Let’s start with a question.
What’s the first thing you want people to think of when they see your business name or logo?
As a micro business owner it’s crucial you look after your image and reputation.
And after deciding upon your business name, the next step is to consider your branding.
That’s because a good strong brand is easily recognised and unique. And as such it’s a great marketing tool.
More than a name
Often businesses forget that branding is far more than just a name, logo, strapline and set of graphics.
A brand is a set of values that are associated with a company’s product or service.
The values you adopt will depend on your business but could include innovation, quality, reliable, speedy, efficient, classy etc.
And branding is relevant to your marketing because it is a way of association and communication. In fact clients will associate brands with specific products or services. And often a strong brand can help influence purchasing decisions and motivate someone to choose your product or service over a competitor’s.
As you see it’s important you brand your micro business right!
Here are four simple steps to help you on your way…
Know what you want your brand’s image/voice to represent?
The visual impact of your brand is crucial. So research a number of creative options. Create a design brief and include ideas and a specification of graphics that you like and dislike.
If you have a designer working with you, ask them to collate a few concepts (with rationale) based on some of your ideas and their own research. Most designers won’t charge you for these initial concepts so avoid paying anything upfront if you can help it!
When building your brand, think about:
- Vision: What you want your brand to become.
- Promise: What your commitment will be to customers.
- Delivery: How you intend to deliver your commitment
- Positioning: How you want to be perceived.
These four aspects will also form part of your brand strategy.
A strong brand personality makes your business memorable
Branding your business is not just about design and fancy strap lines. It also needs to tie into your business strategy.
Let’s say you want to create a competitive positioning strategy. You’ll need to “differentiate” your product/service offering and offer value for your target market. To do this you’ll need to:
- Decide on the target market you wish to pursue.
- Define the nature of your business and the industry it competes in.
- Clarify your product/service key benefits and what makes you different from the competition.
Brand strategy may not seem essential to your business NOW but it’s definitely something worth considering early on – even if you’re just writing down a few points on a page for reference.
You see, in the long term, good branding creates ‘brand equity’.
A good brand can help to forge relationships with your customers and build customer loyalty. It also places value on your product or service. In addition, if your brand is identifiable in your marketing activity, it could boost your response rate.
3. Visual branding and Verbal branding
Don’t go for a fussy, fancy logo just for the sake of it – sometimes less is more.
When building your brand you need to consider how your brand/ logo will appear on promotional materials e.g. stationary, online, novelty marketing items?
Contrary to what you may think, you don’t need an expensive designer to create a memorable design (but you may prefer one). Don’t forget to consider logo dimensions, typeface, variation(s) of font size, photography and illustrations as the basics. You may also want to consider different colour options of your logo, position/weighting on multi-branded materials too.
Think about your audience. Besides design and all the visual stuff, it also includes brand messaging and tone of voice.
4. Brand Management
Remember – good brands are not built overnight!
It’s important to decide on how you’ll manage your brand consistently as well as managing the perceptions of anyone who engages with your brand, including staff, suppliers and customers amongst other groups. This is all part of brand management and you should have this in mind at all times.
Finally, whenever someone engages with your brand they should have a positive brand experience.
For it is these ‘experiences’ which will help to increase your brand’s value.
How are you building your brand into a valuable asset for your micro business marketing?
Today’s Micro Action
Brainstorm two ideas for using your brand in your next piece of marketing activity.