Many small business owners I talk to already understand that branding is essential to their business, but a surprisingly high number of them don't really know why.
They recognise the link between successful businesses and strong branding, and aspire to build a brand that emulates similar success for themselves. And they understand that branding is not just a logo or how their business is perceived externally. But too few realise that successful brands have this branding at the heart of the business. So much so that in many ways you could almost substitute the word brand for business.
Branding is a way of defining your business to yourself, your team and your external audiences. It could be called the business' “identity”, but only on the understanding that it embodies the core of what the business is and its values, not just what it looks and sounds like. Customers of all sorts of businesses are so savvy today that they can see through most attempts by companies to gloss, spin or charm their way to sales.
The benefits that a strategically defined brand can bring are the same as when people fall in love with each other. When customers connect emotively - because they share the same values and beliefs of a brand - it leads to higher sales and better brand differentiation. It also leads to loyalty, advocacy and can even protect your price in times when competitors rely on promotional discounts to drive sales. It can also give you the ideal platform from which to extend your offering or range.
Here are 10 tips for a brandable business : -
1. Start by defining your brand.
2. When building your brand, think of it as a person.
3. Consider what is driving your business.
4. Aim to build long-term relationships with your customers.
5. Speak to your customers with a consistent tone of voice.
6. Don't repeat the same message in the same way over and over again.
7. Don't try to mimic the look of chains or big brands.
8. Be innovative, bold and daring - stand for something you believe in.
9. Always consider your branding when communicating with customers.
10. The old way of stamping your logo on everything won't cut it.