Just what does a brand mean to your customers anyway? The American Marketing Association defines this concept as any name, term, design, symbol or feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of others. This essentially means that your brand identity is how you identify yourself and your company’s attributes, strengths, purpose and mission. Great brands are easy to recognize—the Apple logo, the Nike swish—but it’s about more than marketing. A brand must clearly and definitively show a clear mission and foster a sense of customer loyalty that leads to success and longevity. A brand is also one of the most iconic fixed assets of a business, so it must be carefully curated and honed to ensure that it more than adequately represents the business and echoes with your intended customers.
Your brand identity can also carry other corollary benefits for you and your customers. A strong brand identity:
- Reveals your unique value, specific character as a small company, and highlights your competitive advantages in the market.
- Reflects the voice of the brand through outreach and interaction with your customers via your website, social media, customer service and video.
- Improves the customer’s experience with your company by giving your company a unique visual style that customers will come to associate with your company one.
- Optimizes your ability to increase awareness of your small business and build loyalty with customers.
Here are a few jumping-off points to think about as you start to build the strong brand identity of your business in order to mark you as unique to your customers.
1. Optimize Your Unique Content
Trust is one of the keys to successful marketing so creating and hosting unique and valuable content on your site and social media can help you create trust with your customers and give you a platform by which to engage with them. Comprehensive guides, informative videos, clear and playful product descriptions and compelling information help build credibility for your brand and give you a competitive edge in a world with very short attention spans.
2. Use visual cues to set your small business apart.
Visual devices can be about more than logos. Creating a remarkable and recognizable color palette for your brand can help you shape your identity and how you are seen by potential customers. The use of visual cues for your website, your collateral material and your social media helps you gain traction and creates a unique visual identity for you, your team, and your products. Fonts and colors can also complement your brand and help your customers perceive and internalize your messaging.
3. Understand your relationship with your customers.
Pay attention to what your customers want from you in terms of their relationship with your small business and how you interact with them. If your customers are regularly subscribing to your blog and driving traffic to it, it’s important to keep it loaded with fresh content and invest in its vitality and informative character. If your potential customers’ main interests are figuring out ways to contact you directly and know more about your products or services, invest in bringing those elements to the forefront of your branding strategy. Using Google Analytics or other services can help you understand your customers’ needs, focus your energies on the aspects of your branding strategy that are most successful and engaging, and help your branding strategy become an essential part of your small business success.