7 Branding Tips for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
Branding affects how the public sees you. Branding essentially is how the world sees you. As such, it’s absolutely your number-one priority to look into everything from design, to slogans, to legal minutiae involved.
If your branding isn’t right, you risk your customers seeing you in the wrong light. Here are seven branding tip for entrepreneurs and small businesses alike.
1. Know Thy Customer
Before making a set decision, it’s always good to know just exactly who you are branding to. This means knowing your customer as well as, if not better than, they know themselves.
You can find out how others view your brand already by Googling yourself and seeing what others already have to say. If you find that lacking, try holding a focus group or doing market research. If all else fails, ask close friends and family — but remind them to be honest. Anything but may hurt your feelings, but at least it won’t hurt your brand.
2. Display Your Values
After you’re sure you know your customer, it’s time to show that you know yourself. Your company’s values as well as the value that your product or services are what connect your customer to you.
Simon Sinek, in his Ted Talk on how great leaders inspire action, mention that people buy “why” you do what you do, not just “what” you do. It’s why some people are so drawn to Apple, as well as other brands. Wear your values on your sleeve.
3. Use Promotional Products
Once you’ve figured out how your brand will and should be presented, it’s time to do some presenting! Signage and typical advertising in the real world is to be expected, but there are other simple ways that are really effective at building your brand.
Whether your business is in an office or out mowing lawns, promotional apparel is one way to “be about your brand.” Just make sure that whatever you’re making is appealing and that you’re not just making clothes that no one will wear — what’s the point in that?
4. Build Digital & Online Presence
Before you get too busy filling the world up with your branded gear, make sure that you have your online real estate right. Websites, social media accounts, SEO — all of that needs to be taken care of.
The beauty of today’s tech is that even small and local brands can be competitive with large international brands, and it’s all because of the internet. For those looking at a more comprehensive strategy for small businesses, check out Shade Digital’s “Local Business Digital Strategy 101.”
5. Be Creative
While there are certain standards for branding, promotion, and marketing, you can always use branding to set yourself apart from the crowd. Creative marketing tactics can draw attention from new potential customers while simultaneously “wowing” returning customers.
Guerilla marketing is a great way to flex your creative muscles, and it’s a tactic that established brands have been experimenting with for awhile. Check out this HubSpot post on how to do guerilla marketing better, as well as to look at examples of successful guerilla marketing campaigns.
6. Associate With Like Brands
Whether via deals like consignment, collaboration, or good ol’ social media banter, your customers are paying attention to who you associate with. Get a ringer in your corner, and the crowds may come flocking.
On the other hand, be careful about who you associate with. This is why so many brands pull deals with controversial figures — they don’t want to be associated with them! It seems blunt, but not everybody remembers it. Just make sure that you’re genuine with your relationships, and don’t pander to your base.
7. Cultivate Corporate Social Responsibility
Today’s customers are increasingly careful about who they shop with and who they’ll support. They want to work with companies that exist for more than just the prospect of money and who are trying to better the world. This is called corporate social responsibility, and it runs the gamut from small, organized work-volunteer programs to giant international campaigns.
Using these seven tips, you can transform your branding game from the bottom up. Above all, just remember to be yourself and to brand with integrity. If you build it (and heed the above advice!), they will come.