Is Branding Important For A Small Business?
What is branding and how can it be used effectively in SME Marketing?
Is branding important for a small business? Branding is more than a logo. Branding would be better called positioning as branding consists of three things:
- What it visually looks like
- Tone of Voice
These are all built up over time, with consistent communication. These positioning elements – the expectations, memories, stories and relationships determine your customer’s decision to choose your product over another and that is brand loyalty. For small businesses, the most important part of branding is the personality and tone of voice. But don’t forget, the visual aspect of your business – your logo, your colours and your typefaces must always remain the same. However bored you are using the same fonts and the same colours – your customers won’t be, they will instantly recognise your brand.
Brand Advertising is for the large companies
Large companies can use brand advertising to keep their brand in the minds of their customers. Companies such as Coca Cola, Nike and Apple all do this and as you know it is effective. But it is very expensive. If small businesses try to imitate big brands with this type of marketing a major problem arises: they will be drowned out in the sea of advertising with little or no return on their investment. Unless you have millions of pounds in your marketing budget then this type of advertising will fail
SME Marketing needs to focus on personality
Small businesses need to focus on their personality and tone of voice in their advertising. For many small businesses this is the most underutilized part of branding and positioning, in literally every type of business. For the majority of small businesses we are not the only ones doing what we do, people buy from you not just because of what you do, but because of who you are, what you stand for and what is your personal brand. They are buying YOU! And you know what the most effective way to do that is? By being you and showing your personality and your character, your values and your category of one! Forget the template scripts, the robotic sales pitches most people like to give off, you just need to learn how to be yourself! People like to see the human side of you, they don’t want to see boring sales pitches or generic advice… Be authentic, be human but most importantly be YOURSELF! And show the value that you bring.
Marketing is all about creating value.
Value is at the heart of branding (perceived or real). Your brand will create that value in the mind of your customer. If your customer isn’t prepared to pay more for your product or service, or recommend you, or choose you first over everyone else, then you have created no brand value. Then, the only option is for the customer to choose you based solely on price.
What is your brand value?
There are easy ways to find out whether your product or service has any brand value and that is by asking questions of yourself, your staff and your customers:
- Why should a customer buy your product or service rather than someone else’s? The easiest way to find out is to ask your customers why they choose you.
- Ask your customers how they heard about you? This tells you what is working.
- Which people are most likely to buy from you? As you build up a picture of your loyal customers try to find common characteristics – this could be by age, gender, income level or interests. This is important because someone with a similar profile to your existing customers is eight times more likely to buy from you. Once you have a customer profile, then you can work out what is the best way to reach them – are they on social media, do they read the local paper, or a magazine, do they play sport, what age are their children?
- How can you make sure your existing customers keep coming back to you? Can you offer additional products or services, can you upgrade them, can you offer accessories? It has been proven that it costs between 5 and 7 times more to get a new customer than to keep an existing one – so really think what you can do to make sure your existing customers keep coming back to you.
Once you have your basic thinking in place around what you stand for – what your positioning, or brand is, and you know who your customer is, and what their needs are, then you can start thinking about how you are going to market to them. If you’d like some help in determining your positioning or branding for your small business we are really good at that! Book a call here.