Many small business owners believe that branding in marketing is about Apple, Google, Samsung, Nike, National Casino, Amazon, and other giants. In fact, the size of the company doesn’t matter for branding. According to an international survey by 99designs by Vista, 78% of small business owners confirm that a strong brand has a significant impact on their revenue growth.
And here’s the interesting thing — you don’t have to have a multi-million dollar budget to attract the attention of your customers and be memorable to them. It’s more important to choose the right tools and use them skillfully.
What Is a Brand
It’s wrong to think that the brand is a logo, corporate identity and other visualization. A brand is the image of a company in the mind of the consumer: their expectations, emotions, requests, decisions, and stories. Everything that determines the customer’s decision to make a purchase.
Let’s say there is a grocery store near your house, which is visited by customers from neighboring streets. It’s located nearby, it has convenient opening hours, and you can always find fresh products in it. The brand of this grocery store can be formulated as “close, convenient, quality”.
Creating a brand, as well as brand management, is about working with business processes. If something is complicated, it needs to be simplified, slow — to be sped up, unimpressive — to be made beautiful and attractive. How to realize these tasks depends on the type of brand:
- Commodity — branding and promoting each product to create unique products. A commodity brand can be a gadget, tariff, product, software solution.
- Extended or umbrella — launching a new product under the previous brand for the sake of expanding the range. For example, a company producing toothpaste (the main product) starts producing toothbrushes or oral care products under the same brand.
- Linear — release of a group of products with the same name and similar pricing policy. An example of such a brand is a series of mini chocolate bars and cookies from Hershey’s. Hershey’s Miniatures and Hershey’s Kisses were produced under one brand, which allowed them to use similar strategies for their promotion.
Moreover, a brand can be:
- A personality, such as a famous blogger or musician.
- A company.
- An event.
- A tourist attraction.
Why Small Businesses Need a Brand
Regardless of size, businesses obey the same laws. Like a large corporation, it’s important for a small business to attract the attention of consumers and form clear associations with the product in their minds. So, on one small street, there may be five coffee shops. But the maximum traffic will be collected only by the one that is actively engaged in brand development and uses effective strategies for its promotion.
Let’s highlight six key advantages of a strong brand.
A good brand will ensure that a business is recognized among many others. When a customer recognizes a brand by its logo, corporate identity, communications, they are more likely to choose that product among others. They know the features of the product and understand what makes it unique.
Brand loyalty encourages customers to come back to you again and again for purchases. Customer loyalty in the long run is one of the most important tasks for any business — it ensures stable profits.
Consistency of a Marketing Strategy
The brand lays the foundation for the business. Once a company has thought through the brand — company philosophy, company colors, typography, and so on — all other marketing efforts need to be modeled around it. Lack of consistency leads to poor results — for example, changing the logo every two months will confuse customers and reduce sales.
When a company launches a new product or service, it doesn’t yet have the trust of consumers. However, a strong brand can quickly resonate with customers. High quality of service, interesting visualization, competent marketing – all this allows even a small company to declare itself as a serious professional business.
Higher Value of the Company
If a brand has a personality, it’s easier for people to understand the values and motives of the company. Which means customers are more likely to turn to you to solve problems and fulfill needs.
Stay One Step Ahead of the Competition
Small businesses tend to face a highly competitive marketplace. A personalized and unique brand will set the company apart from businesses that operate in a similar segment. Moreover, a strong brand will eventually allow you to offer premium products to your customers and generate more revenue.
What a Brand Consists of
Creating a brand isn’t just about developing a colorful logo or a memorable slogan. To create branding that works, you need the following elements.
Brand identity is how you present your business to customers. It includes the visual elements you use in your promotional materials.
- Fonts reflect the mood of your brand. For example, serif typefaces look more stately and classic, sans serif fonts seem more casual and modern.
- Colors affect emotions. For example, red is passion and activity. Green is associated with naturalness, naturalness, nature. Black is about luxury and prestige. And blue evokes a sense of calmness and peace.
- A logo unites the accepted color and font solutions.
Like a person, a brand has its unique language — voice, tone, message structure. Voice is the character of communication, and tone adapts it to the audience and situation, helps to adjust the structure of messages.
A story explains your brand’s values, goals, and strategies. To create a compelling story, answer the questions:
- What problem does the brand seek to solve with the product or service?
- Why does the company want to solve that problem?
- What are you doing right now to find a solution?
- What do you plan to do in the future to continue working on the solution?
Combine the answers into a story about where your brand came from and the direction it plans to take.