Branding can be intimidating, but it’s easily one of the most important aspects of your business, no matter how big or small you are. For those without a brand or even a logo, one of the most common excuses is “Well, I’m just one person”, or, “We’re not big enough for that yet”. It’s a misconception that branding is for larger business while smaller businesses should be left simply performing tasks that are directly responsible for bringing in revenue. Branding makes a difference in your business, and it’s so much more than your logo design. It’s everything that makes your business different than the competition, and when you’re trying to make it, even the little variances that make you stand out from the rest can make a drastic difference.
Branding is your business’ reputation. It’s the customer’s first impression of your business and what will keep them coming back even after some time. While a great product, customer support, and hard-work have legitimate and rightful value in the workplace, a brand can help round all of the other aspects of your company, for complete, 100% professional package. Even though it doesn’t take a lot of money to establish your brand, it does take a lot of time. Fortunately, your brand is composed of your logo, brand colors, design style, sounds, font, personality, tagline, customer service, tone, and other small elements that differentiate your service, and all have an impact on your business’ success. Here here five more things branding will help your business do:
- Establish what you stand for. Branding offers you the opportunity to establish what you stand for without needing to put it into words. From the visuals in your logo, to your brand’s color, to the events you participate in outside of traditional work hours, these all contribute to the overall mood of your brand and how it is perceived by those interacting with your products and services.
- Shape key business decisions. You have a framework to operate within when making decisions for your business. While your brand can, and should, evolve, establishing your brand can help provide some level of consistency to your actions. If one of the original intentions of your brand is to promote eco-friendliness, reflected in your logo design and using green in your brand’s colors, then it’s inherent that you’ll seek out other eco-friendly retailers, participate in events, and make business decisions with that goal in mind, reified through your branding choices.
- Create new relationships. Branding can build relationships with potential partners more than you realize. If you’re focused on local businesses as a brand, then local partners and other businesses catering to the local community will be more likely to work with you for your success. When your brand also resonates with those who may purchase your product or use your services, you’re at a distinct advantage based on this local reputation.
- Accumulate brand equity. Branding can equal strong brand equity. The best way to think of brand equity is the difference between your Starbucks cup of drip coffee versus your local deli’s drip coffee. The Starbucks brand calls to mind a lot of things: quality, fair trade coffee beans, an iconic logo, and consistency. These elements of their brand make it more likely that a consumer will pay more for their drip coffee than other kinds. The brand equity may be real or imagined, but it has an impact on customer behavior.
- Build recognition. Your brand improves the recognition of your business, especially when out of context. Your brand is the face of your company when you’re not present. When something like your logo is placed on a shirt, pen, or flyer, those seeing it will know the product, business, or service that the logo is associated with. It will bring to mind your brand when they see it, and it’s something that people will remember even after their experience with your brand has ended. Since there are already associations, there’s a higher degree of trust that is likely to be experienced.
Even if you choose not to actively focus on branding, you’re still establishing a brand whether you realize it or not! Your reputation will be built around your business practices, customer service and product quality; but why not take this into your own hands? As a small business, you have the power to establish, craft and refine your brand in a way that larger companies can’t. Taking control puts you at an advantage, so you can drive your business exactly where you’d like to.
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