Branding a probable heavy sounding word with loads of intricate working and mechanics operating this 5-letter word.
Understanding the crux is the key. And for that, you need a marketing guru (read me) to guide you!
So, let’s get forth with the journey into the world of branding for small businesses.
Now before I begin with my argument, let’s first have a little storytelling session. You know how the story goes:
Branding for Prospering
Once upon a time- just kidding…
So, my friend from college recently launched his startup, like a year ago. He rented out this small shop and sold fancy clothes.
Even though it was a small business, he focused on two things from the beginning:
Now, you wonder, why did he focus so much on branding?
What advantages could branding possibly offer his startup?
Me and my friends, we all were quick to find that out.
He offered exceptional customer service, identified his target audience, and made a catchy and chic logo to highlight his clothing collection. We all then saw the benefit of branding for my friend’s business- and oh boy, was it huge!
The business soon started seeing familiar faces- people who were highly pleased with the staff especially, income boosted, more and more investors became interested in becoming silent partners.
Following this, my friend began an ecommerce store, which also helped him make sales outside of his locality. Talk about luck backed by brains!
The lesson it gave everyone was that branding is a vital factor to target, regardless of your business’s size.
Creating brand awareness and recognition for your small business helps expand your business and shine amongst competitors in the market.
Now that I’ve proven its significance let me share five advantages of branding for small businesses.
One primary benefit of branding for your business is that you create a level of trust with not just customers but also other stakeholders. Be it your buyers or suppliers- even competitors- branding helps develop evidence and assurance of your quality.
Take your example, for instance. As you visit a store, or better yet, want to place an order on any online website, the things you first notice are reviews and ratings.
You search for basically anything that provides validity to the business name. And most of the time, you tend to reorder from your trusted brands.
That is the beauty- and one of the advantages of branding. Developing brand recognition for your small business avoids people being skeptical about you and being more willing to buy from you. It helps your brand create a powerful impact.
If you place yourself in your customer’s shoes, will you be buying from someone who no one has heard of? Or will you prefer someone who has a well-established name?
I am sure your answer would be the second option. SO hopefully, you understand what I mean to emphasize here.
Small business branding pays for a very long time—one way is by creating loyal customers. Buyers appreciate being a part of a brand and being associated with something worthwhile.
As you accomplish a unique selling point and make a name for your business that is respected in the market,
Your customers will stick around and continue buying from you- again and again. The sense of purchasing from a ‘brand’ truly does matter.
Also, you know the general rule, the cost of acquiring new customers is less than the cost of retaining the existing ones. So, if you want your small firm to prosper for a long time- and expand in scale as well, having brand loyal customers is an operational essential for you.
This benefit links to the first one I made above. We established the fact that branding boosts the integrity of your business, right? Moving on, as you create this bond of assurance with others, you simultaneously increase the willingness of people to invest in your firm.
A favorable asset figure isn’t the only thing potentials view to make decisions. They also consider your firm’s goodwill- the notability your business has in the industry’s eyes.
A reputable and robust branding for small business helps highlight you for the people looking to invest their money in a firm that promises returns.
I mentioned above how essential loyal customers are for your business. But never forget that new customers are the oxygen tank for your further growth. If you wish to reach higher milestones, doing so with just existing customers might be a challenging task to accomplish.
But how exactly does small business branding bring new customers?
Referrals soon follow a recognized and validated brand. Word of mouth and recommendations work their charms to attract new customers to your business.
Let me throw in an example,
You just bought a pair of pumps from a local business. They are so comfortable and adorable that you can’t help but rave about them in front of your friends or family.
The result: the chances are that one of your friends will buy from that shop too, even though it’s a small business but because it has established strong brand integrity.
An important read for you: Branding 101: Create a feeling, not just a brand
I fear you might roll your eyes, but- another example is coming your way. That would make my case more relatable for you, I assure you. So, hear me out, please.
Imagine that you are applying for a job- which organization would you prefer? A branded one or an unbranded one? Speaking in a general sense, I’m sure we all would like to be a part of a branded firm.
The knowledge of working for a well-known business-
A firm that has earned the respect of its customers and continues to flourish each day-
That will have your employees feel proud of being a part of something great. It will boost their satisfaction levels, making them more productive and fulfill their responsibilities more healthily.
