Updated: Dec 12, 2019
10 steps to build a solid brand First of all what is a brand? The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of any of these elements intended to identify the goods and/or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
So if a brand is any visual symbol that helps people recognize your business, what does it mean to brand your business? Branding is the process of adding your logo, color pallet, image, as well as your contact details, website url and the like to everything associated with your business, including giveaways, hand-outs, brochures, website, business cards, social media posts and more.
Here’s how to build your business brand in 10 (not always easy) steps:
1. CREATE A MESSAGE A message is a clear and concise definition of what your business does or provides. Sometimes a slogan can also be a business message – but it needs to include the essence of what your business actually does. Ambiguous business slogans such as Nike’s iconic “Just Do It” or L’Oreal’s “Because You’re Worth It” only work because we are well-aware of what these established companies sell. A small, unknown business would not succeed with such vague messaging or slogans.
2. TELL YOUR STORY We love to hear stories - so what is your behind-the-scenes story? What is the story of why and/or how your started your business? These types of stories can create a bond between you and potential clients and can be the difference between a client buying from you or from your competitor.
3. USE YOUR VOICE TO TALK TO YOUR CLIENTS Now that you have your story, it’s time to share it. Part of your personality and the personality of your clients must be reflected in how you communicate with them; we call this your voice. This voice must walk a fine line between how you talk in real-life and how you talk to clients; always remember your client must be the center of attention NOT you.
4. BE DIFFERENT Your business lives in two worlds: the small (maybe huge) world of similar-businesses and the wide world where everyone lives. How is your business different from someone else's business? What makes it distinctive? Think about Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola – they both have cola in their names – but each has its own personality. messaging and distinctive taste. What makes your business distinctive? Do you provide your services in three languages? At all hours of the day or night, 24-7? In people’s homes or in a van?
5. BE MEMORABLE for the right reasons. Provide outstanding services and people will remember you. Clients must feel the love, especially from a small business. Going that extra mile, sharing information, helping someone without expecting something in return, builds a bond that goes beyond selling a product or service.
6. CREATE A STRONG BUSINESS NAME AND LOGO A strong business name and a memorable and recognizable logo are important tools in differentiating yourself from your competition; especially on social media where your clients’ range of choices is mind boggling. The question of whether to use your name or invent a business name - doesn't have a either-or answer; but it is worthy to note that service providers such as lawyers usually use their last names, for example Cohen, Cohen & Schwartz, whereas technology companies are usually invented names such as Microsoft and Apple. Find a name that “talks to you” – but remember, as a small business owner, you can always change your business name – nations will not fall nor angels cry. Just one caveat: stay clear of imitating the big boys of your industry; it will not bring you any extra points – it will just be a reminder of how much bigger and stronger they are.
7. SELECT AN APPROPRIATE COLOR PALETTE Your color palette – the colors you use on your website, business card, printed materials and images helps clients identify your business immediately. Select colors that are appropriate to your business area and your potential clientele. Here’s a great tool to help: https://www.canva.com/color-palette/
8. BE CONSISTENT IN ALL YOUR BRANDING ACTIVITIES Include your logo and color palette in everything you create from a simple signup sheet to every ad and post.
9. BUILD TRUST Build a community of followers and build trust. Invest the majority of your marketing time and effort in regularly communicating your message in the primary places where your potential clients will be found and build a following. Are your potentials more likely to be found on an online forum or a Facebook group or a LinkedIn group or a physical networking group or a shul? As a small business owner your resources of time, money and manpower are limited – invest your resources where they will be the most effective.
10. SHAMPOO AND REPEAT Building your brand is not a one-time process; as your business grows and develops, the type of services/products you provide may vary and change as you fine tune what you offer your clients and that change must be reflected in your messaging and your branding.
After designing and creating your product(s) or service(s), building your brand is one of the most essential activities for your business’ success. Invest the time to build your branding properly to put your business on the road to success.
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Do you want to open yourself to a more successful business? Are you lost in the social media jungle? Let me help you re-energize your business and rediscover your passion in your profession. We’ll work together to improve your marketing strategy and online exposure and find the perfect target markets for your business. Contact me today to schedule a free introductory meeting.