Every small business starts with an idea, and a business that has a good idea is already on the road to success. What’s the other part of the equation? Being able to communicate that idea to your customers and convince them to choose you over your competition. That’s why your first priority as a small business needs to be to solidify your brand image.
Think back to all the businesses you have the strongest memory of. Odds are, there’s a pretty clear image that comes to mind. It might be a logo, a product, or a slogan. No matter what, that’s a sign the business has solidified their brand image in your mind. You can do the same for your business, new or established, and these essential tips will help you make it happen.
- Be Unique
Odds are good that you’re not alone in your field – and if you are, congratulations! You get to make the field and its image what you want it to be, but if you’re treading where others have gone before, it’s important to distinguish yourself to make yourself stand out in a crowded marketplace.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is what you’re offering that the marketplace hasn’t seen before. It might be as simple as a more convenient alternative to an established product, or it could be introducing an existing concept to a new market. No matter what, it’s important that you be able to pitch yourself as a unique entry into the market and appeal to an under-served part of the customer base.
- Create an Outstanding Logo
The next step after determining what you’re going to be offering your customers is knowing how they’re going to recognize you. Everyone recognizes those iconic golden arches or that signature swoosh on a pair of sneakers, but too many companies make the mistake of going generic. You should make sure your logo can’t be confused with anyone else’s – especially a competitor’s. From there, think more in terms of instant reaction. What is the first thing people are going to think when they see your logo? Visual effects are incredibly important, and you want your logo to translate well in print, online, on social media, and on physical items like stickers and magnets.
- Define Your Ideal Customer
Who are you trying to sell your product to? That will go a long way towards defining your marketing and branding strategy. It’s key to think about core questions like the demographics of you want to buy your service or product. Try to think about this transaction from their point of view. Why do they need it and how long will they be using it for?
Are you anticipating a repeat customer or one who buys once in a lifetime and spreads the word? Once you know the identity of your core customer, it’ll be easy to build a brand strategy that targets them. Customize marketing efforts going forward and stock up on customized magnets or business cards that you can hand out on the fly.
- Let Your Customers Become Your Brand Ambassadors
Another reason it is important to cultivate a good brand with your core customers is they can sell your product better than anyone else can. These are satisfied customers, and if things work out they’ll become walking representatives of your brand.
It’s important to keep in communication with them after the purchase, making sure they’re satisfied and handling any quibbles with the experience. You can keep them engaged by offering them newsletters with exclusive access to sales and new products. An engaged customer is one who might just bring in new customers and serve as an unpair brand ambassador.
- Do Everything With Quality in Mind
This is the big one. Nothing sells like quality. Even the most eye-catching logo and promotions won’t do much if your product doesn’t have a good reputation. Your branding is needed to get people in the door, but once they’re there you need to sell them on the value of your product. If people are satisfied with your product, they’ll keep coming back. A good product with a good value sells like nothing else in the world.
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Branding for Success
Every company that became a powerhouse in their field started somewhere. These companies knew how to sell their product and pull people in from their ads, but they had something else too. They had a product that was worth the hype.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to enhance your brand, the goal is the same. Know your ideal customer, create an engaging brand visual, and focus on quality. The result will be the success you’ve been looking for.