Why every small business needs a solid brand strategy and how to create yours
Your brand is the foundation around which your entire business and marketing are based.
Start-ups and smaller businesses often find it difficult to develop a clear brand that helps them stand out and resonate with potential customers.
Why have a brand?
Get your brand strategy nailed down and all else should lead from it. It will define the design and feel of your website, for example, and underpin all your marketing activity.
It defines what your business is about to you and your staff as well as your audience.
It’s not just that customers will easily recognize you online or on the high street. Strong brands create emotional connections.
What does that mean? Your customers stick with you and even influence others to buy your products or hire your services. When they see your logo, they have a sense of anticipation.
Strong brands lead to higher sales and more customers.
Here are some stats if you’re not completely convinced:
- When they’re fixing to support a brand, 86% of customers look for it to be authentic.
- 81% of customers who buy from a particular brand do so because they trust it.
- Including a signature color in your branding makes you more easily recognizable.
- Potential customers make up their minds about your brand in about half a second.
- Making your brand consistent across all channels improves engagement by 33%.
- 73% of customers point to good customer service as a reason for staying with a brand.
What is a brand strategy?
It’s more than just a logo and a nice web design.
That’s why developing a brand can be such a painful birthing process for businesses. It’s not easy. But it’s also why it’s the first thing you should do before you start developing areas like marketing.
According to Marketing Land:
“When it comes to having a brand strategy, it’s not enough to simply have a few bullet points of what you want to do. Brands today need both a thorough understanding of why they choose certain strategies and a detailed outline of what their strategies will be.”
You need to know, for a start what values your brand stands for.
- What promises are you making to customers which are intractable?
- How are you going to convey that personality through your marketing and other activities?
For many business owners, the concept of branding can be intangible and that’s okay. My advice is to keep at it. Burn the midnight oil. Get it right. Engage the intuitive side of your mind. And don’t give up.
There are lots of questions you need the answer to:
- What do my customers expect of me?
- What problem is my product or service solving?
- Who am I up against?
- How can I be different from them?
- What does my brand make my customers feel?
- How do I build trust?
Here’s my 5-point checklist to create your brand strategy:
1. What values does your brand stand for?
- What promises are you making to customers and how are you going to convey that personality through your marketing and other activities?
2. Who is your ideal customer?
- What problem is your product or service solving?
- How do you want your customers to feel when they experience your brand?
3. What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- What differentiates you from your competitors?
- How will you communicate this in your brand strategy?
4. What is your brand story?
The narrative which will bring your brand to life-based on:
- Your passion, experience, and expertise
- How your brand has triumphed in the face of adversity
- How your brand can help, support, influence, and provide a solution to your target audience's pain points?
5. What is your brand identity (now we can talk about logos…)
- What is the visual appearance and devices used to represent your brand such as logo/icons/imagery/typography/colors?
- How will it be applied across your marketing communications such as letterheads, business cards, sales literature, and transport livery?
Finally, your brand is something that you should revisit regularly. It can grow as your business grows. Don’t be afraid to add to it, tweak areas as things change, and make sure you deliver for your customers.
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