Why small businesses need branding to win customer loyalty
Phil Foster shares his thoughts on why branding is important and some factors to consider as you move forward.
If you’re a start-up or a relatively small business, then it’s understandable if you don’t yet place a high value on the importance of branding for your future. But branding isn’t just a huge buzzword reserved only for the like of giant corporations. It is just as essential for SMEs.
No matter what stage of growth your business is at, it’s important to perfect your branding from top to bottom, but knowing where to start can be tricky.
What is branding?
In a nutshell, branding is a business’ way of identifying who they are and what they do. It represents the values and the true core identity of the business.
Having a strong brand also helps you to build a good reputation. Whether you are starting out and have no reputation at all, or are looking to improve the profile you already have, a successful brand can help. It’s all about building expectations about your services or products, which in turn can encourage your staff to exceed them as they are motivated to live up to the name you have nurtured.
Why is small business branding important?
The most successful companies keep branding at the very heart of everything they do. It is a way of defining the business’ identity; understanding exactly what your business is about, what it looks like, sounds like and how it appears to your customers. Not only will it keep your customers coming back for more, but it will also ensure that your employees feel more at home and loyal.
Here’s a few more reasons why branding is important for your small business.
Recognition When you see some of the most famous logos in the world, you instantly know the name of the company, what they do, and what they stand for. While you may not achieve that status straight away, by having a strong brand you will start to build a reputation that people will recognise.
- Trust – speaking of reputation, appearing professional and consistent in your branding improves your credibility among customers.
- Being found - if you sell offline as well as online, having a well-established brand helps potential customers to find you wherever they may go.
Logos are a good place to start. Your logo must represent you; tell people who you are, show the type of company you are, and communicate your values clearly all in one. It’s a tough balancing act to perfect, but it can be done.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Name and tagline – we may be stating the obvious, but make sure the name and slogan are clearly visible. That way your customers will remember your name and it becomes far easier for them to talk about you to other people.
What do you do? – does your logo represent the services or products you provide? Your potential customers should be able to know they are in the right place at a single glance.
Show your personality – Maya Angelou once said “At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” How do you want your customers to feel when they see your logo? Home in on one particular emotion to avoid confusion, whether it’s fun, approachable or emphasising the fact that you’re experts in your field, otherwise you may be forgettable.
Finding your brand's voice
Some of the biggest and most well-known and liked brands out there all have one thing in common: they have a very distinct voice. For example, a luxury watch brand like Rolex is known for being classy and upmarket. Red Bull is daring, adrenaline-spiking and exciting. On the other hand, one brand who does social media particularly well, is Innocent; their Twitter is fun, cheeky and they write the way they speak.
A perfect branding isn’t something that you can achieve overnight, but it is something that you should put a great deal of thought into. While larger companies are, of course, able to spend more on their branding efforts, it doesn’t have to break the bank! Slapping your logo on everything you produce just won’t cut it anymore; your voice and message must be strong, consistent, and connect with your target customers. Nail this and you’ll have them coming back for more!
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