Brand Your Business: Dos and Don’ts of a Powerful Brand
Avoid costly branding mistakes most small business owners make and dominate your niche.
What you don’t know can hurt you. In this article, I’ll share some important brand building steps. But I will also tell you how to avoid making many mistakes that can kill the potential impact of your brand.
We’ll begin with a few branding definitions that will give you clarity on some of the topics in this article.
Your brand is what comes to mind when people think of your business. This unique perception isn’t limited to a logo and colors. Even your target market and ads contribute to how people see your business.
Brand positioning refers to your competitiveness in the marketplace. For example, do you cater to families or couples only? Are you more traditional or modern? Are you considered the most cost-efficient option or a premium brand?
How you want people to see your business and what they really think are not always the same. Branding helps you go on the offensive and establish your position. While you can’t always control how people see you, you can influence it significantly.
A brand strategy helps you establish a plan to position and grow your business. It also allows you to leverage your strengths and defend your weaknesses.
Your brand message is the core theme you want to communicate to your target audience. It’s the promise you make to your prospective customers. Brands with consistent messaging will see higher response rates from marketing and advertising.
It takes roughly seven (7) impressions before people buy, sometimes more. That is why it is so important to keep sending the same brand messages day in and day out.
Branding Mistakes to Avoid
What you don’t do is as important as what you do well. Here are some common errors small businesses make in the brand building process.
- They underestimate the power of branding. Businesses that build their brand are more competitive. Consistent branding can increase a company’s bottom line by as much as 33%.
- No style. Brand style is more than having your logo at the top of letterhead or on an email signature. Conformity across all channels of brand communication is vital. Brand colors, fonts, slogans, and other cues work together to enhance your brand’s identity.
- Try to do too much. You can’t be all things to all people. Many businesses will sell to anyone who will buy from them and usually end up competing on price. Instead, focus on the people you want as customers. Get them to know them better than anyone else. Find out what makes them tick, what they want and what they value. This will help you connect to them in ways no one else can.
- Follow the herd. We live in a copycat society. If something works, others latch on to it, hoping to get the same results. But what works for someone else won’t always work for you. Thriving brands aren’t afraid to stand out by being different.
- Compromise brand values. There is no point in establishing brand guidelines if you go back on them three months down the road. Many businesses get complacent and don’t remain diligent. It takes a long time to build a reputation, but little to tear it down.
- Make changes without thinking it through. Many businesses respond to competition or changes in the market with knee-jerk reactions. They don’t take time to think about the long-term implications of their decisions.
How to Brand Your Business
Now for a step-by-step guide for branding your small business.
Step 1: Identify your Business’s Purpose
Why does your business exist?
People love to buy from brands that have big goals and missions. There must be a reason you started your business. Something inside makes you passionate about what you do. What is it?
Think about who you help, how you help them, and why they should care. Write it down. It will become the foundation for your brand building activities going forward.
Step 2: Spy on Competitors
You can learn a lot from the other companies in your industry—what to do and what not to do. Pay attention to who they are targeting and the benefits they communicate.
Look for patterns. Is everyone making the same promise? What sets each one apart?
After studying three or four, creating some differentiation will be easier. Can you build a position with customers your competitors have overlooked? How can you uniquely communicate it to your audience?
Avoid copying too much. Remember, if you’re doing it the way everyone else is doing it, you’re doing it wrong.
Step 3: Identify Your Ideal Customer
What type of customer do you enjoy working with the most?
Notice, I didn’t ask who might be the most profitable nor did I ask who your current customers are. Instead, identify the people you genuinely enjoy working with. There could be more than one type. These are the people you should build your business around.
I understand there is pressure to make sales. But after you have identified your ideal customer, it will be easier to attract more of them. Doing this over time will gradually weed out the people who don’t fit your ideal customer profile.
Get specific. The more details you have about your ideal customer, the easier it will be to qualify them and connect with them.
Step 4: Create Your Brand Message
Start with your promise to customers. What primary benefit do you offer them?
Use the information you gathered in Step 2 to create a unique promise. What can you deliver that no one else can?
This may be challenging at first but that is a normal part of the process. Most businesses in the same category offer many of the same features and benefits. This is why companies end up sending the same generic marketing messages to everyone.
Your goal is to communicate with your customers in a way that shows them you are different.
As an example, talk about how you developed your product or service. What is the process? How is it different? What makes it better? What measures are in place to ensure that you deliver at the highest level every time?
Also, be sure to use your ideal customer profile when creating your brand message. Using what you discovered about them in Step 3 will help you create a message that speaks to them loud and clear.
One thing to keep in mind is that your brand message will continue to evolve over time. The simplest changes or tweaks in your message can have profound results. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to get your message down or if you have to change it frequently.
Step 5: Tell It to the World
Once you have developed your brand identity, don’t be afraid to let it show. Your brand identity should become part of your business’s DNA. Let it guide everything you do, on every level.
People are attracted to strength and a brand with conviction is powerful.
Stay true to your brand identity. Make sure your marketing, advertising, sales, and service processes align with it. Don’t get bored or complacent with repeating yourself. Most people will be hearing your message for the very first time.
Branding is the foundation for your business’s present and future. Avoid the brand building mistakes I wrote about above. Use the steps I have provided to create a powerful brand that will help you stand out, get noticed, and win more sales.
Need help? Click here to get schedule a FREE brand audit and find out how you can build a premium brand people will love.
Until next time,
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