Branding according to the Small Business Encyclopedia is “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products”.
I think the Small Business Encyclopedia is only telling small business owner 1/2 the story. Creating a brand is more than a name or design, it is your voice to your customers. It is what they can expect each time they interact with one of your employees, your product/service, your website or interact with you on social media.
Your brand is also YOU. When people know you own a company, they watch how you interact not only on a business level but on a professional level. What you do and how you do it, tells your brands story.
If you are unsure of your brand or do not have a brand strategy keep reading.
Answer the following questions to create a brand strategy:
What is your company’s mission?
What problems do you solve for your customers? Do not list your solutions, list the actual problems.
What products/services do you offer? What are their benefits? Why would someone buy your product/service vs your competitor?
What qualities do you want associated with your brand? Pick 3 keywords to focus on
If you already have a brand, ask your current and previous customer to describe your brand in 3 words.
Now that you have a clear picture of what you want take a look at:
logo – Does it represent your mission and your qualities keywords?
Write down or create your brand message
Create your voice – Decide how you are going to incorporate your message into how you interact with customers on the phone, in-person and email.
Take a look at your website – Does it represent your brand? Does give the look and feel of your three quality keywords?
Take a look at your employees – When they speak to a customer do they represent your brand. To keep your brand consistent do you need uniforms, dress codes or scripts. What kind of training do you need to provide?
Once you have your brand in place and your employees trained one of the keys to a successful brand strategy is consistency and be true to your brand. Even if it means walking away from potential business.