So much in business depends on your ability to stand out from the crowd. If you have a great product or service but no one knows about your brand, all the other folks with inferior business offerings and better branding will be getting paid. There are a lot of clever and simple steps you can take to build your brand. In this informative post the U.S. SBA lists out 10 tips:
1. What is your brand?
First, it’s important to understand that your brand is much more than your logo, merchandising or products. As I mentioned above, it is about the sum total of the experiences customers have with your business. This includes the visual elements of your business, but it also includes what you do, how you do it, what your customer interactions are like, the type of information you share in your marketing and on social media. All these elements help establish the trust and credibility of your business.
This is so true. How often do we think of a gimmick or like a one off technique that doesn't last to get business and brand. When paying attention to all these parts, it lends itself to a business brand that communicates a message and will last way longer.
- Stand Out
Standing out means being different. If your brand is going to be strong, you need to be able to pinpoint what it is that makes what you do unique. What differentiates you from others in your industry? Read 5 Tips for Using Competitive Differentiators to Build Your Business Brand. Don’t forget to weave your differentiators into your company’s messaging and marketing. Here are some tips for doing that: 7 Tips for Getting your Marketing Message Right.
Do you want to get lost in the online world of competitors? Or how about having a product that no one pays attention to on the shelves or knows about if you have an e-commerce business?
- Have Great Products and Services
Word of mouth is often a small businesses greatest lead generator, so having great products and services that people talk about is a critical part of your brand and why you are in business. Even the most outgoing and charming small business owner is not going to succeed in bringing customers back, unless the product or service they provide delivers and exceeds expectations. Don’t lose sight of your product – keep refining it, testing new offerings, and making sure you always put product first, not the money it brings in.
This one is so true. If you can generate word of mouth, that is often as if not more powerful than advertising. It is the machine that keeps on sending business over and over. Work out a good word of mouth system and earn it with service as well as coupons and sales.
- Make Sure Your Customers Know the Face Behind the Product
One of the biggest reasons that small businesses fail is because of the persistent absence of the business owner. You only need to look at a few episodes of business makeover TV shows like Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Tabatha Takes Over to witness what can go wrong if a business is left to run itself. Without an actively engaged owner, employees lose motivation and structure, which can quickly lead to sloppy service, a poor product and customer churn. Yes, your business needs to be able to function without your constant presence, but it’s important to strike a balance – find ways to make sure your customers know you and connect with the face behind the business. Businesses really thrive when the energy of the owner is there.
Get out there and let them know what you are about. Show them on social media and on your contact page and even in your physical establishment.
- Get Your Name and Logo Right
For this you can ask friends on their advice to vote from a list you make. And logos can be made on Fiverr or 99Designs pretty cheaply and professioal.
6. Have a Distinct Voice
What makes you and your business different? Is it service, experience or something else? Spend time thinking and showing this in your marketing.
7. Build a community around what you do
8. Be an Advocate Not Just a Salesman
Let people know how this product or service integrates in your life, someone you know, customers and the benefits. Not just typical sales talk i.e. “buy this vaccuum”.
9. Be Reliable
This is an easy one. So many people aren't that you will stand out over time just doing it.
10. Have a Value Proposition
Does this product save you money, time, or provide entertainment? Is it professional and will make the person glad they spent on xyz vs. something else? Show this to your customers and potential customers.
Others agree this list was valuable to them. Here is one of the comments on the post:
I love this article, thank you! Too often small business owners feel the need to compete with the larger corporate stores instead of realizing their strength is in their small size. Statistically, small business makes up the majority of business in the United States. Developing a unique and memorable brand is one of the best ways small business owners can stand out in a competitive marketplace. I like to say, “It's not about fitting in, it's about standing out!”
Good luck out there and thanks again to the author for this professional list.