The best brands are not just a name, logo, and tagline. They have a way they do business that sets them apart from their competitors and gives them an edge not just in the market, but in the minds of consumers. For small businesses, a branding strategy is unbelievably powerful, especially when you set clear brand awareness and development goals.
But what makes good branding? It's one of the great challenges in marketing.
A great brand reflects all your company's most meaningful qualities:
Branding is about creating an identity for your company that communicates who you are and why people need your product, not the product you happen to sell.
So how do you build this identity? And what does it take to make sure it stays consistent over time? What is a brand image vs. a brand identity? What if you follow 'the branding recipe' but find yourself tied up between all the moving parts?
Let's dive into some common problems you may face while building your business' brand identity!
Not knowing how to represent your brand (Not having a brand purpose)
Your customers are smart. They can see through artificial marketing and superficial branding tactics. If you want to win your consumers over, your brand needs depth.
Studies show that consumers are 400 to 600% more likely to support companies with clearly identified missions. One of the challenges of branding lies in how you decide to communicate your goals.
Continually define what motivates your business and exactly what problems you want to solve. It makes you more intentional and relatable. Launching your brand without purpose isn't easy- how often do you hear of successful companies without solid branding?
If you're having some difficulty finding your purpose, here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
Not having a clear understanding and definition of your target audience
You don't have to draw everyone to your brand to be successful. Many think that you need to make your audience as large and as general as possible. While that tactic may work for some companies, history shows that startups who narrow their scope see more focused success.
Instead, a strong brand identity will help you engage the proper individuals in conversation—those most likely to utilize your products and services. But what if you don't know who those individuals are? Your marketing efforts will be based on speculation if you don't have a solid grasp of your target market. You'll likely squander time and money attempting to reach incorrect
demographics. If you find yourself in this situation, you'll first need a buyer persona.
What precisely is a buyer persona, then? Concisely, it's a hypothetical persona of the ideal customers for your products and services that you create through market research.
Take these factors into consideration when characterizing your users:
Use analytics from prior sales, websites, and social media to help narrow potential clients down.
Not being consistent with your branding
Say it with us—consistency is key! Your brand identity must be as consistent and recognizable as real employees. Consistency is a very prevalent small business marketing problem, too! You're not alone.
The most compelling brand narratives elicit a sense of adventure in the audience. Engineer your narrative to reflect the same qualities you would see in a human being. After all, everyone wants a company to 'be more human.' This is a surefire way to make your brand stand out.
Show rather than tell them why you're so loveable! Here are some questions to ask yourself and tips to do precisely that:
Be transparent. As we mentioned, today's consumers can smell brands inflating their claims or falsifying statements to win others over. Transparency is an integral part of your brand-building process.
Though everyone is after money, when companies begin to push the line separating what they wont and will tell consumers to sell more products, that's when customers take notice. You will set your business up for misperception and backlash.
Think about the brands you are hesitant to support because they lie to customers, hide essential details, or contradict the values they swore their company was built upon. You don't want that to be you!
Next, Identify your messaging methodology. Many brands underestimate the power of a natural, helpful voice.
Your company's voice spans everything from how your blog writers write to your website's colors and white space. There are so many ways to influence how customers subconsciously feel about your brand; keep an eye out for a future article on that!
Poor Website Experience/visual brand identity
Speaking of websites, yours should be on-point! In the modern market, everyone has a website. However, not many are successful in what they do. Website branding is often, in addition to your business's existing brand, what generates leads.
Suppose you've already embarked on your website creation journey. In that case, we recommend reading our other article, 'Best Ways to Capture Leads on Your Website' to level up your website game.
These problems are only a handful of those you may be facing, but once you start ticking these items off your brand identity checklist, we can guarantee you that some of those other problems will begin to fade away.
Desirae Haluk is passionate about marketing for startups and small businesses. For the last 15 years she has held marketing executive positions for organizations both large and small. She realizes that her true passion is helping establish, grow and evolve startups and small businesses to make them successful and help achieve their goals.