As the owner of a small business, you might often feel like there are too many things which require your attention, and more importantly, your money. However, it is imperative to take the right decisions with your capital, as this is just the beginning of your business. Perhaps, the most important part of making a success out of your small business is attracting the right customers. Business owners contemplate over various plans and solutions, worrying about costly strategies of business growth, which may or may not work.
Whether it is a big company or a small business, a brand shines in the eye of the customer. A strong brand communicates what your company does, how it does it and establishes trust and credibility. Your brand lives in everyday interactions with your customers, the images you share, the content you publish on your website, your marketing materials, and in your social media posts.
By assigning the right amount of money to the right channels, you can get the results you want, or at the least, improve the results you have, based on the data you gather along the way. Since your monthly spend will be consistent, you’ll be better able to measure overall efficacy, too.
Here are some simple ways of turning your small business into a brand:
1. Be unique
Uniqueness is the key to growing a small business today. Apple, a manufacturer of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, was born in 1977; it was rebranded with the “Think Different” slogan in 1997. Today, Apple ranks first on Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Valuable Brands. People don’t think twice before ordering the new iPhone or iPad. But Apple’s success did not come overnight. So find how your business can be unique – it could be your product, it could be your personal life story, it could be the work culture, it could be your CSR programs (P&G’s Thank You, Moms initiative) – and stick to that.
When you are unique, people will be naturally drawn towards you. BeardBrand, for example, is a brand which caters to men with beards. Their belief – and their unique selling point – is that beards a thing of luxury. A TV may just be a TV, but once you put a Samsung logo on it, people will be attracted towards the product. There is an enormous value of growing a personal brand. This can help the people around you, improve your business and create a positive force in the world. A unique idea is memorable and appreciated in the society. People who are appreciated, tend to work better on their ideas. Liz Ryan has written a powerful essay on how worn-out our rules of business have become. Non-conformity can also take your business to places if you use your uniqueness well.
2. Invest in a good name and logo design
You may be looking at a lot of budgets at a time, but one thing which requires your immediate attention is a good logo and brand name. It is like a face for your business. The more you beautify the face, the better your brand looks. In this day and age, there’s only one chance to make a good impression, so there’s no room for error. This shows your customers (and your competitors!) that you are on top of the game, from the very start.
Hire the best person for this job. A good logo goes a long way in impressing people, businesses and making history. Milton Glaser, the famous and legendary designer of the ‘’I Love New York’’ logo says that a good logo is all about simplicity. “You want to move the viewer in a perception so that when they first look at [the logo]…they get the idea, because that act between seeing and understanding is critical,”. Glaser designed the logo in 1975, and souvenir shops around the world are still full of t-shirts, scarves and mugs bearing the “I Love New York’’ logo.
The logo should be unique and attractive. Graphic designer Airey suggests that you stay away from overly used signs like globes and arrows. He also adds that a logo shouldn’t necessarily show what your product is. “The Mercedes logo isn’t a car. The Virgin Atlantic logo isn’t an airplane. The Apple logo isn’t a computer,”
3. Make relationships by providing value
Customers love a brand which helps people. Any customer would love it if you go out of the way to help them in need. This requires not only a top-notch customer service team, but prompt responses when they are needed the most. Research firm Millward Brown published a study, ranking the world’s most liked brands. Unsurprisingly, Apple was on top. But why?
They improved customer experiences. Not only did they make great products, but also helped the customers in using them and solving any queries about them.
Value is not just derived from the lowest prices, or the best customer service, or the best product on the market. The most powerful brands evoke emotions, e.g. Coca Cola – Open Happiness.
4. Establish an online presence:
Sign up on popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Create an interesting business profile, which reflects your work. A brand can’t exist without an online presence nowadays. Moreover, digital media forums are the best to put the word across about your brand. The concept of branding should be applied via the use of digital media and technology to develop your business interactions with the vast online community.
Most of the websites online don’t require a signup fee. You can easily create and grow your online presence by using Facebook pages and using the promotion tools on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. These channels will provide you with organic traffic for a small cost. Once you’ve gained a reputation online, you can start using your community to market business ideas.
5. Create original content which revolves around your story
After developing an online identity, content creation should be one of your top priorities in business. Small businesses do compete with giants at a time, but they also have an edge over the giants in the uniqueness of their content. When you create original content, customers not only love it, but also remember it for a long time.
Start a blog on WordPress or Blogger for free and use it to educate your audience. A blog is a great way to help customers without them even asking. Put up new ideas of using your products, update customer reviews, write how-to articles and create original videos about your products. Your content is going to be viral if it is built around your brand’s theme and stays consistent. Read nine ingredients of making great content for more ideas.
6. Use offline avenues
The offline world has just as much potential to develop your brand as the online world. The easiest way to create hype around your business is to create an informal event, meetup or seminar invite on Facebook. Invite general public as well as key opinion leaders in your niche. Make sure that you display your company’s logo clearly so that people remember who you are. In offline branding, everything counts. There is a physical world where brand promotion can be applied.
- Invest a little money in printing glossy brochures which carry the USPs of your brand and hand them out in invites, meetups or seminars.
- Buy a small slot in the popular daily to put your brand in front of people who like to read newspapers every morning.
- Make goody bags with items (mug, pens, key-chains) carrying your brand logo. When the recipient travels away from the meetup, your brand is exposed to new people. Well-placed promotional products are an ideal way to make your brand travel when used in the form of giveaways at events and as gifts in goody bags. Good-quality promotional products can also be a great gift to thank clients with. Get the item just right and you can secure your brand a position on office desks or walls all year round. -Fluid Branding