Branding Guide For Small Business Owners

branding

Do you own a small business and are you struggling to get your brand out there? Looking to increase sales or build a larger loyal customer base? To be successful, you have to know how branding works and why it’s especially important for small businesses.

Truth is, the struggles of a small business are real and you are not alone. Heck, even your competitors have challenges they need to overcome just as you do. Good news is that you can fix (or avoid) most of these issues through branding which has several benefits which we will explore in this article.

But before we show you how branding can help solve many common problems and some of the major benefits, let’s take a step back and talk about what branding really is.

What Is Branding?

Firstly, branding is more than just creating a stylish logo. In order for your business to stand out, you need a cohesive approach to branding. While it encompasses several elements, branding is essentially everything your customer sees, feels, hears and even tastes.

Your brand is the perception of how people see your business. This also includes what your business does and how well it does it. If people believe in your business and what it offers, then your branding is how you influence those beliefs. It’s all about telling your brand’s story which will make customers feel and believe certain facts.

Think Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Apple among many other hugely successful enterprises. Over the years, these companies have developed winning strategies in terms of design, branding, marketing and sales with the key to success being cohesive branding.

How Branding Influences Your Audience

While marketing and branding efforts differ for all business types, the most common are visuals, the company’s foundation and content of course. Visuals include things like logos, icons and images which can all influence the perception of your business.

In terms of ‘foundation’, we refer to your mission statement, vision and other core values. These can also influence how your audience feels about your brand. We don’t have to tell you how important quality content is and that include blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics and even advertising copy. These are all highly effective methods of communicating with your audience to help influence their opinion.

8 Reasons Why Branding Is So Important

Based on what we’ve already covered, you should have a good understanding of what branding is. Now, let’s take a look at the top 8 reasons why it is such an essential part of running a successful business.

Branding Promotes Recognition

Brand recognition is an important one as there aren’t any small business owners who don’t want people to recognise their name. The only way to get recognition is by employing a strong branding strategy. If your strategy is unique and appeals to your audience in an interesting way, they will undoubtedly remember your name.

Branding Helps Tell Your Story

With every great brand comes a good story, or at least it should. The idea is to tell your story in such a way that your target audience just knows that you are the best fit for them. A good brand strategy lets your audience know who you are, what you do, why you do it and how your business will change their life for the better.

Instils A Sense Of Trust

People and businesses operate on trust and a cohesive branding strategy will help. Trust is how your business can grow, increase sales and engagement while encouraging a loyal audience. Put simply, if people feel they can trust your brand, they are more likely to do business with you.

Trust can be built in several ways but branding is probably one of the most effective. If your brand comes across more professional and trustworthy, prospects will respect you more. People aren’t stupid and can instantly recognise when you have made an effort to brand cohesively.

Increases Your Brand’s Value

A strong branding strategy can absolutely increase the value of your business and not only in terms of assets. While your physical stock, vehicles, office equipment and other assets may total £150k, it could be worth much more thanks to good branding. Invest a little in properly getting your brand out there and you will reap the rewards down the line.

It Gives Your Business A Better Sense Of Direction

Whether you’re a sole trader, solopreneur or a global conglomerate, everyone needs a clear direction of where your business is headed. Good branding can provide you with that direction while keeping you on track to meet and exceed expectations. A good brand strategy will give everyone in your business the tools to meet the necessary goals in order to succeed cohesively. It effectively lays the foundation for what you do and don’t do as a business.

Helps With Lead Generation And Increased Revenue

Let’s face it, all businesses want to make money but that requires leads who will convert into paying customers. Small business owners still rely on word of mouth advertising and while it’s still an immensely powerful marketing tool, what happens if your branding strategy doesn’t make an impression and they forget your name?

Remember, your brand name, logo, marketing materials and other content stay top of mind long after doing business with you. So make a conscious effort, invest some extra time and money to create high-quality brand assets and content. Without a good strategy in place, your lead generation efforts will go unnoticed and your revenue will tank.

Related: ‘Key Components Of A Brand Style Guide

It Promotes Emotional Connections And Responses

No detail is too small as everything your potential customers see will form an emotional response to your business. This includes simple elements like font type, brand colours and words to the more serious mission statement and core values. The goal of business branding is to encourage a positive feeling in people. The whole point is to get them so emotionally invested that they feel they have to buy from you.

Branding Provides A Strong Competitive Advantage

Every small, medium or large business has competition in some shape or form. Today, facing a number of competitors is unavoidable which means you need a unique branding strategy to set yourself apart from the rest. Give your business its own voice and personality with unique designs, content and personalisation to truly sway potential customers.

Case Study: Coca-Cola

Looking at Coca-Cola, there’s probably no-one on the planet who hasn’t heard the name or seen an ad whether it’s on television, online, a billboard or magazine. You probably think that Coca-Cola was developed by a big, successful business person but it wasn’t.

In fact, John Pemberton created this less toxic version of the popular coca wines back in the late 1800s. He was a pharmacist who found the right blend of ingredients totally by accident and perfected the mix according to feedback from everyone he sold it to.

How Did Coca-Cola Become So Successful?

The first year, John Pemberton only sold 25 gallons (9 drinks per day) totalling around $50. He had spent $73 on advertising which means it actually made a loss. About five years later, a few businessmen bought the rights to Coca-Cola for only $2,300 and that’s when everything changed. Hard to believe it was a cocaine-infused elixir which became a sugary drink by 1929.

Here’s how they achieved success from the onset:

  • A unique, market-tested formula
  • The logo is simple but effective and uses a timeless font
  • They distributed the beverages in a proprietary bottle
  • Fixed consumer price for 70 years. This is unbelievable don’t you think? Who keeps prices the same for that long?
  • Coca-Cola perfected word-of-mouth advertising and developed a strong brand voice
  • They adopted a franchise model

Read the full story here: ‘Strategies Coca-Cola Used To Become An Iconic Brand

Coca-Cola Branding
This Coca-Cola advertisement from the 1890s fits perfectly into their strategy of portraying a premium soda distinguished from its competitors (Image source: Coca-Cola)

Conclusion

Without branding in one way or another, your business might as well not exist. Creating a quality visual representation of who you are and what your business does will go a long way in building a lasting impression. Among others, with the right strategic and unique approach, you could build trust, increase potential revenue, and get instant recognition while meeting your customers’ requirements.

If you need any help promoting your brand in 2020, get in touch with WSI eMarketing for a FREE consultation. We specialise in several areas including PPC, content marketing, SEO, social media marketing and marketing automation among others.

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About Rob Thomas

Rob lives and breathes Social Technology, Social Media & Mobile Marketing. He will show you how to use them to improve many areas of your bottom line, not just Marketing! He’ll show you how to enhance and protect your reputation, whilst generating increased sales, reduced costs and improved customer acquisition and retention. Recognised as an expert in reputation management, digital and mobile marketing, Rob is a professional speaker both in the U.S. and across Europe. In addition to consultation services, including the “12 step process to achieve Social Proficiency” programme, Rob also coaches, trains and provides implementation services to help business owners, organisational leaders and their teams. If you want/need Rob to speak at one of your events please email him rob.thomas@wsi-emarketing.com You can follow me on Google+