Relationships are important in businesses and one of the most important relationships is the one with your customers. Just as in personal relationships, the purpose of brand building is to connect with customers, emotively. To tell your customers what your brand stands for, to share and promote the same set of values and beliefs and more importantly to stand out from your competitors. Connected customers stay loyal and become great advocates for your business. More than just the colour of your logo, Branding is the identity of your business.
Here are five integral lessons to help small businesses develop a strong brand and achieve business success.
Lesson 1: Define Your Identity
Imagine your business as a person, with a character defined by values, beliefs and purposes. Who is this person? What does this person do? What kind of qualities does this person have? What are his mission, values and beliefs? What is your story? What do you stand for?
Taking a leaf from the world famous coffee brand, Starbucks,
“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand” — Howard Schultz, CEO Starbucks.
Lesson 2: Find Your Voice
Just as how people’s personalities determine how they interact and behave, the “voice” or personality of your business guides the way you connect with your customers. Think about how news or information should be communicated, how do you respond to feedback? Which platforms do you use to communicate? How you say it is as important as what you say, take time to develop and refine your “voice”. As how the “Father of Advertising” puts it,
“Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the marketplace“. — David Olgilvy, Founder Olgilvy & Mather
Lesson 3: Be Consistent
Once you have defined your character and personality, take the effort to be consistent. From internal staff training to external communications, every customer touchpoint should present the same brand experience. Consistency reinforces your brand identity, builds familiarity and allows your customers to know exactly what to expect from your business. Consistency helps create and build the brand experience.
“People don’t buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic” — Seth Godin, Author, Entrepreneur, Marketer.
Lesson 4: Deliver Delight
At the heart of every business, is the product or service it provides. Businesses that don’t deliver on their brand promises lose their customers and put their reputation at risk. Deliver value and be true to your brand promise. Delight your customers and they will be back!
“Your brand name is only as good as your reputation” — Richard Branson, Founder Virgin Group
Lesson 5: Name and Logo
Brand recognition starts with the name of the business. A name that is recognisable and easy to remember helps in brand recall. It also adds credibility to the business. A logo communicates at a glance, builds trust and helps to pull your brand together. Take it from the top designer of luxury products Karl Lagerfeld, “Logos and branding are so important. In a big part of the world, people cannot read French or English but are great in remembering signs”
It is not unusual for businesses to undergo rebranding to better connect with their customers, so do not seek perfection at the start, instead, choose to refine and change with the times.
Think about all the brands that you love and observe how they keep to these lessons. Small businesses can have big brands, especially when the world is so much more connected today. Think big and build your brand for a global marketplace.
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