Does your small business have a brand identity? Something that is more than a logo? Can you speak to what that is and how it play into your business strategy?
Your company’s brand package is all encompassing. It’s the personality, visual elements and feel of your brand all wrapped up into into a cohesive plan and strategy. A strong business brand leads to familiarity, credibility, trust and popularity. Without one, you’re working without direction; without purpose.
Create your company’s brand package in 5 steps
1. Decide who you want to be
Define what key messages you want to communicate and emotions you want to evoke. What personality do you want your brand to have? Implement this across all communication platforms (online and offline) by keeping your brand voice (ie: third-person tense, first-person, friendly, conversational, powerful, etc.) the same. Set goals and calendars for every communication channel you will use—website, newsletter, mobile—your brand should come across clearly on all of these.
2. Educate your team to maintain brand consistency
To create brand consistency, everyone needs to be on board. Make sure everyone on your team understands your brand personality by taking the time to have a training meeting. Share the brand strategy you have come up with – include examples, practice sessions, and hard copies of the strategy.
3. Watch and evaluate
Take notice of which social media posts are getting the most attention, what pages users visit the most on your website, and what the overall perception is of your brand. Use surveys and gather feedback on social media to tap into the pulse of what your customers think and feel about your current brand.
4. Tweak your strategy
Use the information you gather during the evaluation process to tweak your strategy. For instance, if in your plan your brand is a “boutique, up-scale fishing rod store” but your audience continues to view you as a “low-cost, bargain fishing rod supplier” then you have some decisions to make. Either you’re marketing the brand all wrong or there is a perception out there that is going to be hard to change. Either way, you need to do something; remove the parts of the strategy that are not working. Stop trying to fit the square peg in the round hole. It’s OK to let go of control and offer what your audience wants.
5. Keep evaluating
Always keep pulse of your brand and evaluate the success (or failure) of your strategies. Don’t wait until your next business plan update is due before you look into what others think of your small business brand. Adaption is key to surviving today’s business model. New technology will come, your customers’ needs will change and your ability to roll with the punches will be a key selling point.
A business that successfully harnesses the power of a strong, cohesive brand identity will reap the rewards for years to come. Be consistent once your strategy has been set, don’t be afraid to adapt to change and understand your audience so those changes make sense. Your company has more to offer than a logo; give your customers the package deal.