As you start your business, establishing your identity in your marketing area and building your brand image needs to be among your top priorities.
Branding, branding, branding. You'll hear how important it is over and over again in what you read online and in speaking with business and industry professionals. But what is your "brand" exactly?
This definition from Entrepreneur.com says it perfectly, "Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be."
How critical is branding to your small business? The answer is that it's absolutely essential. Branding your business helps build trust, awareness, and a base of loyal customers to grow your sales and drive future business.
A smart branding strategy starts with answering some basic questions about your business:
• What benefits and advantages does your company provide to customers?
• What business problem does your product or service resolve for your customers?
• What do you want your company to be known for?
• What qualities come to mind when customers think about your company now?
• What key message do you want all involved in your company to communicate about your brand?
When branding your business, consistency is extremely important. The messaging, color, and design in your advertising and marketing materials (both online and in print) should be well executed so customers will more easily recognize you over your competitors in the market.
Pay attention to how you deliver a consistent look, feel and message in the customer sales channels in which you participate. Clearly identify pitch, and position your product or service branding messages and image using your:
• Website, social media accounts
• Online directories
• Brochures, direct mail ads
• Newspaper ads, social media ads
• Banner, retargeting and other online ads
• Business cards, letterhead
• Promotional items
As you're building your brand identify, keep an open mind and continuously monitor how well your brand resonates with your customers. Be prepared to adjust your branding message. Make improvements in your go to market business model as necessary, and look for opportunities to reinforce and strengthen your brand.
For guidance and business advice, consider reaching out to your local SCORE chapter to speak with a mentor who has experience in helping startups and small businesses with their branding efforts.
Fox Valley SCORE provides free confidential mentoring to clients in 17 locations throughout DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, McHenry and Will counties. If you need help with existing business challenges, or are thinking about starting a new business, visit our website and click the red "Book Now" button. You can also click on "Workshops & Events" to register for one of the many free workshops throughout the year. The website is: foxvalley.score.org/