Branding is an important part of every business’ core marketing activity, be it a big enterprise or small c-store around the corner of the street. Working on your business’ branding helps give it a personality and an identity that your customers can associate with. Now, this may sound like a daunting task if you’ve not worked on it in the past but worry not – once you’re done with this checklist, you’ll be able to come up with a branding strategy that is best suited for your business in no time at all.
But before we go any further, let’s cover some basics.
What is a brand? Also, Is It Different from Your Business?
Firstly, a brand is the “name, term, sign/symbol” or a combination of these that identifies the maker or the seller of the product or service.
Secondly, yes! While branding, you need to distinguish your business and all its operations from how the average consumer perceives your business as a brand. If you were to simply focus your promotion on the products or services your business offers, you’re advertising your business rather than on branding promotions.
For example, Coca Cola’s branding has gone beyond a sweet, cola-flavored, fizzy beverage. Over the years, they have tried to make their brand about friendship, peace, and fun. Take a look at their recent ad that has the slogan “Share a Coke: Break the Ice”. Coca-Cola associates sharing a Coke with making friends.
This checklist has a list of tasks and ideas that you need to implement while creating a branding strategy for your business.
The Small Business Branding Checklist
Creating a Customer Persona
A customer persona involves formulating an image of what your average customer is like. For example, if you’re a business that tailors suits, your primary (potential) customers will be men and women, 25 years and older, who are professionals working in the corporate sector, and not teenagers. Based on this, you can decide which branding exercises you should adopt for your target audience.
Finding Your USP
A USP or a unique selling proposition is something that helps you distinguish your business’ products and services from that of your competitors. For example, imagine that you own a pizzeria, and the other pizzerias in your locality don’t deliver food. Then that is a possible window for you to develop a USP for your business. Find your business’ selling point, and decide on the branding message you want to market your business with.
Giving Your Business a Personality and Identity
The most important part of any branding exercise is giving a business a personality, as though it were almost human. You need to base this on your business goals, your USP, and your customer persona.
For example, take a look at Dove. Their branding around the name of the company, its logo, its slogan and its products suggest themes of gentleness and purity. By giving its brand such an identity, they have set themselves apart from the other cosmetic and personal care brands in the industry. Your business, despite being small scale compared to a brand like Dove, must build an equally strong identity that can resonate with consumers.
Using a Strong Business Name and Logo
Once you’ve settled on what your USP is going to be, try to come up with a business name and logo that is unique, represents your business’ services, and stands out. For example, Google’s “Alphabet” was named with a pun on the term “alpha” which means return on investment above the benchmark, and the word “bet”. So, the implication here is that Alphabet is a good Alphabet.
When it comes to your logo, think of it as an extension of your business name and what it represents. A quintessential example is the Amazon’s logo. The orange arrow that also resembles a smile, extending from the “A” to the “Z” in the word “Amazon”. The message here is that they have everything to offer from A-Z.
Scaling with a Social Media Presence
Getting on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Pinterest can help you promote all your branding strategies easily. This is because the number of people who have a social media handle is increasing exponentially., This year alone there are 2.46 billion people using social media worldwide, and is forecasted to increase to 2.77 billion users by the year 2019. Most social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, provide you with insights and analytics that can help you target your potential customers based on the provided user information.
Establishing a Local Presence
Giving your business a local presence means you’re putting your business on the Internet’s map. When consumers search for your business online or when they search for the products or services they offer, your business information will appear in the search results. This will increase your business’ visibility as a brand online and is very cost-effective as a branding exercise.
So, there, you have it! These steps are the basics to help you get started on branding exercises for your business. Remember that there is no one formula out there with some predetermined results. It involves a lot of trial and error before you find the right campaign strategy.