That is the branding benefit you offer to your employees. Of course, it doesn’t just stop there. A happy and motivated workforce will improve the performance of your business and improve your profitability.
The success route map to small business branding
So now, since you know the benefits of branding your small business can enjoy, you may worry how to go about it?
To be honest, it is no rocket science; on the other hand, it’s a game of intuitions and understanding the customer’s needs and wants. It would be best if you delved into the psychological depths of the customer’s mind to fathom what they would want and how you can appeal to them.
This might seem like loads of graphs and charts, and calculations to you. Wrapping your head around such technicalities when you are already musing over how to grow your business may get complicated.
So here I am simplifying things for you and to help you on your journey of small business branding:
Give your brand an identity
You unquestionably can’t imagine people recognizing you from XYZ similar business without you having an identity, right?
This is why you need to foster one. Many small business owners tend to confuse branding with logos. To enjoy branding benefits, your logo must be bringing an A-game to the table.
Logos, yes, definitely an integral part of your business, but they need to be backed up. Let’s go for an example again!
Business 1: A flashy logo with multiple colors but no sense of mission, vision and CSR.
Business 2: A well thought out logo that showcases what the business stands for, like a tailoring business with a spool of thread and needles. This shows the connection! People can connect the logo and the company.
If you want your audience to feel the same connection, make sure that you never lean towards a logo creator just to save a few bucks.
Well, I’ve written an entire blog on this matter, “Why “Logo Makers” and “Logo Creator” are Just Garbage?” Head to this blog, you’ll be surprised to read some interesting revelations.
First of all, you need to understand that you can’t just be for everyone! At least not when you are starting. You need to identify the people who would connect with you and will be needing the product or the service that you are selling.
You surely can’t sell football training camps for the elderly, can you? Similarly, imagine marketing diet food to kids. It would be marketing chaos.
Identify the strata, the age group and the income groups that could be interested in your brand and then market. It would definitely be a success.
When you establish your business, you have one unique thing in your mind that makes you stand apart from the competition. That, my friend, is your USP. It is the crux of small business branding.
Realize your USP; here, I will not say to identify it because USP is one solid ground on which you build, or you get the notion to develop your business. So, it’s all about marketing it and creating a win-win situation. Do you sell leather jackets? Your USP could be the quality of the leather or the customization options you might offer your buyers.
Well, not sure about you, but adding the “me” factor will be an attractive option for me.
When you want the branding benefit to kick in, you need to ensure that you are visually appealing.
Visually appealing is not just about having the right color palette. It’s much more. It’s about the arrangement of elements, the simplicity of design and the layout.
It is like a virtual brick and mortar store for you. It needs to have the right color choices, and perfect color glares to find it soothing and enjoy browsing around.
You may want to read also: Merchandise Branding: Why Is It So Important For Your Brand?
They should all have the same color theme and scheme that your logo has. This helps build a synchronistic approach and then make people associate the themes and colors with your brand.
Knowing it and flaunting it right can take your business places. This is what you need to understand. Saying and showcasing that you know about your business is one thing, but emphasizing the fact that you literally own the field is how small business branding can be successful.
They are the game changers that your business needs today. From Instagram to Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, you need to market your brand on all fronts to make sure your voice is heard, your brand seen and your product attracting suitable attention.
People tend to mess up or take the power of social media for granted. But in reality, social media is the biggest platform. Your business gets the reach of millions in one go.
Social media helps build your credibility for the long run and enhances your presence, nurturing brand loyalty.
The end-result we all seek
Every business has a dream!
A dream to be the winner and be the talk of the town. Branding in a positive light can help your business grow and motivate the buyer to purchase from you. Goodwill, integrity and honesty are what makes your small business achieve newer heights.
Failing to deliver what you have painted your brand as results in a breach of trust. A breach that can cost your customers, and even your business.
You should also learn about Brand Differentiation
Branding benefits small businesses in more ways than you can think. I hope I managed to persuade you all off.
Your business needs the right kind of branding to take off and reach the desired success. It gives your business the individuality and the carve that individuality you need to put in the right direction.
I have shared the blueprint of the success plan you can follow, but feel sure to add more in the comments. For we all are constantly learning as the process of learning is what ensures growth and success.
Make pointers and develop strategies that you think will work to create and strengthen your brand’s identity. What are you waiting for? Get started and bask in the returns.
Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.
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