In the past week I’ve had several conversations about branding so I thought it would be a good time to do a post on the subject.  You see, a lot of small business owners know that branding is important but they can’t actually define what it is.  If you can’t define what something is, there is no way you can create an effective plan to integrate it into your marketing strategy so I’m going to simplify it for you.

What is branding?

Branding is how businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors.  It’s that simple but complex at the same time because branding has many components to it.Branding for Small Businesses

What goes into brand?  

Guess what, branding isn’t just about your logo!  There is a common misconception that branding is your logo.  Your logo is the face of your brand but a logo can’t tell people what you are all about.  You need to tell them in others way and let your logo act as a symbol for what you stand for.

Your brand should focus on what makes you different than your competitors.  What makes you better?  What is your unique selling feature?  If you own a chocolate shop but carry all organic chocolate, that makes you different and perhaps better to some consumers, than all the other chocolate shops that just carry regular chocolate.

How to build a brand?

Your brand is built based on your customers perceptions of your company.  Are you trustworthy?  Do you provide a quality product or service? How is your customer service?  With that, you need to think about your brand in all you do.  This starts with getting a professional logo designed.  Then I suggest you think about a positioning statement or branding statement that defines your business.

Originally my branding statement was “providing professional marketing services for small businesses on a budget.”  That’s what I do and it also speaks to the fact that I am different from an agency because I focus on small businesses that are on tight budgets.  When people think of me I want them to think of the marketing professional that can help small businesses achieve results within their budget.  Think about how you want people to perceive your business.

From there, take your logo and create a voice for your company throughout all your marketing materials.  Try to incorporate your branding statement as well as your story as often as you can.  Talk to people about your company and tell them about your successes by telling them a story and educating them.  Don’t try to sell them.  When you are trying to build a brand, your company’s values, unique selling features and overall voice should be at the heart of everything you do. You only get one chance to make a good first impression so make sure your potential clients can easily figure out what your brand is all about right off the bat!

If you aren’t sure what your brand is or how to go about the branding process, contact a marketing professional for some guidance!