The Value of Branding to Small Businesses
In the first blog post of my branding series, I leveraged Investopedia to define the term brand: “An intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual.”
I noted that people associate certain emotions with brands; for example, consumers feel comfort, relief, softness, and soothing when they think of Kleenex.
If your brand is underdeveloped, your audience can’t connect emotionally with your business, and if your audience can’t connect emotionally with your business, you’ll have a hard time staying top-of-mind and gaining clients.
You may be thinking, “I’m the little guy or girl, and I can’t possibly meet the standard of a Kleenex.”
Valid, but you don’t have to match Kleenex’s brand awareness because Kleenex’s parent company, Kimberly-Clark, caters to a worldwide market and is beholden to its shareholders. Your audience is smaller and more segmented, which actually works to your brand advantage.
Read on to gain a better understanding of the value of branding for small businesses.
Branding Distinguishes Your Small Business From Your Competitors
I’ll make an assumption that for most of you, a lot of people do what you do in the circles where you run.
There are always multiple attorneys, accountants, real estate brokers, mortgage brokers, marketers, etc. present. It’s a small world, especially for small businesses, despite there being over 32 million of them in the US.
Competition is intense, but you can stand out by building trust with your brand. Trust is the most important characteristic, and there’s no truer axiom than “People do business with those whom they know, like, and trust.”
Trust looks like this for your audience:
- Having a clear understanding of your offering
- Confidence in your honesty and quality of service
- Relying on consistent and high-quality messaging across all of your marketing efforts
“Story Matters Here.” That’s a great tagline that AMC Networks established 13 years ago. Having a memorable business story is part of your brand.
This especially comes in handy when meeting fellow small business professionals at networking events. It can feel like speed dating, chatting with someone for two minutes before another person horns in and introduces themselves.
Forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but this is a golden opportunity to discuss the why behind your business. We have short memories that are clouded when you meet 50 people in an hour. These potential prospects and referral partners will remember why you do what you do more than the what and how you do it.
A friend of mine is a realtor who specializes in the senior community. He chose this path because of his trying, frantic experience moving an elderly relative into a safer, more accommodating home. He speaks with passion and genuity.
That’s an unforgettable story that differentiates him from other residential realtors.
Cultivates Company Culture & Values
There's no chicken or egg component to branding if you're a small business with staff who've made key contributions to your company's culture.
Your brand may be outward facing, but it’s developed from within first, and that can't happen without a sound culture derived from company values.
Brand is hatched internally under a business' roof, which makes it possible and easier for you and your employees to be brand ambassadors, while fostering internal culture best practices.
Positive Business Outcomes
You don’t build a brand just for the fun of it, the graphic design optics, or because it’s cool.
With the exception of pro bono service and volunteering and philanthropic opportunities, you invest time and money into your business so that it’s profitable. As noted earlier, a trusted brand leads to repeat customers and first-time buyers.
Additionally, the ability to influence the marketplace allows business owners to competitively price their products and services.
As a business owner, you are your company’s walking, talking brand.
How you comport yourself online, on the phone, and particularly in-person is a direct reflection of your brand. Ask anyone who lives with me, and they will tell you that Early Morning David is sour and salty. But when I attend 7am networking events, like the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s First Friday, I turn it on.
Then again, being a benevolent curmudgeon is its own niche brand.
Next up will be a post about mental health, followed by the conclusion of the branding series: You Don’t Have A Brand Without A Blog.
About the Author, David Telisman
I am a Writer and Content Creator, and I work with businesses to inspire their customers to buy from them. I believe that my clients deserve to feel proud of how their content marketing looks and what it says, and I deliver by providing expert copywriting and marketing solutions.
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