How to create a strong brand for your business

Understanding the basics of branding

Branding is vital for any business, big or small. An effective branding strategy can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace. So what is branding, and how does it affect small and medium-sized businesses?

Simply put, it is your promise to your client. It tells them what they can expect from you and why you are different from the rest. Branding is not just a logo, tagline, advertising campaign, sharp suit, or smart business card. It’s all of these and more and should resonate throughout your entire organisation.

Clients should make an emotional connection with your business and see you as the only one they can do business with. Everything you do, every marketing campaign or product you launch, every time a member of staff speaks to a client, they all play a part in defining your brand.

In this month’s newsletter, we’ll look at the steps you can take to create and develop your brand.

DEFINE YOUR BRAND
If you already have a clear idea of who you are as a brand, that’s great. If not, you will need to take a long hard look at yourself to figure out who you are. This involves asking some searching questions like: How would I describe my business? Is it innovative, modern, progressive, leading or professional?

If I asked employees what the business stands for, would they come up with the same list of adjectives? What are my business’ missions and values? Do we do something that’s different?

The more clarity you have about who you are, the better able you will be at incorporating this into your brand identity.

DESIGN YOUR BRAND
The next step is to start designing your brand. This entails creating a logo to match your brand and the expectations clients have when they see your offering. Is it sleek and modern? A little bit unusual or fun? Is it just words, letters or symbols, or is it something more involved? The colours you choose also need to reflect this. All of this is carried through to your website, signage, social media, stationery and online and offline marketing materials. Everything you put out into the world should be consistent with your brand.

FIND YOUR VOICE
Successful brands speak with one voice that cuts through the noise and resonates with their audiences. Your brand voice is the language and personality infused in your business’ communications. It covers everything, from the words you use when speaking to clients to your online and offline marketing materials. Do you want your brand voice to be corporate and formal, fun and irreverent, friendly and approachable or something else?

BE CONSISTENT
Mixed branding messages will confuse your audience. For example, if you strike a formal tone on your website but take a zany approach on your social media pages, your clients and potential clients will wonder who they’re dealing with. If you leave your brand open to interpretation, clients will lose trust in you. Branding needs to be consistent across your business and your communication channels, such as your website, marketing materials, shop signage and social media accounts.

BE TRUE TO YOUR BRAND
It is not enough for brands to make a statement; they have to follow through with their actions. Building a strong brand involves delivering everything you promise; otherwise, you risk losing trust, credibility and loyalty.

Recap… Good branding is essential because it provides you with a recognisable name, symbol and design and lets you carve out a unique identity in a competitive marketplace.

PS: A good starting point for developing your brand is to define your vision, which involves asking yourself why your business exists. From there, you can start to build your brand. Remember, consistency is the key.

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