December 15, 2022 — Branding isn’t just for corporations. Small businesses also need to develop their brand if they want to grow a loyal customer base.
From your visual identity to public perception of your company, branding encompasses several elements, including some intangibles, that help shape how customers see your business.
So, do you have a recognizable brand? Is your business showing its personality?
While it can be easy to set aside branding efforts because of the day-to-day demands of running a business, tending to your brand is essential to marketing your small business.
In an article for The Hartford’s Small Biz Ahead blog, Belle Wong wrote that investing time and resources to build your brand is critical to long-term benefits.
Moreover, branding entails goes beyond a captivating logo and name, according to Allie Decker in a blog for Foundr.
“Building a brand includes everything from designing a logo, to gathering customer and employee perceptions, to defining your voice,” she writes. “It’s an expansive process that results in a narrow outcome: your brand.”
To further explain, she cites Luke Sullivan, author of Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, who says, “A brand is the “sum total of all the emotions, thoughts, images, history, possibilities, and gossip that exist in the marketplace about a certain company.”
Here’s a 3-point checklist to help you determine the health of your small business brand – and how you could improve or build on it.
Is Your Business Being ‘Real’?
Authenticity is often cited as a critical element in branding success. Consumers choose to shop at businesses that are transparent about who they are.
According to research by Stackla, 88 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support, writes Maryam Mohsin in an Oberlo blog.
“Consumers want brands to be honest,” she says Mohsin, head of media and communications for Bond, a UK-based network for organizations working in international development.
“So it’s not surprising that consumers expect the companies they buy from to be authentic in the way they present themselves and carry out their business.”
Take a good look at your website and other marketing content to see if you’re representing your business authentically.
“Brands can start being more authentic by being transparent and consistent in their branding and messaging by having values that they can stay true to, and, most importantly, by being honest,” writes Mohsin.
“This way, they’ll be able to build long-lasting relationships with their customers and prospects.”
Is Your Brand Driving Your Marketing?
In the blog for Small Biz Ahead, Wong points to the difference between branding and marketing.
Whereas branding is more long-term, she sayd, marketing involves reaching goals that are tactical in nature by using short-term objectives like sales and revenue growth, bigger market control and new customers.
Even with these differences, Wong writes, succeeding in your brand marketing strategy involves knowing the relationship between the two ideas.
“Branding serves as a guide for your marketing plan, while marketing promotes your business, products and services by building and leveraging the power of your brand.”
Are You Consistent Across Channels?
Check on everything from your messaging to your logo and other visuals to ensure your branding is consistent across channels. Doing so could make a difference.
A survey by web-based publishing app Lucidpress says consistent presentation of a brand indicated increased revenue by 33 percent, according to the blog by Mohsin.
Mohsin advised the importance of maintaining consistency with brand imagery as it allows customers to remember you easily or connect with your brand.