A big thank you to Annie Peterson for this awesome content about small business branding!
If you’re an entrepreneur or looking to become one, you should know that developing an effective small business brand strategy requires time, effort, and a lot of research.
But the big question is: how do you even know where to get started?
To get the answer, well, you’ve come to the right place!
Keep reading and you’ll learn about how to get started developing an effective brand strategy for your small business.
Before you consider starting your small business, it is a must for you to really know who your target audience is.
In other words, you’ll want to think about your potential customer: Who are they? What do they like about similar businesses and brands in your industry?
Then, go another step further and ask yourself about what encourages them to buy from these brands? What are their most common problems?
The answer to these questions will help you develop your buyer persona, which is essentially a semi-fictional representation of who your ideal customers are.
When you nail down your audience, you can then start to build your small business brand strategy.
This is also when you should develop your value proposition.
A value proposition is a promise you make to your customer about what your business delivers. This can be in the form of either a product, service or both!
In the end, knowing your audience ensures you make good on this promise.
This is where things can get creative and fun! What’s unique about your small business? What’s the one thing that makes you stand out from the crowd?
Knowing what makes you different from the competition is key to developing an effective small business brand strategy. This can also help immensely with helping you to stand out in a sea of other small businesses.
Once you know your point of difference (POD), also known as a unique selling proposition or USP, you can start developing your small business brand.
However, this will involve some in-depth research and personalization.
While what makes you stand out is crucial to any brand strategy, you also need to know what doesn’t work in your niche.
To learn this, check out your competitors to see if you can identify any trends. Consider looking at their social media feed, website or emails. Get a feel for who they are and what can set you apart on the best way.
For example, you might notice that other similar businesses in your industry focus their brand strategy on Instagram, but not Facebook. In that case, this could indicate that Instagram is where your ideal target audience likely spends a great deal of time.
Also, take note of things like business logos and colour palettes. If bright colours seem to be the standard, you might want to try something similar with your branding materials. But beware: you never want to take any branding ideas from another small business deliberately – there are legal precautions for replicating – so be careful.
It’s always best practice to start developing an effective small business brand strategy that requires you to observe, take note, and incorporate what is proven to work with your competitors. Most importantly making something your own is what can help.
After you’ve identified your audience, value proposition, and have developed some branding guidelines, everything you produce needs to tie into your small business brand.
Think about all the points of contact your business has with its audience.
From advertising to public relations, part of an effective small business brand identity is implementing it consistently across the board.
The best way to promote consistency is to develop an internal branding model or brand guide. An internal branding model is a compilation of any branding-related information, making it an essential tool you and your employees can refer to any time you want to build content for your audience.
Specifically, many large and small business owners use social media on a daily basis. Successful brands communicate their marketing strategy with great value propositions with their products or services.
Building your brand means taking the parts of your brand elements and building your audience’s awareness. Doing this on a consistent basis can expand your reach and allow potential customers to know, like and trust you.
Part of developing a strong brand and an effective small business strategy is to evaluate what’s working and what needs to change.
So pay attention to the data to further understand your audience.
Data will show you what brand strategies work well for your business. It will also show you areas that need improvement.
An effective small business brand strategy can evolve, so pay close attention on how you can evolve and stay relevant and aware of your audience.
Focusing your attention and efforts on what works well will help you to fine-tune your branding message, essentially increasing your chances of long term success!