From local plumbers to Fortune 500 organizations, every company has a brand. Small and mid-sized businesses may feel like they don’t need a brand, but that’s off-base.
Before we dig in, let’s define a brand: it’s a unique statement about who you are and what you stand for. It’s more than a logo or a slogan and cuts to the core of a business.
When you look at it that way, it’s even more important for a small business to have a strong and purposeful brand. It’s how you differentiate from your competitors and connect to your audience. The more crowded your industry is, the more you need a great brand to stand out.
Think about pizza. There are more than 75,000 pizza joints in the U.S. Many are franchises with national marketing support. Some make incredible pizza, others don’t. Location matters, but that’s not the only factor. You need a brand. Here are the steps to creating one for your small business.
Think back to why you started the business and what you wanted to accomplish. That can help you hone in on your story and what makes your business unique. Don’t do it alone though, talk to your staff, friends, family, vendors and clients to see what they think. Encourage them to be honest, even if it hurts. They’ll tell you what they think about when they think of your company and you can compare that to your competitors to see where you stand. Research is crucial.
By now, you probably have a lot on the table. Look for common threads and messages that you keep hearing again and again. Zero in on those ideas that rise to the top and come up with a few words to identify which lane you want to be in. Spend time on this until you have something that is: 1-authentic; 2-unique; and 3-simple. Words matter.
Once you have that word or phrase locked in, audit every touch point your business has – social media, fonts, logos, ads, displays, décor and so on. Are they all telling that brand story? If not, they need to be. Adjust as necessary and make sure everything you do is telling that authentic, unique and simple brand consistently. Frequency is key.
A brand’s number one job is to help you stand out. It’s not easy to perfect, but when you nail it, your business will see the dividends.
If you are having trouble defining or promoting your brand, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Especially if you’re a pizza joint – I love a good slice.
Once your small business has its branding defined, get it in front of new customers by optimizing for search.