By now, we all should recognize our business needs it’s own unique image and personality in order to market with success. People are drawn to originality and will remember a company’s logo, mission phrase, or design theme (if it’s a good one). Modern marketing has wrapped this process up into a term called branding. Branding your business should include everything from your logo, your promise to your customer, the image of who you are, what your business is about, your website, your voice, etc. So how do you use these qualities to brand your business so that it stands out?
Consistency is probably the single most important tip for creating a strong branding strategy. Place your logo on everything from your website to your packaging, the sign on your store, company letterheads and email signatures. A uniform font and design theme should also be consistent. Steady branding develops a strong sense of value in a customer’s mind, allowing you to charge more for your products than the competitor without a branding strategy. Consistent branding builds trust and credibility by adding a perceived level of value that people will pay more for.
There’s also an intangible side of branding that many businesses miss. Once the company’s logo is slapped on every box and whitepaper, many businesses fail to back up their branding because the voice they portray doesn’t flow with who they are claiming to be. For example, could you imagine if McDonald’s, with their family-friendly branding strategy, posted an article on Twitter in support of China’s one child law? That would create a bit of distrust in their brand, being that McDonald’s prides itself on helping children, yet they would tweet a child bearing restriction article. So make sure your voice is consistent with your perceived brand through all intangible avenues such as social media, customer service calls and even what you wear to business meetings. It all speaks to others about who you are.
Ask Yourself Questions
As a business, ask yourself questions that your customers are going to ask such as, “What’s your purpose? Why did you create this business? What do you support? How can you help your customers?” By defining your purpose, knowing how to brand will become easier. Decide what you want your customers to know about you and be aware of any misconceptions they might already have about your field. Try to offer something different, and through clear description of the benefits you have to offer, invite customers to give your product or service a try. If you don’t have anything different to offer, try offering it in a unique way to gain that extra edge over your competitor.
Take us for example. When we first started branding, we began as just another “website design and development” company with a good cause. There was nothing special or unique that made us stand out from our competitors. As time progressed, we settled into our niche of who we wanted to be and what we truly wanted to represent. We now brand ourselves as a website design and development movement that helps launch small businesses into 21st century web marketing and maximizes their online presence. We understand new customers can be found online by the boatload and business marketing is moving in that direction. It’s our passion to lead business owners to see the same.
Branding by Association
It’s your job to get others to see what you see. If you are having trouble with that, joining a network of other businesses that support similar values and products might help. Becoming part of a network helps brand your business by referral. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing avenues and being associated with a highly referred business ups your credibility. Remember this works in reverse, too. The organization in which you choose to sponsor and support adds to your branding strategy, so choose the ones you would be proud to be associated with and that accurately portray what your business is interested in.
So, from a customer’s point of view, what does your image say about doing business with you? Is it clear? Do you offer something unique or in a unique way? Perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of your business as a product or service provider and start thinking of it as a means to educate, inform and engage people. Often times when you lead your branding strategy with the “Why?”, customers will naturally be interested in the “What”.