9 Ways to Build a Brand for Your Small Business

Building a brand for your small business can help you define your goals, target audience, vision and overall look. Check out these tips on how to build a brand.
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Build a brand: What if you were the main thing holding back your small business?

The only way for a small business to go big is for that business to successfully build a brand. However, many CEOs and managers don’t know where to start and end up squandering potential.

Wondering how to build a brand that will last for the ages? Keep reading to discover the answer!

1. Know Your Role, Build your Brand

The first step to building a brand is understanding your brand. And on the most basic level, this means understanding your customer’s material and emotional needs and understanding how you fulfill them.

And the “trick” to this is that there is always a way to improve how customers emotionally react to your brand. That can come from improving demographic understanding (see below) and/or adjusting audience perception of your function and values.

You can build a brand that targets millennials
With a clear target customer, Wendy’s had a very successful marketing campaign that lead to their most successful product launch.

This is an ongoing process. For example, everyone knows Wendy’s has a sassy social media presence, but that only started in the last few years in an attempt to reach their Millennial customers.

As a branding move, it has been a huge success. And it all started with a better understanding of who their customers are.

2. Demographic Dive

Every business thinks they understand exactly who their customers are. However, most businesses need to improve that understanding!

Demographics can change over time. Gen X and Millennials were once the same age, but they hold different values, forcing businesses to change how they brand to this age bracket.

Gen X and Millennials were once the same age, but they hold different values.

And your primary customers may surprise you. When Old Spice discovered how much of their male body wash was being purchased by wives and girlfriends, they ran a long campaign to appeal specifically to women!

What does this mean for you and your brand? You need to use things like CRM and other analytical tools to fully understand who your customers are.

These tools allow you to create different customer segments and better understand their buying habits. You can then adjust your products and branding accordingly.

3. The Mission Statement

Maybe you have a perfect idea of what your brand is. But do your employees?

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to write out a mission statement. This gives you a chance to outline how your business impacts employees, communities, and the larger world.

Build a brand by having a clear brand position
It’s important to ensure that all employees have a clear understanding of your brand values.

Think of this as an “elevator pitch” for your brand. Employees new and old can quickly read this statement and better understand your vision for the brand.

4. Brands As People

We’ve been focusing on businesses as brands. However, successful branding requires you to go one step further and see brands as people.

No, really: customers enjoy interacting with brands through venues such as social media. And (for better or for worse) they tend to view the voice of that brand as a singular representation of the brand.

Try to figure out what kind of person your demographic would look up to or want to hang out with

Try to figure out what kind of person your demographic would look up to or want to hang out with. Once you nail things like personality, tone, and sense of humor, you’ve got the key ingredients of a solid brand.

5. Making a “Difference”

Every small business has a direct competitor. The big question: do your customers know what sets the two of you apart?

A fast food restaurant can build a brand to differentiate themselves from competition
Fast food chains all try to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Imagine someone craving a fast food burger. Countless places offer what he wants, and their branding challenge is making sure the customer knows what unique value they have.

You need to figure out what your own point of difference is from the competition and really advertise it. Even something simple, like awesome customer service, can set you apart in a world of inhuman automation.

6. Limit the Visionaries

Ever hear about “too many cooks in the kitchen?” This can happen when building a brand!

When there are too many visionaries, that vision gets muddled. And at the end of the day, a singular brand voice cannot be created by a committee.

Try to limit final brand approval to yourself and maybe a professional designer. Make it clear that while you welcome ideas from other employees, the buck stops with the two of you.

Don't try to build a brand by committee
A singular brand voice cannot be created by a committee.

7. Embrace Branding Opportunities

What does good branding look like in your head? If you can only think about advertisements, then your head is stuck in the 20th century.

Start thinking about everything as a branding opportunity. When you run promotions, for instance, think about how you can inject your brand voice and tone into them in a way that speaks directly to your demographic.

Social media interactions are the same way. When someone has a question or problem, you should see this as more than customer service. This is your chance to help define who you are to an audience of thousands via social media!

Persona's are a key part of building a brand
Social Media is the perfect way to connect with prospects and customers

8. Consistent Visuals

What are the most iconic brand visuals you can think of? Most people answer with things like the Nike symbol.

If you don’t already have one, you need your own eye-catching logo. This is where hiring a professional designer really starts to pay off.

While they are at it, have the designer create a visual style guide. This ensures that your future marketing and other material consistently has the same “look.”

That may sound simple, but a good brand is nothing if customers cannot easily identify it.

9. Social Media Guidelines

Speaking of consistency, you’ll want to create special social media guidelines for your company.

Social media is important to market your brand
A social media guideline is an important piece of forming a social media strategy

Even if you have a rockstar social media guru on the team, they won’t be there forever. And you’ll probably have more than one person making posts across different social media channels.

Social media guidelines are like an online extension of your mission statement.

Social media guidelines are like an online extension of your mission statement. They make sure every post is consistent with your mission and values as well as customer expectations.

This aspect of branding is particularly important because a heavy social media presence offers a powerful ROI for small businesses.

How to Build a Brand: The Bottom Line

Now you have the hottest tips to help you build a brand. But do you know where to find a “secret weapon” in your branding battles?

Here at Oda Creative, we help give small businesses the look, tone, and feel customers will never forget. To see how we can transform your brand, come request a quote today!

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