Branding is a vital part of any business, but creating an effective brand that grows your customer base isn’t always easy.
When it comes to bringing more customers, the biggest thing you can do is brand yourself effectively and then leverage your brand in the best way possible. This isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a new small business owner and don’t have much knowledge about branding. But even if you’ve already opened your business, you can still brand or, if needed, re-brand yourself to bring in more customers. But before you can get to that point, you first have to decide what your brand is, how it fits into your industry, and how your customers will view it.
1. What is Your Brand?
The first thing to do is to decide what your brand is. This isn’t exactly as easy as it sounds because your brand is more than just your business name. It includes your logo, your color scheme, and everything else that makes your business uniquely you. You will want to look at it as the way you represent your business’s strengths, values, and expertise. A good brand takes time to develop, and you will want to come up with a number of different concepts and get feedback on them before deciding on your brand.
2. How is your Brand Different?
Next, you need to make certain that your brand is different from your competitors and isn’t too similar to any other business out there. You want to make certain that you stand out and that when people see your logos, colors, and name, they immediately think of your business and not another company. You also need to position your branding in such a way that when customers see it, they understand how your brand is better than your competitors.
3. Build Your Brand
Once you have your brand, you need to build it. You can do this in a number of different ways. First, know that it is going to take time. Your brand isn’t going to take off and become instantly recognizable overnight. However, you can start using blogs, social media, forums, and other online channels to get your name and logo out there.
Apart from a strong online presence in making your brand popular, some offline strategies can also be performed in order to attract new customers. For instance, marketing campaigns can be created or events organized where expert guest speakers can be called upon to promote the brand as they have the industry expertise in performing such tasks.
4. Make it Personal
While you’re building up your brand, you need to make sure you’re personalizing it. People don’t like interacting with a faceless company that has no personality. This is why you want to make sure you do interact with people on social media. Don’t be afraid to show a little bit of humor or to post things that are not strictly related to your products or services. You want your brand to be something customers want to learn about and, even better, be something they see when they log in to social media.
Your customers play a role in developing this part of your brand, too. If most of the comments and interactions you’re having on social media are with professionals and others in the market, it shows that your brand is being seen as professional. If it’s with customers and most of the conversations are more casual, your brand is coming across as a brand for the average person. Neither of these is bad on its own; it depends on the audience you’re going for. If you’re a business-to-business company who sells to other businesses, the professional view may be great, but if you’re aiming your products as the average consumer, that may not be what you want.
5. Know your Market
Do you know what your target audience is, what your industry is, and where you stand in the market? It’s important for you to know your market, and that means knowing your customers, your competitors, and what is affecting your industry. This will help you develop your products, services, and brand right now, plus it can also help you prepare for the future and for anything that may threaten your business model down the line.
6. Define What You Want Your Brand to Be
While having your brand defined is helpful for now, it’s also a good idea to define what you want your brand to become over the years. Do you want to be locally, nationally, or internationally known? Do you want to be an industry leader, or do you simply want to be a small company that holds its own on the market? Of course, defining where you want your brand to be is no guarantee that you’ll get there, but it is the first step in making a plan.
7. Put your Brand in a New Realm
In branding, a realm is the context your brand is placed in. You’re not in a vacuum—there are other businesses, customers, non-related industries, and more that all surround your brand and create the realm it exists in. You have to take everything that happens in this realm into account when you’re examining your brand because they will all affect it, just as your brand will affect them. This realm will provide a structure for your brand and show the relationships between your brand and everything else in the world.
8. Deliver Your Completed Branded Experience
Once you have defined your brand, given it content, looked at how it’s received, and everything else that goes into creating a strong brand, it’s time to deliver that brand. Once you begin consistently presenting your brand to your customers, you will either begin to see your company either gain ground or lose ground. What happens there all depends on your brand and how well you present the brand experience you promise.
If your brand is strong and reaches customers on all levels, your bottom line will improve. If, though, your brand is inconsistent and doesn’t follow through with what it promises, you may find yourself backsliding.