A strong brand is a valuable asset for any business. A strong brand is easily recognizable. When your brand is well-known, consumers trust you more and you are top of mind when they are making purchases. This article discusses how small businesses can build a strong brand.
Small brands are usually at a disadvantaged position when competing with big brands with huge marketing budget. That’s why you need to find a way to distinguish your business and develop a niche for yourself.
What is a brand?
Your brand is your reputation. It is people’s perception of your business. It is how people see or perceive your business wherever and whenever they come in contact with it. This includes the impressions you are aware of and can control and the ones you can’t. Businesses that are serious about building a strong brand care about how they are perceived. Note that, building a brand is not a quick process; it takes a while to build a strong brand.
How to build a strong brand for your small business?
- Determine your brand’s target audience. Your product or service can’t be useful to or needed by everyone, so you need to define your target audience. Be as specific as possible, that way you can have them in mind as you develop the right marketing messages for them. Have a detailed description of your buyer persona such as their age, gender, location, income, educational level, purchasing behavior, interests, motivation, lifestyle, wants, needs, goals etc. Having a clear picture of those that need your goods and services will help in all your marketing efforts, because you need the right persons clicking on your ads, opting into your email list and consuming your content.
- Keep your brand promise. You must remain committed to your brand mission statement. As a service provider, you must avoid over-promising and under-delivering. Your target audience must be able to trust your brand. Your brand mission statement must be clear to every one who reads it and consistent across all fronts – in your tagline, personality, voice and message.
- Deliver value. Focus on delivering value on your product and service. Value can mean different things, depending on the business you are in. It could mean excellent customer service, superior product, quick delivery, personalized services, lower prices etc.
- Research your competitors. As a business, you can’t be ignorant of your competition. You need to know who they are and what they do and don’t do well. You need to know this in order to distinguish your business from the competition and be strong in areas your competitors are weak. Your brand building goals should include focusing on your Unique Selling Proposition and differentiating yourself from the competition.
- Create a name, logo and a tagline for your brand. Your name and logo represents your brand and acts as an identity for your brand. It will appear on everything that relates to your business. It will appear on your letterhead, website, social networks, business cards, promotional materials and everywhere online and offline. You don’t want a business name that can easily be confused with other brands, because it is similar to them. You want a logo that’s unique, identifiable and scalable to work at all sizes.
- Find your voice, identity and personality. All successful brands have a unique voice that their loyal customers recognize. That voice determines the language, personality and communication style of the brand. Your brand voice should be consistent. One brand that has gotten it right in this aspect is She Leads Africa. The voice of the brand is upbeat, positive, playful and confident, and it is used consistently across all their platforms.
- Choose your brand colors and font. You will need to think about how you will visually represent your brand in terms of colors and typography. Let your colors reflect the feeling you want to convey to your target audience and do pick a color that would differentiate you from the existing competition to avoid being confused with them. You also want to pick your font and be consistent with it on all platforms. Pick two fonts at most to avoid confusing people.
- Reward your loyal customers. How your brand is perceived is determined by your current and potential customers. Support your loyal customers to be your brand advocates. Spend time nourishing relationships with your community. Successful brands know that if they consistently create a positive experience for their customers and support them to succeed, such customers will also actively promote the brand by word-of-mouth and support them to succeed. Strong brands do several types of customer loyalty programs to reward their loyal customers such as tickets to events and movies, free merchandise, coupons, gifting them product packages and advanced released products etc.
- Consistency. To build and maintain a strong brand, you need to be consistent in presenting all aspects of your brand as well as meeting and surpassing customer expectations with your products and services. Consistency across all fronts includes your company’s name, logo, overall aesthetic design, marketing materials, website, appearances at events, content posted to social networks, etc.
It is important to know that you will never have a 100 percent control over how people perceive your brand. All you can do is ensure you are delivering on your brand promise at all times, creating a positive brand experience for your current and potential customers, and managing your reputation online and offline.
At this point, you have the tools, knowledge, and resources to start building a strong brand for your small business.
Want to learn more? The Mentor Nigeria Academy is committed to bridging the skills-gap among aspiring and young entrepreneurs by conducting training programs aimed at teaching scalable, repeatable and profitable business models. Get connected to these opportunities by registering for Opportunity Discovery Day.