A solid, well-established brand is perhaps the most under-utilized asset when it comes to marketing for small businesses and startups. A business’s brand should be immediately recognizable and understood and should conjure certain attitudes and feelings with customers. Much more than a single logo, mission statement or piece of copy, a brand can encompass all of these and combine them beautifully to portray what a business actually is.
Not sure how to shape up a brand for the business? Take these first three steps to set the process on the right path.
1.Decide how customers should view the business. Is the company all about sports, fitness and nutrition? Or maybe products are geared more toward relaxation and having a good time. A good brand should give the target market the feeling of what products are offered without ever actually showing a single one.
2.Start the design process. No, the business statement is not the brand and, contrary to popular belief, neither is the slogan. Hold on, do not toss them out just yet. These are examples of marketing and branding tools that help support a company’s brand. The copy on the website, any blogs and all marketing efforts should be carried out to help support the brand.
3.Make sure customers experience the brand on a personal level. Ever visited a Starbucks and been given the wrong drink? Was the whip left off or decaf added by mistake? A quick stop at the company’s website reveals an important part of their brand. “Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.” Remember that wrong drink? Next time, let the barista know, and he or she will promptly remake the drink on the house.
All of the marketing and branding in the world is not enough to convince customers that a business stands for one thing if they refuse to act on it. Want customers to believe your brand? Make sure they feel and experience it during every interaction.
Of course there is more to brands than this. Truly successful brands require updates from time to time and should be monitored for consumer reactions. As businesses bend and adapt with the times, brands should be flexible enough to change with them too.