The Basics of Small Business Branding

You own a small business and you’re doing well but recently you have noticed that your competitors have a slight edge on you. Wondering why? Chances are, it has nothing to do with your product or price – it’s the simple fact that they are more memorable than you. There are two ways that you can increase your memorability. The first is through advertising and marketing and the second is through small business branding and brand strategy. To learn more, continue reading this article. Today, we will discuss the branding basics and give you some need-to-know branding tips.

Before we discuss branding tips, let’s begin by discussing a simple question: what is branding? Think about small business branding as a definition of what the clients think your business is about. With a good brand strategy, you can easily differentiate your services or products from those of your competitors, giving you the leading edge. To clarify, let’s use a brief example. You wake up late one morning and if you don’t leave soon you will be late for work. You don’t have time to make your own breakfast but you do have time to stop for a quick drive through bite. As you are thinking about where to go, you suddenly hear “Badabababa I’m lovin it” play in your mind. Where do you head? Towards the golden arches!

Why did you choose McDonalds? You may think that it is because their food tastes great (and that can definitely be part of it), but doesn’t most fast food taste good? Most people do not realize that many of the decisions they make are based on branding. McDonalds has developed a great tag line that sticks in our heads. On top of that, anyone over the age of 3 knows what the golden arches represent. Small business branding, or the combination of a good tag line and a memorable logo, play a significant role in the success that McDonalds has seen in the past decade. By creating a strong brand strategy and developing your own tagline and logo, you too can see your business expand by making it memorable to your clients.

Let’s cover some cool branding tips to help you build a magnetic brand. First of all, there are many things that you can do to increase the successfulness of your logo and tagline. However, of all the branding tips available, there is one that stands out as the most important; small business branding alone is not enough. Once you have developed a brand strategy, logo, and tagline, you must follow through on your promises. If your tagline is “I’m lovin it”, you better keep customers loving it. You can do this through brand management. Brand management involves a great deal of things, each of which is designed to keep your customers happy and keep them remembering your brand in a positive light. Brand management can include things such as manufacturing a high quality product, keeping your prices reasonable, and providing high quality customer service.

If you own a business, small business branding will become a necessary part of attracting customers. By developing a brand for your customers, you will make your business memorable, keeping them interested and returning for more. If there is one piece of information that you should take away from branding tips it is this one; branding alone is not enough. You must also engage in brand management tactics to ensure that your brand is seen in a positive light rather than a negative one. Start developing a brand strategy for your business today and give your customers something to remember you by!

Silvia Pencak is The Magnetic Branding Expert and Mentor. For over 7 years Silvia kept building successful venues in Europe and Canada. She became known as the expert in building a powerful brand and is often asked for advice in management, marketing and organizational areas of building a powerful small business brand. She understands that the power of branding, authenticity, relationship building and marketing efforts can make or break a successful business.

Tips and Strategies of Small Business Branding!

When you want to create a strong brand strategy for a newly start business then you have to consider a lot of factors for it. You must think of the main points that can make a big difference for your brand and company. Thus, the very first thing which you need to do for your small business branding is to develop a logo design for your brand that will make your customers remember your brand, secondly you must create a strong and catchy tagline that will best describe your business; lastly, you have to create a positive image of your business in the marketplace so that your potential audience will find your brand professional and appealing when you present your business in a most convincing and attractive way to the public.

Below are some tips and strategies that will help you making your small business branding successful.

If you are small business owner then you must create strong branding techniques for your small business and make it memorable for the audience. If you have a memorable business logo, catchy tagline and professional company name, you can appropriately represent your business to the target audience. Although if you have a small business and you have already decided a name for it then it should be definitely your next step to create a strong brand strategy that is effective and credible for your small business success. So keep it in mind that your corporate logo is not only a graphical image, however, it is the visual representation of a company as it is also helpful for the instant recognition for the public. If you haven’t created a logo for your small business then below are some tips that will assist you creating a small business logo design.

All in all, you will require selecting appropriate and relevant elements for your custom logo design that will ensure that your business logo should have a powerful impact with the uncluttered, clean and clear elements. So for the reason of making your brand well-known and recognized in the marketplace, you must create a logo in a most simplest and distinct way and it has the ability to capture your viewers attention with a quick glance. Moreover for being a sincere business owner, you have to evaluate each and every element of your logo so that your creative logo design looks appropriate for your brand. Your business logo should clearly convey the specialty of your business.

Once you are done creating a small business logo with all appropriate elements, then your next steps would be creating a tagline and strong brand strategy. So have you decided what branding tips you are going to use in your tag line development? If you haven’t decided yet then try to make it short and simple which should be best describe in 3 to 7 words. So do not hurry when you create your brand tag line and your business logo. A great tag line is what make your brand you standout from your competitors.

Ultimately for brand management that is the need of every brand strategy, you just need to make your customers satisfied by providing them high quality products and services at affordable rates. So do every possible effort for your customers which can keep them happy!

Business to Business Branding Principles and Techniques

Branding is of huge importance in marketing. Companies that own big consumer brands are worth billions of dollars, not just because of their plant and machinery, their intellectual property,or the skills of their workforce and management but because of the value of their brands. When we think of branding it is usually consumer brands that are the first to come to mind, but their is no reason why business-to-business marketers cannot use the same principles to power their businesses. Why bother? Because customers are willing to pay a premium price for a branded product compared to a generic one or a commodity.

