Small Business Marketing: Improving Your Branding

published by Jason Pocock,

There’re lots of challenges on our way to success, and facing them with the right attitude is necessary in order to grow as a person. Driving a business is no different. We’ll have to face many challenges and take care of every single factor that’s relevant to it if we want to reach our goals…

and it’s the most important element in creating a good first impression on our audience.

A brand is the face of our company, and it’s the most important element to give a good first impression on our audience…

Our brand paints a portrait of our company, reflects how trustworthy and professional we are, and has a big influence on the buying decisions of potential clients. Building a good brand is important in many ways:

  • Makes your business recognizable and constructs reputation.
  • Increases your business value.
  • Builds customers trust that inspires credibility.
  • Influences prospects through emotional connections.
  • Wins overall competitive advantage.

For this, we need to see behind our buyer persona’s eyes and ask ourselves: Who are they? How do they judge us? How, when and where do they interact with our company? What do they need?  Can I solve their problems? Every niche has different answers to these questions, but thankfully we’re in the internet era, which means that the answer to most of these questions can be found in the same place. Can you guess where it is? That’s right…online!
 
The Internet is important because the interaction with your audience is what branding is all about, and it’s through this process that your audience starts becoming your customers. The following guide consists of 5 steps to create a successful brand.

1. Create an awesome website

Many small companies refuse to create a website because they think they’re not big enough, however, they’re never going to get big without a website!

A website is the home of your company. And it’s excellent for branding because you can control everything your audience experiences. This means you have total control over the impressions your visitors have on your business, and you can even win sales with it!

Create an “about us” page that inspires familiarity and human interest to your visitors, you want them to trust you and see you as professionals. That’s why you need to insert human and credible resources into your “about us” page by adding familiar faces from your work team and accomplishments from your company. Hopefully, this generates a good impression of your team, but it also it creates and emotional connections with them.

It doesn’t matter how attractive your website is if you don’t have enough visitors, so you’ll need more channels to lead people to your website. Many brands create blogs, social media accounts, advertising and any kind of channel that gets the audience to know about your business and what it has to offer.

2. Be social on the right social platform

When branding, creating social media accounts is also critical in order to generate awareness. So if people like you, they will follow you…

However, having followers is not useful if they’re not engaged with your content.

You can measure your engagement by looking at the number of likes, reactions, shares, comments, or responses from your followers. The ratio between followers and engagements is what defines the quality of your followers.

That being said, in order to engage your followers with your content and create awareness, your posts should have the following qualities:

  • BEING HUMAN – Talk like a human and respond to your audience like a human. This will make your brand more relatable and trustworthy. This post explains how social media is similar to online dating.
  • RELATED TO YOUR NICHE – Be consistent with your topics, and make sure they’re relevant to your brand’s personality and interesting for your buyer persona.
  • BE REGULAR – Schedule your posts, based on analytics tools like these ones. Irregular posting can really hurt your social media branding.
  • VISUALLY APPEALING – Especially on Instagram, the visuals should blend with your brand identity since it’s a critical aspect that associates your posts with your brand.

p.s. Xara Cloud is a great tool to create visual social media posts in just minutes, without needing any design experience. Start your free trial to check it out.

3. Set your mission and have clear goals

Your company exists because you’re providing products or services that satisfy a need. In other words, your business makes the world a little better. So, to set your mission, find out why you make the world better, and set your ultimate mission based on it.

If your brand automates a process, your mission should be something like “save people from hazardous laboring conditions” or “get humanity one-step closer to a world with no harmful laboring”, because they’re related to your business model.

Your mission should captivate your target audience, so they strongly relate to your brand and feel good when buying from you.  For instance, you can see Elon Musk’s multiple businesses, they’re all Hi-Tech companies driven by the mission to save humanity and change the world. Or even Apple’s Ads with its “Think Different” phrase, something that differentiates them from their competitors and adds value to their products.

When you’re going to advertise, make references to your mission. Consider things like an easy-to-remember phrase that creates emotional bonds with your audience, an image that reflects your mission’s goals and/or a unique design that identifies your brand – things that will automatically portray you as a purpose-oriented company, and persuade people to align with your cause and support you.

In order to do this, you can use Xara Cloud to manage your advertising content, import logos and utilize fonts that match your brand.

Also, repeating this approach through advertising improves your branding consistency, which builds recognition of your brand. The more people see you, the more they will remember you!

4. Build your brand identity

Everything I told you until now is going to be meaningless if your brand has neither identity nor personality. Your identity is everywhere, and it represents your brand’s ideas, behaviors, personality, style, and directions. It gives humanity and life to your business and builds a deeper relationship with your customers (remember how many times I’ve talked about establishing bonds with your audience).

Most articles about branding mention identity in their first or second point (or even on the title). But in this case, I wanted you to read it backwards since we all tend to recall the last points better than the first (also I hope it will encourage you to re-read the first points and better remember that information!).

To build a solid identity for your brand, ask yourself: Who are we? What do we do? Why are we doing it? What kind of people need our services? How clear is our purpose to our audience? Then begin to write a story… the story of your brand.

Brand storytelling provides you with the ability to connect with people, on a deeper and emotional level that goes beyond just a business transaction. This is called “Brand Narrative”.

Also, for a successful brand narrative, you’ll need to build brand consistency, which involves delivering continuous messages related to your brand, presenting brand assets, such as logos, colors, tone, style and the overall features that define your identity. This makes your brand recognizable, trustworthy and familiar to your customers, differentiating you from your competition.

Everything that comes from your company should have your identity in order to build branding consistency. Your products, tools, storefront, website, social media, packages, uniforms, advertising, messages… Literally everything.

Think about your brand as if it was a person. What is their personality and identity? How would they talk? How would they walk? How would they behave? Would your audience like them? How should they dress? Which colors suit them best?

This leads us to the next point.

5. Design your brand’s aesthetics

Let’s face it, we’re visual creatures. It would be tedious to read a description of the Eiffel Tower or New York that was all words and no pictures! We’re not meant to just read and read, but we do it because it is extremely important to archive information. But on the other hand, it would be impossible to describe this post with just images, right? This means that words, visuals, voices and videos should complement each other.

For branding, we need to take care of every interaction we establish with our audience (text, images, infographics…) in order to reflect our identity appropriately… This builds our “aesthetics”.

The aesthetics of our brand need to be intrinsically related to our business niche and philosophy. For instance, an oil company can’t relate with rainbows colors and ponies.

To do this, we need to find the aesthetic that fits with our brand’s ideas, messages, and personality. These 5 steps summarize the building process of a successful aesthetic:

  • BRAINSTORM YOUR IDEAS – think about what’s relevant to your business and begin to draw lots of things. Then, inside all the mess you’ve created, do some deep diving into anything you think is good.
  • BUILD YOUR BUYER PERSONA – Who’s your audience? Start describing a person (or many) that represents the people you’re trying to sell to. This ends up with a personality that matches your brand, and your aesthetic design should rely on the style that your audience relates to.
  • FIND UNIQUENESS – Now you should begin the editing process, and start finding unique aspects that differentiate your brand from your competition. But don’t go crazy, it should be unique enough to match your identity, without people making memes with it!
  • ADAPT YOUR DESIGNS – After you get a solid design, adapt your brand to every single platform you work on (website, social media, store, packages…) and build branding consistency across all your channels exposing your identity.
  • GET FEEDBACK – Find different opinions from many people, especially from people that fit with your buyer persona. This approach will open your mind and let you see objectively certain aspects that you wouldn’t consider otherwise.

Xara Cloud is ideal for small business marketing, it possesses smart design tools that ease your branding consistency process with ready to use templates that can be shared across all your networks. Pretty useful if you can’t afford graphic designers.

Remember, your brand is going to represent your company everywhere. Put all your efforts into building the perfect one.

This process takes lots of time. It may take weeks, several months or even years. So be patient.

Good luck! If you want any help just get in touch, I’m happy always happy to help.

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