In this era of self-starters, online businesses, and innovation, there’s one question every small business owner needs to ask: what is a brand? The answer is simple but critical: it’s everything. Every face of your operation, from customer support to your website and social media presence, and beyond. The brand is your business, specifically the personality, and it is an important tool for keeping your company or product relevant.
1. Branding Improves Recognition
Think of your logo as the entry point of your brand. It is the symbol customers will recognize when trying to remember your business, sometimes even before recalling your business name. Visual memory is a key element to our experience, and it’s a lynchpin in successful branding. It pays to design your logo and design well.
A brand can be extended via specific elements, such as colors, patterns, and fonts, all of which help to boost your recognition.
2. Branding Creates Trust
In branding, as in business, you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Have you considered that your small business could be made to look like a million-dollar company? Even if you’re a one-man-band, there’s nothing that says you need to act your age or dress to your pay bracket. A small business doesn’t have to look “small”.
By building a brand that inspires a reliable and professional practice, small businesses improve on the trust and first impressions their clients are likely to make with them. It’s no secret that securing a relationship with anybody starts with them feeling safe with you. In business, that means branding yourself as reliable, and professional. After you’ve branded yourself as such, naturally it’s on you, as the business owner, to deliver and keep building on that trust.
3. Branding Diminishes the Need for Advertising
The stronger your brand, the less you’ll actually need advertising. No, it’s true: with a strong brand, investments in advertising can be minimized, or even brought down to zero. Red Bull is an excellent example of this: they’ve built a potent and instantly-recognizable brand. They did this through stunt events, like the Red Bull Flugtag, with its hilarious planes, or Red Bull BC One, an intense break dancing battle. Neither of these is an event that is taken too seriously, but both tap into something very entertaining to us, as consumers. They are a fun and unique way to create tons of spontaneous and free PR.
What’s important about this example is that Red Bull connected with its consumers in a real and meaningful way. They did the research and created marketing their fans actually enjoyed. Believe it or not, your consumers are too smart to be taken by something easy or pandering. If you still decide to invest in advertising, brand awareness is a great way to leverage its results.
4. Branding Builds Financial Value
Your brand is an asset. Develop it properly, and it becomes something you can actually deal in. You’ll be able to sell it, along with your company, at some point in the future, if you choose. As your legal property, it’s more than just a fun way to make sales – it’s something you’ll be able to turn into a profit, itself.
5. Branding Inspires Employees
As with any creative endeavor, it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. What’s nice about branding is that it sends up a sign to future employees and encourages similar attitudes in your hiring process. Bringing in employees with a shared vision for your business is easier if they enjoy and connect with your brand. Once they’re hired, this connection helps to reduce turnover. More engaged workers means fewer replacements.
This is even more important to small businesses, as selling the company’s vision is an alternative to offering financial benefits, like career plans or yearly bonuses. Potential employees will find these with bigger corporations, so the sooner you can catch their attention with your business’ personality, the better.
6. Branding Generates New Customers
In addition to everything else, branding also makes referrals easier. New customers are the lifeblood of a smaller business, and the better you are at bringing them in, the better you are. Leverage word of mouth after a memorable experience with your branding.
Why should small business’ care about their brand? Maybe the question should be, what reason could you possibly have not to?
[Extract from the book Growth by Design]