But what is a brand? Most people think of a brand in terms of names, logos, trade marks or packaging. While these are extremely important for a successful brand, a brand is so much more than just facets of its outward appearance. Brand identity emanates from the totality of outward appearance, product or service attributes, character, personality, promise, recognition, customer psychology, customer emotion, and the history of the brand. The promise of the brand to a purchaser is a certain perceived quality and value.

The process of building a brand can be broken down into two broad steps.

Step 1

The first step in the branding process is to thoroughly understand your business’ brand. Your organization has a brand whether you realize it or not, the question is, what are your brand’s values? How do customers’ perceive your brand? What about employees and management, how would they describe your brand values? In asking the question it may be better to not use the word: ‘brand’ as people will naturally associate the term with consumer products. Rather, ask what your business stands for, or how are your products or services different from those of your competitors. Ask how you would like your products or services to be different from competitors and what potential opportunities are to differentiate the business.

Step 2

Having determined its brand values, a business needs to convey them effectively internally to management and staff and externally to its customers. Employees need to understand the brand and ‘live it.’ One aspect of the internal communication is formalizing, and communicating consistent brand elements. Since branding is so dependent on these design elements it is important to create and implement a brand identity that is professional and easy to replicate both off an on-line. This will include a logo, type style, style of imagery/photography type color and layout. Once implemented these elements must be faithfully used in all on-line communications (e.g. new Web pages, e-mails, and weblogs).

Customer experience of your business will obviously have a positive or negative effect on your brand over time. Branded consumer goods often do not have any service elements associated with them. For example, if I wish to buy a specific brand of baked beans, I go to the store and make the purchase. I do not usually have any direct interaction with the manufacturer of the beans. I may like the taste or respect the brand because my mother used to give me this particular product, but I do not buy the brand because the manufacturer provides an associated service. With business brands the opposite is likely to be true. Even with product offerings there is often an associated service element. How this service is delivered will directly effect my perception of the brand.

A major factor in brand building is marketing communications. The following are some of the many traditional methods at a business’ disposal.

Off-line advertising
Conferences and exhibitions
Packaging
Public relations
Direct mail

In addition to these, businesses have a wealth of Internet related communication opportunities:

Search engine optimization (SEO)
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Web based display advertising
‘Blogging’
Internet based public relations
Social media
Email marketing

Search engine optimization

Search is still the most important way in which people find information on the Web. Not only does a high position say something positive about your brand, but having a branded name means you are more likely that people will search for a branded name rather than a generic one.

SEO is a big subject by itself, however the following tips should go a long way in improving your search engine position:

Build rich and fresh content. Search engines want to provide useful results to their customers.
Analyze each of your pages and ensure that they contain the key words phrases that you are optimizing for.
Develop quality incoming links. Search engine algorithms rely on incoming links to gauge how popular a site is and thereby how useful it is likely to be for their customers.
Refine data that will appear in your search ‘snippet.’ Having got a good search position the snippet of information that appears in the results will largely determine whether some one will click through to your site.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Search results divide into two categories: organic and paid for. in Google the PPC adverts can be seen above and to the right of the organic search results. PPC adverts also appear on a network of content providers’ Web sites. In the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model, the customer determines several keywords or keyword phrases. When someone enters on of these keywords into a search engine that match your keyword phrase, your advertisement is displayed. You also enter the maximum amount are prepared to pay for each click.

Web based display advertising

With this form of Web advertising an advert appeared on a site and the advertiser was charged based on a cost per thousand impressions (CPM). Every time that a web page appeared that had your advert on it is counted as an impression. This can still be a great way of building a brand provided that the Web site that your advert is to appear on is targeted to your business area and the CPM is within your budget.

‘Blogging’

A blog or weblog is similar to a diary, but with capability of allowing visitors to add their own comments. Blogs are used for a multitude of purposes from personal diaries to political commentaries, but they also can play a major role in business marketing.

There are several reasons why a blog can help your Web brand. If your blog is regularly updated it can be a source of fresh new content. This should increase search rankings and hence brand equity. But visitors can also add content in the form of their comments. This increases the amount of information content on the blog with little effort on your part (apart from moderating out spam comment.

Public relations

Public relations has long been an excellent way of promoting a business and hence building its brand. By submitting an interesting press release to a publication may result in your product or service getting an editorial mention. Not only does the editorial not cost, but it also has a greater credibility in the mind of a reader than an advert.

The exact principles also apply to the Web, but the Internet has been a great boon in helping business make the most of public relations. These public relations efforts also directly help the SEO function. Prior to the Internet all releases were printed and mailed or faxed to the intended recipients. The Internet makes it easy to submit releases to services that help distribute the releases.

In addition to the potential for being published or used by an on-line or off-line publication, if a news release appears in the Yahoo! or Google news services, the information will be indexed by their search engine spiders and will help your SEO efforts.

Social media

Social media is on the ascendancy and as a result many businesses are setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and LinkedIn profiles. Businesses need to think of creative ways in which to use these Web properties to be able to connect with customers and prospective customers. For example, some businesses have used them as a way of promoting special offers.

Email marketing

Email allows companies to easily send out targeted and timely messages to their customer and prospect bases. Such direct marketing have many advantages, including speed of being able to create, send and receive responses for messages, reduced cost compared with direct mail, ability to easily design e-mails that conform to the brand identity, excellent racking and analysis, and the ability to drive traffic to your Web site.