Branding has never been so important for Micro and Small Businesses operating even in a very close vicinity. Unless you are situated in some prime market where you benefit from the mere crowdedness of it, you will definitely have to put some serious thought into Branding if you desire to pull your own crowds.
The times have changed and the importance of living in the conscience of city in both the physical and digital realms has increased manifold. The businesses have to be the subject of buzz to survive and it doesn’t take too long for a well established traditional business to be pushed into a corner of anonymity if it fails to realize the dynamics of ever changing market.
But the good news is, in this digital world, the budding entrepreneurs have access to resources which can help them to establish their own unique identity among the already established giants of the market without straining their budgets. And the opportunities are not limited to just new businesses but also the already well functioning businesses now have the opportunity to expand from location to locations and then cities and then provinces, sky is the limit (not so these days).
What exactly is a brand?
A brand is a personality inhibiting all the morals and values of your business. It’s something people can relate to and get familiar with like they can do it with other humans. It cares for certain causes like we all do, and it creates a unique vibe with it’s presence. People trust it, and whenever they see any physical manifestation of it, in form of a product, or a pamphlet, or the logo, they can feel the company of a familiar personality. In simple terms a brand turns your business from a money earning machine that sells goods and services into a personality that has morals, values, emotions, style and a unique vibe.
How to build a brand
1. Know your target customers
The First step towards building a successful brand is to identify the target audience. Research to find out their interests, buying patterns, buying power, motivations.
- Strengths: Positive characteristics of your business that provide an advantage over your competition.
- Weaknesses: Characteristics that prove to be a disadvantage to your business.
- Opportunities: Changes and trends in your industry that offer opportunities for your business.
- Threats: Factors that may cause problems for your business.
2. Mission Statement
Next step is to decide on a Mission statement for your brand. What does it offer and what does it stands for. It doesn’t have to be literally associated with the product/service you are offering, but the product/service should be at least loosely associated with it. It’s something which would be reflected throughout the operations of your business.
For example Coca-cola sells a drink, it has a unique taste and people like it too, and that’s the only thing a person values a drink for, it’s taste( at least for non-intoxicating drinks). But Coca-cola doesn’t markets the taste, it has built a brand upon the fun factor associated with. It has become a drink to be had while having fun parties or movies or picnics with our family and friends.
So first decide on what you want your brand to be.
3. Choose your business name
A Business name is definitely not everything but it can certainly take you a few steps ahead in the beginning if it’s unique and catchy and leaves some sort of long lasting impression. The name could be associated with the business offering or not, both kind of brands exist in the world and have been equally successful. Nike for example is a greek goddess of victory(something you can relate to sports) whereas Adidas is just an extract from the name of it’s founder Adolf “Adi” Dassler. Whereas it’s important to take lessons about branding by looking at the market and competitors, this is one aspect which you should prefer to come up with yourself. Look around and take inspiration from your surroundings.
4. Choose a Motto
Come up with a motto that best describes your mission statement. It should be concise and catchy. It could be literal or metaphorical.
5. Logo and Templates
Logo is the most recognizable part of your brand. It’s on everything from your website to your business cards to your online ads. With your logo on all of these elements, your branding should look as cohesive as this example:
Color & Type
You will need to apply your branding across your business so it’s important to create a colour pallet so that there is a cohesive look and feel throughout your business.
Just go on google and search for images related to any common Brand, you will notice same colours all around. Same is true for fonts.
You probably send out emails, type up letters, or hand out business cards to potential customers on a daily basis. Creating templates (even for a detail as minute as email signatures) will give your business a more unified, credible, and professional look and feel.
7. Apply your branding across your business
The motive behind branding is turning your business into a personality, and that personality should be reflected all across your business. Pamphlets, Advertisements, Banners, Hoardings, Visiting Cards, Social Media Accounts, Website, Buildings, It should be everywhere.
8. Evolve as you grow
Doesn’t matter how much effort you put in, keeping a Brand relevant is a continuous process. The dynamics of market change and so does the brand positioning needs. You must be confident enough to stick with your core values and not jump around on every turn the market takes, but you should also be active enough to know when it’s required for your Brand to shift positions.
You’ll continue to shape and evolve your brand as you expose more customers to it and learn more about who your customers are and how to speak to them.
About the author
Manjot heads the engineering and strategy aspects of Naive Code, handling both the direction and execution