Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?
What Is A Brand?
If you look it up, you’ll find something along the lines of a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products, but it’s so much more than that.
Your brand is your story. It’s your logo. It’s your foundation. It’s the feeling your customers get when they walk through your doors. It’s the personality and cornerstone of your business.
Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
Good Branding Vs. Poor Branding
Branding is more than a logo. It’s more than a website. It’s more than a business card. It’s more than the colours and typefaces you choose to represent your company.
Most business owners and entrepreneurs go to market not with a brand, but with an idea and just having an idea is not enough to win especially in a competitive market like Nigeria.
Here are key qualities that distinguish a good brand from a bad one;
One of the most important factors for brand success is consistency. Consistency is the only way your customers will become more familiar with your brand over time, and any deviation could compromise that consistent experience.
Good brands are consistent who they are, how they communicate to their audience and how they present themselves. Unlike a good brand, poor or bad branding don’t pay proper attention to the above-listed qualities.
Establishing a brand identity requires something distinctive. For instance, Apple has become known worldwide for their innovative products and minimalistic, aesthetic appeal.
Creating an identity within a niche doesn’t demand a revolutionary idea. It simply needs to have one special thing that separates it from the competition.
Everything about a brand should be simple and short so that there is no complication or oddity related to how the brand is perceived in the market.
Keep the message that your brand is trying to convey as simple as possible. If a brand is too hard to figure out, your potential customers will merely ignore you, and that’s the worst that can happen.
D. Story Telling:
Human-to-human connections are the heart and soul of business. At the end of the day, you’re dealing with people. Storytelling is a powerful technique for building relationships.
It’s important to have a story behind your business and brand. Storytelling is what will breed a feeling of true familiarity, and it is remarkably effective at generating trust.
Part of getting the attention of your customers these days is to make your marketing strategies engaging and interactive. People want to connect and influence the evolution of your brand; they don’t want to be talked at and overtly sold to. Because of this, it’s a great idea to exploit social media as much as you can and interact with your audience.
Branding is something we all have to do. Your brand is a reflection of your personality. Don’t fake it. Work on being completely yourself and totally transparent and your following will happen naturally.
While branding is certainly a marketing discipline in its own right, it doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. Good intentions and keeping to the qualities described above will go a long way towards helping your small business grow an authentic brand that stands out among other competitions.
Please share your thoughts and opinions about small business branding in the comment section below.