Small business owners may not have the resources to compete with big brand names such as Nike or Coca Cola, but that doesn’t mean that branding is not important to your business. Building a brand is a vital part of marketing your services. Building commercial awareness of your company is essential to growth.
What is Branding?
Your branding is, in short, the means by which your business is recognised. Coca-Cola’s red and white swirl, Nike’s ‘just do it’ slogan and even intel’s audio chimes – huge businesses are so imbedded into the public consciousness that they are recognisable at glance and are the first thing that comes to mind when you think of their product or services. Branding, however, is not all about recognition – it is about association. When you think of Apple, for example, you think of top of the line cutting edge technology that is stylish and slick. Branding is a company’s identity – it is blending awareness and recognition with expectations.
How can you Develop Brand?
Brand awareness starts with a way to be recognised – invest in professional logo design and make sure it appears anywhere your company interacts with the public. This means putting it on your website, your business cards and your email signature. You can get packaging and envelopes branded cheaply online at places like Rockhill First Class Envelopes.
Customer interaction is a great way to build a brand. Make sure your company has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Social media marketing is all about getting people to interact and this means competitions, giveaways and ‘story sharing’. Social media is invaluable to getting your company, your brand, into the public consciousness.
Where possible, use local media in a similar way; advertising on local radio and newspapers is a good investment, but even better if you can use these as a platform to host competitions and giveaways, turning passive consumers into active participants.
So What Now?
Perform an audit of your marketing materials. Do they promote the public image you want associating with your business? Are they consistently branded? Decide what your key message is – what it is that you want to be known for. For some businesses this might be the lowest prices for quality products, for others it might be exceptional service and customer experience. Start with a vision of how you want your business to be perceived and build your brand around it.