus who you are as a business, branding forces you to consider the difference.

There are many benefits to branding and reasons for why you should care more about it than you currently do.

1. Make Your Brand Memorable

The colors you use in your branding can increase brand recognition, but there are many other ways to make your brand memorable. Standard marketing knowledge states it takes somewhere between five and seven impressions before a person remembers your company. When you don’t focus on branding, it’s difficult to create a consistent message which resonates with buyers and allows them to remember who you are and what you offer.

2. Drive Marketing Efforts

Digging into who you are as a brand drives your marketing efforts, and encourages your promotional team toward campaigns which reflect your purpose as a company. Spend time defining how you want people to see your brand. What is your purpose and why do you do what you do?

For example, if you want to help new retirees, your marketing will focus on advertising in AARP, a Facebook campaign targeting that demographic and an easy-to-navigate website. You wouldn’t spend a lot of time or effort creating a Snapchat campaign as few retirees use that social media network. Spend your promotional dollars wisely and choose the right social channels in line with your brand.

3. Retain the Best Employees

Employee churn is a serious problem in most companies. The national average for employee turnover is around 23 percent. If your churn is higher, then you may have some work to do. There are many reasons for churn, but one of the reasons can be that the employees don’t fully understand the mission of the company or feel part of the process.

Companies with strong branding often create emotional ties with their employees and customers. When it’s clear what everyone works toward, collaborations become friendlier and employees better understand their purpose. You’ll also need to pay competitive wages and develop a positive company atmosphere, but understanding your brand allows you to implement programs which tie into the core of your business.

4. Tap Into Emotions

When you know who you are as a brand, it allows you to figure out what emotions to tap into when marketing. For example, if you focus on helping children in third world countries receive footwear, then you’ll tap into the tender emotions people feel when they think about a small child walking through the hot dirt without shoes on their feet. You’ll tie your marketing into compassion and family-oriented feelings.

Ideally, your mission should tie into what you do as a brand. Think about companies such as TOMS, which sells shoes but also donates shoes to children in need. Their branding is spot on because their purpose aligns with their product and their branding all comes back to shoes, giving shoes, making shoes, selling shoes and donating shoes.

5. Illustrate Your Value

Branding gives you a chance to illustrate the value of your company. With some businesses, it might be immediately noticeable what value they add to the world. A company that makes clean drinking water has a clear value to those who desire clean water. On the other hand, if you sell donuts, what is the value you provide? You could position them as bringing people together and creating excitement for a morning meeting.

You might have to dig a bit deeper to figure it out, but your product or service offers value to your client base or you wouldn’t be in business.

6. Create Trust

Developing strong brand recognition creates trust between you and new customers. In a recent measurement of consumer trust in businesses, trust dropped to 48 percent. Trust comes from more than just marketing campaigns, however. It also ties into the entire customer experience (CX). If you aren’t already tracking how your current customers feel about your brand and what they say, you miss a key factor in your branding efforts.

A poor review on one site is seen by many potential customers and may drive them away from your business and into the arms of a competitor. The way others see your brand, particularly those who’ve done business with your brand, defines you. Ensure you give customers excellent CX to avoid negative reviews whenever possible. If you do receive a negative review, do your best to rectify the situation.

7. Overtake the Competition

Strong branding makes you stand out from the competitors in your field, especially if your business is local. Think about some of the small local businesses around you. Imagine a law firm with a name such as “The Hammer”—they could advertise frequently by illustrating how they bring the hammer down and integrating the title. Think about what makes your business unique and play it up in all your advertising and marketing efforts.

8. Highlight Shared Values

Millennials, in particular, care about the values of the brands they buy from, but even those in the older generation are more and more sensitive to company values. What are your values as a company? Your brand values can be as simple as improving the lives of those in your community or as complex as adopting a particular cause. Be cautious of highly sensitive topics as you may alienate some of your potential customers if you get too political.

9. Charge More for Goods and Services

When you have clear branding and people know the value of your work over that of your competitors, you can charge more for your products and services. When starting your new business, it’s common to charge low prices to get those initial clients. However, once you develop a good reputation, you can up your prices and make more profit.

Stand Out From the Crowd

In a world where businesses clamor for consumer attention both online and offline, anything you can do to stand out from the crowd drives your business success. Branding adds value because it shows what is unique about your company. If competitors aren’t focused on branding, then you’re likely to stand out even more because of the unique message you have.

Think about some of the local restaurants in your town. Which ones stand out from the others? What is the branding behind their success? Perhaps they are known for family food that is fast and cheap. Maybe they are the only place in town where you can get a particular dessert. Learn from the successful branding efforts of other businesses and apply the techniques to your own business.

Published: June 10, 2019
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Lexie Lu

Lexie Lu is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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