The first step in establishing your brand to others is knowing who you are. Identify what you are offering that makes you different than competitors and know what you stand for as a brand.
By Holly Mason
How you appear to external audiences is an essential component of bringing in new business and can make the difference when buyers are looking to decide between products or services. If your business or budget are small, it doesn’t mean your brand has to be. Having a unique personality, a clear and consistent message and a personal relationship with your customers — and reaching them through various media—are the key fundamentals in creating a memorable brand.
Here are five smart branding tips regardless of business size or budget.
The first step in establishing your brand to others is knowing who you are. Identify what you are offering that makes you different than competitors and know what you stand for as a brand. The clearer you can be about the brand, the more efficiently you can communicate with your audience. Businesses that haven’t defined their value and competitive advantages risk sending vague, generic messages.
Establish Core Values
Core values must be clearly defined and understood by employees for them to follow and deliver upon them consistently. These values will be the foundation on which employees work and the basis for how they conduct themselves around one another and to clients. Once you’ve established your core values, help employees understand them and give them the tools to become your brand ambassadors. As your business grows and the world changes, these core values stay the same which make them critical to scaling business.
Develop Your Brand Identity
Even the smallest business can have a professional brand identity. Hire professionals to establish a desirable look that’s on brand and authentic to the personality and image you want to portray to the world. It’s an opportunity to look credible, established and cast a larger shadow – allowing you to compete at new levels and justify fees. Your brand is the sum of all experiences consumers have with you, so each touchpoint is an opportunity to advance or deteriorate their impression of you.
Effective communication is all about eliminating noise and letting the message come forward. Don’t try to be all things to all people – stay focused on your ideal customers and their needs. For a brand to be recognized and remembered, it must be relevant and unique. Equally important, that difference must be communicated clearly and consistently. Since people remember 40% more of what they see than what they hear or read, the job of communicating critical differences between brands comes down to design.
Now more than ever, a brand must be clear about who it is, what it stands for, what it offers and why that matters to its constituents. The good news is that consumers will always respond to a simple, clear and direct brand promise. If they find a brand lives up to that promise, they’ll stick with it. Don’t be the 2nd or 3rd brand to do something. Be the first. Be confidently courageous. Put a stake in the ground and stick with authenticity.
No matter how small your business or budget may be, always remember: be unique, be consistent and be relevant. In doing so, your brand will stand out in the noisy marketplace and help you compete with larger businesses and brands.
Holly is the Mason of MasonBaronet. As the president and owner of the company, Holly provides the collaborative work environment that is essential to producing the highly creative and strategic work that is the hallmark of the agency.