Every Marketing 101 course offered in business school talks about the importance of branding, but how does what you learn in college apply to promoting your small business? Ferrari Energy, a leading mineral and leasehold acquisitions company, offers some sound advice on building a brand for your small business.
These five tips are designed to help a small business compete against any other company in their field. Creating the right brand can not be over-emphasized; it’s that important.
- Be consistent
One of the primary purposes of a brand is to be recognizable. The goal is that when anyone sees your logo or hears your company name, it will make them think of the identity you have created. For this to happen, your branding efforts must be consistent across all mediums.
A common mistake for a small business is to try and identify with all groups of consumers. Being modern, progressive, and maybe a little brash on social media and then conservative and soft-spoken in a hometown newspaper may seem like a good idea, but it never works. Determine who your audience is and stick with one branding message. If you don’t, you will confuse who your company is, and you don’t want that.
- Be memorable
Another advantage of being consistent is that you can become memorable. Always use the same logo — or slight variations of it — and the same color schemes. Your brand’s message should always be the same. Over time your audience will learn to identify your company with the slightest glimpse of your logo or colors. When that occurs, you have become memorable.
- Create a unique identity
It is critical for a small business to create a unique identity. Your identity emphasizes what’s different about you compared to your competitors. To mix metaphors, if you try and ride on a large competitor’s coattails, you’ll drown in their wake. If your product or solution is more stylish or lower-priced — whatever sets you apart — that is your unique identity, and you should make that a key component of your branding strategy.
- Have a strategy
Your small business is not likely to stumble into an effective branding strategy. A haphazard approach of trying to get noticed will yield discouraging results. Create a branding strategy that defines your unique identity, what you want people to think of or feel when they see your logo or hear your company’s name, and what face you want to present to the world.
Decide what your logo should look like, what colors you will use, and the tone of your marketing voice, then stick with it. If you decide to make changes, make them incrementally over time so you don’t lose any brand identification you have already achieved.
- Keep it simple
A branding message should be simple. With most marketing channels, you will have only a few seconds to get your message across. For example, if you decide your unique identity should be “trust,” don’t try to expand upon that with branding. Individual marketing collateral or promotions can emphasize the various reasons why customers should trust your company, but the brand message is simply “trust.”
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