6 Slick Ways To Refocus Small Business Branding
Branding is one of the fundamentals of growing a business. While you grow your team of employees and your ability to produce through the acquisition of new equipment, you should also be working on on creating a cohesive image for your business. What do you want to have people take away from their experiences with your company? If you asked a repeat customer to describe your business in as few words as possible, what would you want them to say? These are much more than trivial questions. You are going to develop a company image whether you like it or not, so it’s better that you take steps to claim that image rather than let it be decided for you. Refocusing efforts in your small business on branding should not feel like you are making a change against the grain. Ideally, your branding campaign will only need to highlight the great qualities that your small business already possesses.
1) Take a different approach. Your competition may already have taken steps towards defining a niche for themselves. If this is the case, don’t try to simply recreate the strategies that they are already using. Trying to swim upstream against the momentum that they have already created is a waste of energy and resources, as it will be more difficult to produce results from your dollars if you are trying to show customers the same thing twice. Instead, think of what is not being done, or apply a twist that puts a fresh spin on your service making it more exciting.
2) Define what’s been missing and provide it. Your business exists to provide an essential service to your clients, but that’s not all. You also bring an X factor to what you do that makes your service better than the next guys. What is that X factor? That’s something that your business needs to define, and then highlight as a part of the customer experience. As an example, three trucking companies competing for the same contract may have essentially identical equipment and resources. Who will get the contract? Odds are good the company that has the best customer service and the most appealing image will win the day, despite the fact that on paper all three companies are equally capable.
3) Look the part. Dress for success is something that everyone has heard at least one time before, but that’s because it’s pretty decent advice. The appearance of your employees will effect the impression that your business makes on your clients. Depending on what type of business you run, you may or may not require a dress code or a uniform for your employees. If your business works without much face to face contact with your customers, you can standardize the appearance of your website and social media in order to focus your branding digitally. If you work with your clients in person, then consider the fact that a dress code or uniform will allow your customers to know what to expect from your business and easily identify your employees.
4) Rally your team. Your team should know what your branding focus is in order to more effectively convey the image that you are trying to put forwards. Towards this end, calling a meeting to get your whole staff excited about your brand is a prudent move. In this meeting, be sure to lay out clearly what you are focusing on, as well as provide training that will bring everyone on the same page in regards to expectations.
5) Inform your customers. As your brand begins to take shape while your business grows, using your current customers to spread the word about your business will allow you to keep up the pace you have set for yourself. Distributing white papers, maintaining a mailing list, giving away branded items like pens, notepads, bags or other small items and interacting regularly on social media will allow you to grow the awareness of your small business within your community.
6) Stay consistent. While refocusing your brand is one thing, constantly reinventing yourself will only serve to confuse your customers, especially long time fans of your business. Before you create a branding campaign, think of where you would like your business to be next year, and the years after that. If the image that you are creating for your business will eventually become tiresome or prevent further expansion, rethink your approach. A brand takes time to mature, so reinvention can be a setback if engaged in too heavily.
Photo Credit to Lachlan Hardy on Flickr