Branding might sound like something that is the preserve of large companies with huge marketing budgets, but even the smallest enterprise can benefit from the right brand image. The key to success lies in finding ways of making the business stand out from its competition, working out how to best express the values of the business, and making best use of employees as brand ‘ambassadors’.
Branding is recognised as a critical component of business growth and sustainability. In a world where customers want to know as much as possible about what you do – and perhaps equally importantly, how you do it – before they make a purchasing decision, a brand that generates a positive impression is more likely to generate sales.
Branding can be defined as the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products and there are many high profile examples.
The golden arches were part of the original design for McDonalds restaurants and have become one of the most recognisable logos in the world, helping to make the name of the company famous in every corner of the planet.
Nike became a mainstream brand by telling people to ‘just do it’. But before then the company had realised that a simple, easy to recognise logo would boost its branding so the swoosh became its logo when it changed name in the early 1970s.
Apple could be said to have built its brand on design, realising that the personal computer needed to be more than just a functional box.
Power of perception
But there is more to creating a successful brand than a snazzy logo or a clever advertising line. If your brand doesn’t meet the expectations of your target audience you will not win sufficient business to achieve long term growth and sustainability.
Make sure you tell the story behind the brand. If you are a family business, emphasise the importance of continuity and experience. If you have an interesting background, explain how that helps you offer better goods or services. Anything unique will help you stand out from the crowd.
Your employees will never be as personally invested in your enterprise as are you are, but by making them feel part of something different they can become a living advertisement for the business.
Keep it simple
As a small business, most of your trade will be local so take time to learn from how other businesses in your area generate custom. The personal touch can be powerful, so don’t be afraid to tell people who you are as this will help them relate to what you do.
The message you send out needs to be simple and easy to recall like our message of ‘straightforward cloud accounting software’. This is also your promise to customers, so make sure it is true.
Small businesses cannot afford to drift off-message. For example, Big Red Cloud provides accounting software and we are clear on that – this approach helps to keep everyone focused.