You started your own business a year ago. It’s been hard, and it still is. The market is fierce, you can’t really beat the strong competition, the number of customers is not as you planned it would be, as well as your return on investment (ROI).
It’s the point where you ask yourself: Where did I go wrong? My products or services are of high quality, innovative, practical and interesting. So, where are the people? The answer could very well be that you haven’t invested in branding. You have a company that offers great products or services, but it’s no use if people don’t know about you. Remember that good branding lies in the heart of every successful business. If you’re the captain of your small business ship, then you should take the first steps to establishing the core qualities and features of your brand.
#1 Target Market Identification
Your imagery and messaging should be unique to target or address a specific demographic segment. If you make an attempt to target everyone, you will probably end in being less relevant to anyone within that demographic group. A better solution is to start out with a few key demographics and continue to expand slowly from there. Who is your target audience? What do they want/need/like? How do they behave? Which are the easiest ways for reaching them?
#2 Study Your Competitors
Don’t skip evaluating the brands of your competitors. To know everything in theory won’t do good if you don’t know how brand building works in real life. Your competitors have done something that helped them establish a strong position on the same market that your company wants to enter. Study their slogans and logos, find out what differentiates them from one another, and perceive all of their qualities and defects. Remember not to copy those qualities for your own brand, because it might not work for you the same way. Look at the motivations behind their choices, and apply it to your own business context. Find out what makes your brand unique and use it to stand out.
#3 Establish Your Brand’s Personality
The identity of your brand is defined by how your target audience perceives you. The old analogy says – define your brand as a person. What type of person would your brand be? Younger? Older? Male or female? How would it act or talk? By defining it this way, you’ll come up with a more precise brand design.
#4 Apply It to Multiple Areas
Visual design is also important, such as having a logo as your brand’s recognizable emblem. Translate your brand’s personality into things that are more tangible. What will your logo look like? What colors would dominate your visual identity? Get some outside help for making it happen, unless you’re a graphic designer yourself.
#5 Raising Brand Awareness
There are different ways of getting people to know about your brand. You can do it by holding an event, organizing a giveaway or a competition, sponsoring something related to your target market, launching a PR campaign and, of course, taking the advantage of social media marketing. Investing in promotional merchandise is always a great choice, because there are no limits to where your brand name and logo can get exposed. Grab some pens, USB sticks, T-shirts, caps, or some other goods suitable for custom design printing (you can’t really print anything on a knitted sweater). Hand them to your associates, clients, or to visitors on various events.
Once you’ve established your brand identity, make it visible to everyone you can. Make sure that you go back every few years, re-evaluate it, and bring in changes if necessary. It is important to stay consistent, because only then will your brand increase the authority, visibility, and retention potential of your business.
Emma Miller is a Sydney based writer with a degree in marketing. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog.