These days, most people recognize the importance of branding as part of both a personal and professional strategy. Many businesses provide branding support to clients but sometimes forget to give their own brand the required time and attention it deserves.
Solidifying and fostering a strong business brand is a key component to business success.
According to the Small Business Encyclopedia on Entrepreneur.com, branding is defined as “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. Simply put…your brand is your promise to your customer.”
So how can you achieve a solid business brand that communicates value and promise?
Start by developing a branding strategy which includes the “how, what, where, when, and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages”.
Here are 5 steps to help you build a business branding strategy:
- Nail down a mission or vision statement that summarizes the unique focus and value of your business. Again, what is your promise to your clients? Clarifying offerings will help services better connect to, and resonate, with a target audience. A mission statement can also help illuminate expectations: i.e. what you do or do not do.
- Identify ‘right-fit’ clients. Knowing who your target audience is will help better refine branding messages, aligning services and offerings with select personal requirements. For example, are you looking to provide job search support to new career professionals? This offering would be a great fit for new graduates, so perhaps post-secondary students are your right-fit clients.
- Compile strong and succinct messages. Messages roll your brand and promise into value statements that can be shared across a variety of platforms. Many businesses use memorable taglines, like Nike’s “Just Do It” or Skittles “Taste the Rainbow”. Other companies use consistent brand messages such as Folgers: “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup”. Aim to compile similar, succinct messages or a tagline to represent your services or products.
- Research where your target audience ‘hangs-out’ or is likely to see your messages. Again, if you want to connect with new graduates then building a presence at colleges or universities makes sense. Identify what medians are available to share your messages at select locations. Today, most people use social media and the internet to research products/services so a strong online presence is important for branding purposes. Find out which platforms most relate to your audience and get visible there.
- Get your messages in front of your audience. Once your brand has been clarified; your right-fit client identified; and your memorable branding messages compiled…it’s time to get your messages distributed. Websites, social media accounts, blog posts, networking efforts, emails, newsletters, association directories, etc. are all opportunities to share brand messages and your unique ‘customer promise’.
Two final thoughts to help support branding success.
The foundation of many brands is a company logo. Spend appropriate time developing a clear and memorable image to support your brand. Consider the colors and images you want to represent your business. Stemming from this will be a website and all promotional materials which will incorporate this logo.
Finally, consistency is extremely important to brand success. Consistent messaging and promotional efforts not only ensure your brand remains clear and identifiable, but also ensures your audience is kept engaged. Make time each year to re-evaluate your business brand strategy and strengthen any of the above steps to help keep your brand strong and respected!
Need help developing a brand strategy? We can help! In addition to brand planning we offer logo creation, new business support, and website development for small businesses and independent practitioners. Reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!