It’s critical for small business owners to make a lasting impression on their customers. That’s why branding – which creates a distinct identity for your business – is a valuable investment that can help set your business apart from competitors.
Branding includes elements such as a logo, mission statement, and a consistent theme throughout your marketing communications. When properly implemented, these elements come together to grab your customer’s attention and make your business memorable. And the good news is, you don’t need the resources of a large corporation to create your own unique brand.
Here are four essential steps that will help you develop a valuable brand:
If you want your brand to resonate with your customers, you need to understand what motivates them. It’s often helpful to create buyer personas, which are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers.
When building your personas, define their likes, values, and goals, as well as demographic factors such as age, gender and occupation. When you have defined personas, it’s easier to create a brand your customers will love.
Branding goes far beyond your company’s logo. It includes your values and mission, how you interact with customers, and the look and feel of your visual assets. Because your brand influences your marketing strategy, it’s important to create an identity that effectively represents your business.
As you develop your brand identity, consider asking the following questions:
As you develop your brand, it will be easier to promote this identity to customers – helping you stand out and grow your business.
Your visual identity is the most identifiable aspect of your company and influences how people interact with you. If you’ve abandoned a website because it was poorly designed or decided not to patronize a restaurant because it looked unkempt and unwelcoming, you understand how visuals impact the customer experience.
When designing your brand visuals, pay close attention to your logo, fonts, brand colors and overall visual style. It needs to be consistent with the brand identity you developed. For example, if your business is named, “Joe’s American Coffee,” it wouldn’t make sense to include Mount Fuji in your logo.
Because visual design will impact your brand for years to come, you might want to invest in a graphic designer or branding consultant to implement these steps.
Every business has competitors. If you want your business to stand out, identify and promote your brand’s unique value proposition — the things that make your business different from competitors. It’s essentially your company’s “secret sauce” that should be emphasized in every aspect of your branding strategy.
For example, do you provide a unique product or service? Does your customer service set the standard in your industry? Has your family business been in operation for multiple generations? Regardless of what your unique value proposition is, integrate it into your brand identity.
Remember, a strong brand creates better customer acquisition and greater marketing power — ultimately paving the way to increased sales and revenue. Investing in your company’s brand will separate your business from competitors and position you for success.
— Joseph Guimond is a counselor in Zions Bank’s Idaho Business Resource Center. He can be contacted at 208-501-7503 or [email protected]. Zions Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC.