4 questions to ask when branding your small business
Whether it’s a large corporation or a small business, branding is one of the most important aspects of marketing.
Your brand sets you apart from your competitors and tells your customers what they can expect from you.
According to a Nielson survey, 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from familiar brands. Corporate branding is one of the best ways to build and maintain the trust of your customers.
Not only that, but a proper trademark can also lead to increased sales, word of mouth referrals, and promotion of what you are selling.
Here are 4 questions to ask and answer while building a brand:
1. Who are you?
You can’t be everything to everyone. As you grow your corporate brand, you must gradually narrow down who your target customers are.
If your customers know you for your low-cost products, your brand message and branding strategy will reflect that. If your customers perceive your company as innovative and cutting edge, do it for them.
Let’s use an example. A relationship therapist offering marriage counseling will focus on branding strategies to appeal to a target audience of married couples, not troubled teens or heartbroken pet owners.
2. What is your mission statement?
One of the first elements of creating a brand is defining your mission statement. Your mission statement is related to what your company is most passionate about.
Some of the questions you can ask in this business branding exercise include:
• Why are you in business?
• What do you want for your customers?
• How is it different from your competitors?
• Where do you think your company will go in the future?
• What underlying philosophies or values do you have around your business?
Take a look at Nike’s mission statement. While you may be more familiar with their motto “Just do it,” here is your mission statement. “It brings innovation and inspiration to all athletes in the world.”
Your mission statement will influence everything from your tagline and logo to your tone of voice.
3. What is your brand message?
When creating a brand, it is important to start with your brand message. Your brand message can be boiled down to your value proposition and the tone of your content.
The brand message is what inspires and persuades buyers to buy your product or service.
MailChimp has a simple three-word branding message – send better emails. It’s straightforward and tells you exactly what to expect if they use your service.
Let’s use the relationship therapist again as an example. He or she could create a brand message that is bold and direct: save your marriage. Or you could focus on compassion and listening, and create a brand message around that: I’m here for both of you.
4. What is your brand strategy?
Your brand strategy refers to how, what, where, when and to whom you deliver your brand messages.
First, you need to determine your overall goals when it comes to your corporate branding. Are you trying to reach a new audience or steal market share from a competitor?
Included in your long-term branding strategy can be:
• What you communicate, such as your logo, tagline, and language on the website copy.
• Where you advertise. Do you use Google AdWords, social media marketing, brochures, bus stop ads …
• How you will reach customers, whether through weekly emails announcing sales or seasonal contests to keep them engaged with your brand.
The corporate brand is a process.
It is not easy and it does not happen overnight, not even in a few months. However, continued effort can result in better relationships with your customers, more leads and sales, and more confidence in your product or service.
It can be very difficult to focus on branding strategies on your own, and the risk of not doing it correctly can be devastating to your business.