Small business success relies on a myriad of things, but in many ways, it can be drawn into a simple formula. Truthfully, whether you have a national brand or simply want to focus on Joplin, Missouri, marketing, your company will need to focus on branding, a strong website, and a 21-52 marketing plan. We break down this theory in our latest free guide, but today’s post is the first in a series that will give an overview of each piece. We’ll start by diving into branding for small businesses.
Why Branding Is Important
Quite simply, branding is what differentiates your business from one that provides similar services and products. Just consider the fact that you’re unlikely to confuse Burger King, McDonald’s, and Whataburger, despite the fact that what each of them is known for is burgers. Branding is what tells current and prospective customers who your business is and how to recognize and value your products and services.
What Makes Up a Brand
It can be all too easy to assume that branding is limited to the design of your logo and the color and font of your company name. Remember, branding is who your business is, and that means it encompasses much, much more than you probably think.
That means your choice of colors impacts much more than just your logo or wordmark. It should influence the colors of your office/storefront, advertising, and even elements of your social media. Other cross-channel elements include taglines and jingles. However, there are some very intangible elements to your branding as well. How customers feel about your business and your ability to deliver your promises is just as important as your design elements.
How To Build a Brand
First and foremost, consistency is critical. The way that a potential customer experiences your brand through a mailer should parallel what they’ll experience in an email or on your website. The language you use in your radio ad should parallel the language they’ll hear when they call your store or navigate your website. Ensure that your company is recognizable no matter where a person encounters it.
Of course, in order to do that effectively and appeal to your customers, you’ll need to define a few things first. Start by understanding who your customers and your broader audience is; don’t make assumptions! Determine where they are, i.e., which channels they prefer to use and where they want to encounter your brand. It may take some time to build a brand identity and voice, but remember that you should be telling stories in the process. For a more in-depth look at this process, check out our guide.
How Branding Builds Small Business Success
We cannot emphasize this enough: your branding is more than your logo, tagline, products, and services. It is the holistic idea of your brand, and that provides a number of impacts when leveraged effectively. For one thing, branding ensures consistency across all of your communication channels, which in turn breeds trust and improves brand and message recall. Because branding is about the solutions you provide, how you solve customer problems further builds trust while lifting brand perception and loyalty. Each of these things come together to lift sales and generate strong reviews and word-of-mouth.
Here at Zimmer Radio Inc., we believe that small business success relies on a formula of three ingredients. Branding is simply the first. Each is critical in their own right deserves full attention from marketers and business owners. Be sure to tune in for Part 2, when we’ll take a look at the necessity for a solid website, or check out our full guide, The 3-Step Formula for Small Business Marketing Success.