Essential Guide To Creating A Memorable Brand For Your Small Business

Branding is all about resonating with your target audience. If you want to cut through the incessant chatter of the online world or make an impact in the offline world, then your brand needs to say a lot about you.

But how do you go about creating a brand that both reflects what you do and that forms a connection with your customers? For small and mid-sized businesses on a budget, it’s a tough job. So we’ve put together this guide to help you find some answers.

Branding by EdgeThreeSixty via CC BY 2.0

Ask yourself who you are

Be honest about your business and who you are. While some companies, such as legal firms and funeral homes, should stick with a serious or solemn image, others can go with a more lighthearted, cheeky or even humorous approach.

This is where small businesses have an advantage. We can position ourselves as local companies who are helping our local economies while battling corporate behemoths who are sending profits far away. This ‘us vs. them’ message can work well; check out the Brew Dog story for inspiration.

“Every brand has a story, and your story is integral to your success.”

Get your target audience right

To create a successful brand, you have to know who you are talking to, so researching your market is an essential part of the process. Find out who your customers are, what they do, and where they live.

Also, look at what they like and what encourages them to respond. What are their fears, hopes and dreams? Once you have learned enough about your target audience(s), you can create a tone of voice that connects with them.


Be consistent

Great branding is consistent. When people see your business, they should know exactly what to expect. So it’s important to reflect the same brand message throughout your organization. Make sure that employees, partners and anyone else spreading your message are using your tone of voice. Look at managed print services that can keep your marketing materials consistent. Give people what they expect, and they will continue to trust and work with you.


Be yourself

As a small business, you face disadvantages when competing against a national or global company. Don’t try to copy their branding and positioning, because you don’t have their resources to achieve the same results.

You have to look for a unique aspect of your business that differentiates you from your competition and let people know what that is. If they beat you on price, then offer value-added services that they can’t possibly match. There will be many things that you can do better than the big players, so figuring those out — and promoting them — is vital to your brand.

Related reading: Mad Men: Master Storytelling in Any Era


Don’t concentrate on winning new customers

Of course, bringing on new customers is always important, but as a small business it’s important to put more energy into retention. Your current clients are the people who buy from you already — and will be likely to buy more in the near future.

If you offer excellent service and forge long-lasting relationships with your current clients, you’ll grow your brand more than spending all of your time chasing potential new customers.

Related reading: Branding is a Feeling, Not a Noun

Do you want to create a memorable brand for your small business? Check out our other branding posts for tips and tricks or get in touch. We’d love to help you tell your brand story.

We give brands a voice,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about your brand, the art of branding or otherwise):
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How Elvis Can Inspire Your Success

If you didn’t notice, Elvis Presley‘s birthday was Tuesday (January 8th). He would have been 78 if he were still alive today. Man, that’s hard to believe. Despite his untimely death, Elvis achieved considerable fame and status as the King of Rock and Roll. How did he get there? God-given talent, a lot of hard work, a little luck and three other important traits.

elvis_wallhanging
  • Be Yourself — Elvis resonated with so many people because he was true to himself. OK, it helped that he had an amazing singing voice and was considered a sex symbol, but he didn’t try to be someone else. People recognize authenticity (especially today) and are drawn to it. Represent your true self (sexy singing voice or not), and you’re likely to be more successful than trying to be someone you’re not. 

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Take Risks — Elvis didn’t invent rock and roll, but he became the central figure of a new music revolution being heard by the masses for the first time. Taking risks brings consequences, both positive and negative. While he was loved and idolized by legions of fans, others hated him for his shocking stage presence and delivering the devil’s music to impressionable teenagers. You normally have to take risks in order to taste success so remember that the next time you’re making an important decision.  
  • Embrace Versatility — Beyond the gyrating hips, Elvis became an icon due to his versatility. His silky smooth voice allowed him to become a cross-genre act before that was in, leaving an impression on country music, pop ballads, gospel and the blues. Hey, he isn’t the best selling solo artist in the history of popular music by accident. Throw in his trips to Hollywood, where he starred in movies and recorded soundtracks, and you can start to see a well-rounded individual. Be adventurous; expand your interests — and skills — so that you’re more of an asset. 
harum scarum

In summary

Be yourself, take risks and embrace versatility to increase your chances of success today. Clients, co-workers and business partners will be drawn to your genuine nature, appreciate your ability to try new things and take note of your interest in expanding your skills by branching out.

Hey, Elvis did and it worked pretty well for him. Talk about a brand! If you’re looking for help establishing or fine tuning your personal brand or company’s brand, I’d love to talk to you.

Are you a fan of Elvis? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments or via social networks.

Rockin’ those Blue Suede Shoes,

Jaime

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