BRANDING SERIES: Part II
How Can Small Business Develop Their Brand?
Brand Development often begins before we even create a logo, pick colors, or think of a tag line. When we dream of that business, often the ‘why’ we want to go into business is answered. Whether we are creating a solution to a problem or developing a new way to work, we have likely thought about how to represent it to the world. That is all part of developing the company brand.
Practical Branding Development
We have discussed the overall basics of branding and ‘WHY it is important to a Company’, with our Branding Blog – Part I. Now, you may be saying, ‘that is all well and good, but how can I put that into practice with my small company’. Or ‘how can I do Brand Development with my small company?’ As discussed, you have, more than likely, already begun the process before you even opened your business. It is good to think back and remember what it was that pushed you to step out and create your company. As we think about it, another practical step you can take is to observe larger businesses. For instance, when we look at Google’s new transition to Alphabet, you can see a few common elements about branding that we can apply to our companies.
Common Elements In Branding
Some pointers, according to Allen Adamson in an article in Forbes:* “The three main components are:
- It must be a simple name – break through all the ‘noise’ of other brands.” (Google did this with Alphabet – the very simple name that can be used in different ways, yet still relates to their original brand).
- “It must tell a story – you can easily tell the story behind the brand (Google’s leaders were able to effectively tell the story of how Alphabet was created & why).”
- “Be authentic – your brand must be believable” (it has to be real and genuine for others to relate to it, even vulnerable at times), “when you tell your story, it must be believable” (1)
Remember, aside from these factors, you also have to create something of value in the eyes of the consumer or prospective client. This is something, my mentor, in branding, Dennis Thorgensen of Lisech eMarketing, tells me often. This value will, more than likely, come either from interaction directly with you (or your company), and/or interaction with your product. Some interactions will inevitably be through social media and other areas will be direct contact (even networking) or referrals. Those with a tangible product will find that interaction can also come through other sources. In some instances, depending on your product, you will find that true trust will only come after trying the product. The real value in Branding is in helping you stand out in the crowd. For every business, a brand strategy is what it takes to build the momentum necessary for survival (this will be discussed further in a future blog).
Believe In The Brand
In other words, if we believe in the brand behind the product, we buy the product even if it cost more. As an example, if I like purchasing ‘Green’, I am willing to pay a little more for a brand that has taken time to show me they are ‘Green’ also. We all tend to group together in communities of like-mindedness. Like-minded individuals usually find one another in person and online. If you realize this prior to putting yourself or your brand out there, you could benefit substantially. You can use this to your advantage and work it into your strategy as you roll out your company and/or product. Realizing who your product or services are meant to help, will help you in brand development.
We will discuss much more about strategy, online platforms and how to tie it all together later. Keep in mind a couple of things that are most important when developing your brand and brand message.
Be Consistent – this means everywhere you go, in person or online, you are carrying your company brand with you. Many think you can separate your personal and your business, but that could not be farther from the truth. You represent your brand and even become your brand, in some cases, everywhere you go! Be sure that what you put on social media, what you say to prospective clients and even your tone (whether in person or online), can and will affect your brand. It is up to you if it is a positive or negative affect. Do not confuse your community by putting out differing ideas, logos, and even colors, as they will not begin to recognize your brand with mixed messages!
Tools – In considering tools, it is wise to choose those that will allow you to also represent your branding. In other words, when you post, is your logo on every post? When sending out items to clients, is your logo on the letters and emails. Remember, even when invoicing, we must have our brand represented. A good example of using a tool that allows you to keep your brand at the forefront is Freshbooks.com. I use Freshbooks for my invoicing and basic accounting (receipts, etc…).
This is an easy accounting and invoicing system for ‘Service’ type companies. It was very easy to set up my company account and even download my logo so that when I invoice clients, my brand is on the invoice also. When clients or prospective clients continue to see and hear your brand and brand voice, it becomes more and more recognizable. Therefore, be sure that even the tools you use to make your work easier or flow better are still going to represent you and your brand properly.
Be Genuine – Be yourself and do not try to imitate another person. People want to hear from you and hear your ‘voice’, to hear your brand. They want to learn your story to follow your brand; just as we have been discussing. If you are putting your brand out, especially through social media and blogs, your followers will soon learn your brand voice. If you are genuine, you do not have to be concerned every time you sit down to post, because if you are real and genuine, it will simply be you, the extension of your brand.
Keeping my voice real here – the is Tammy, saying thank you for stopping by and taking time to read my blog. I look forward to bringing another in our Branding Series next time. If you have any questions you would like answered or comments, please leave it below in the comments section. We truly do read them and look forward to them.
I also cannot go without a grateful thank you, once again, for my branding mentor, Dennis Thorgensen of Lisech eMarketing. He has over 30 years of brand consulting experience, for his review of this article and his mentor-ship!