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Branding Series: How Does It Relate To You?

business | design | marketing by Shannon Noack on April 19, 2011 | 0 Comments

branding Our last few posts have been all about branding, starting out with our discussion on what a brand is and then moving onto some examples of great & powerful brands that are out there today. This post concludes our branding series, and we’ll talk about how it all relates to you and your small business. I’ve read lots of articles and books on branding and I think the biggest thing people don’t cover is how a small business owner can relate to Starbucks and what they can do to make a great brand as well. Today, we’ll give you some applicable tips that you can start implementing for your business right away.

Define your brand

Before you can improve your image, you need to define how you want others to see you. Sitting down and giving some thought to what you want your brand to be, will help you get started on applying that.

1. Define your audience

The best first step for any company’s brand is to define who they want to reach. Many companies don’t do this and I believe that is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in business. If you fail to define an audience, then how do you know how to reach people or even who to reach? A clear vision of who you’re selling to will help you decide on everything else.

2. Figure out what differentiates you

Every company must have a unique selling point (USP) and that is what makes you stand out and better than your competitors. It could be that you’re the best value for the services you sell, or that you provide the best services in your area, or that you sell something completely different than everyone else. Take a good look at your competition and decide how you are different, or how you could be different. You need to use that to sell people on buying with you.

3. Define your style

Your style will largely depend on your audience and your USP, so it’s best to decide those first. After you figure those out, you can decide what kind of style suits those best and how to communicate your best attributes. If your company sells to 15-25 year olds in New York then you may want to think about using an edgy style that will appeal to that age range and geographical location.

Apply your brand

Now that you know how you want others to view your company, let’s look at how we can make that happen!

1. Make sure your customer service is up to par.

One of the best ways to boost your image is to increase your customer service. Think about who answers your phone and how they handle calls. Look at your receptionist and how they greet people that walk in. All of these are important factors for how people feel about their experience with you. You can sell really great things, but if people have a bad experience with your company, the quality of your brand goes down.

2. Look at your storefront.

Much of your brand is about image and how you represent yourself. Your storefront, whether you have a virtual storefront or a brick and mortar building, is important to your image. Make sure it represents you well and makes people feel comfortable.

3. Make sure your marketing materials communicate the right vibe.

The image you send through your website, business card, advertisements, etc are all sending a message to your potential customers, whether you want them to or not. Put some real time and thought into how they look and how usable they are. If people find your website hard to use, they will interpret your company in this way too. Every experience they have with you needs to match and be the quality you want.

There are tons of other things you can do to ensure your brand is on track with where you want it to be, but these steps should help you get started. Remember that creating a great brand is a process, and it’s not something that will magically happen overnight, no matter how much time you put into it! Start implementing some steps and making improvements and you will see a difference!


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