Your brand is essential. It’s how your customers think of your company and what sets it apart from competitors.
One of the most important aspects of your business is your brand. It is much more than your logo or the design style of your store or products. It also includes the set of values your business represents. It can be fun to define and bring your brand to life. We asked, Alastair Ironside, chief marketing at Rockland Trust, about what small business owners need to know about building a brand.
Why Is Branding Important For Your Business? Learn More Here!
How can I build my brand?
As the owner, you know your business better than anyone else. You likely already have an idea, but just need to put some careful thought into what makes it stand out. This part of the branding process is vital because it can save you from making costly mistakes later on.First, you must answer a pretty basic question: Who is your target customer? Understanding who you are targeting will help you determine what their needs are and where they spend their time and get information. With these customer insights, you can then decide how to best position your company, products and services to meet their needs. Next, map out your competitors. Consider how they are positioning themselves and what their brand stands for. This research will help you articulate how you are different.
With your target audience and competitive mapping in mind, create a plan regarding how to position your brand. Some questions to ask yourself:
One of the most important ways to build a brand is through consistency. If your brand is inconsistent - by the way people talk about it or the colors used on collateral - it can confuse your customers. Similarly, negative comments or bad publicity about your business can damage your reputation, and dilute all the effort you put into building your brand.
To ensure consistency internally and with external partners, create a brand guideline document. This is the one-stop-shop for everything related to your brand. It can be as simple as a Word document or a more detailed, stylized resource, but it should be used to keep your visual and messaging assets in once place.
Brand guidelines should include what your brand stands for, how you are unique, who your target audience is, the tone and personality of your brand, as well as visual elements like logos, brand colors and fonts and treatments for imagery.
PRO TIP: Tone and personality carry through your messaging, marketing collateral and social media. Consider how you want to talk to customers and how it relates to your brand. “Some brands take a more informal and friendly tone, while others take on a more authoritative voice, “said Alastair. “Some differentiate their brand with humor. Regardless of tone, the most important thing is to be consistent.”
Can I build a brand on a budget?
As a small business, you likely do not need to spend a lot of advertising dollars if you stay focused. Instead of a one-time big spend, it’s usually more impactful to consistently get in front of your target audience over an extended period of time.
“To maximize your advertising investment, identify where your target audience is spending their time and consider how to get in front of them. Social media is a great way to get in front of customers at a lower cost than traditional advertising.”
Thinking outside of the box can help you find low cost ways to reach your target market. For example, if you are trying to reach new parents, you know that many working parents spend time interacting with a daycare provider. You may consider partnering with a local daycare to get your product or service in front of parents through an event or paper insert for diaper bags.
One of the best ways to support and maintain a brand is through word-of-mouth from satisfied customers who recommend your business. Another great (and low cost) way to build your brand is to empower your employees to be brand ambassadors. After arming them with your brand guidelines, encourage employees to share more about what they do for work and why with their family and friends.
At Rockland Trust, we have helped thousands of business owners just like you achieve their goals, from starting a business to transitioning to the next generation and everything in between. Check out our Learning Center for more helpful advice.
Get the latest financial tips and advice by signing up to receive our emails.
Rockland Trust Online Banking gives you a variety of services that help you use and manage your accounts, whenever and wherever you want.
* indicates a required field.
Rockland Trust makes it easy to manage all of your accounts with our simple online portals.
Rockland Trust gives you a variety of services that help you use and manage your accounts, whenever and wherever you want.
* indicates a required field.