You have, no doubt, heard the words “brand” and “branding” used many times. Probably even every day! But have you ever stopped and asked yourself what exactly these terms really mean? Unless you are an expert in the fields of marketing or advertising, it’s very likely that your understanding of the word “brand” is a little bit muddled. And it isn’t your fault! In fact, the definition of what a brand is, and of what it means to brand something, has come to mean different things depending upon who you ask.
Some say a brand is a recognizable symbol, logo, or trademark that identifies a company’s product or service. Others will tell you a brand is the experience and perception of a product or company with a particular name. Still other resources combine those two meanings when defining what a brand is. These descriptions are not inaccurate, but they are a bit…dry. At Liquid Creative we prefer looking at the concept of branding in a somewhat simpler, more straightforward, way. To us, a brand is the promise of a unique experience, delivered. By the term “experience,” what we mean is a human experience, something that enhances our lives and effectively fills a specific need.
So, now’s the time to ask yourself…”Does my company’s brand do this?” If not, or if you aren’t totally sure, it may be helpful to take a look at the following tips for how to successfully build a small business brand in 2017.
- Stand Out from the Crowd! What’s your angle? What makes your business unique? What do you do that your competitors don’t (or can’t) do? Be sure to get this across in your messaging!
- Create an Online Community. Rather than spending massive sums on traditional advertising, many companies are focusing on building and improving online networks and communities. This is because if people trust a brand’s community, this will extend trust to the brand in an organic (and inexpensive!) way.Small businesses can build online communities via blogs, as well as with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and more. Select one or two online forums that make the most sense for your business, and invest your time and resources there.
- Provide Top-Quality Products and Services. This one may seem obvious, but it’s absolutely vital! Even in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, there is still no substitute for offering fantastic products and services. You cannot grow a strong brand while providing only average or below average products or services.
- A Great Name (and Logo) is Everything! Strong brands are easily recognizable, and this truly begins with what you call your business and how you choose to represent it visually. As you consider the right logo for your company, keep your target audience in mind. The best logos appeal to (and build trust with) those you wish to reach, and a strong logo will help to pull your brand together.
- Embrace Customer Empowerment. This may come as a surprise, but the truth is that you are not actually in total control of your own brand. You can (and should!) be at the forefront of setting your brand’s course, but how your brand is perceived is actually determined by your clients. Therefore, it is invaluable to encourage fans of your products, services and brand to become your ambassadors and to spread your ideas and brand throughout their own networks. Taking the time to build and develop relationships with such people will, in turn, help your brand succeed.
Need help branding your business this year? Contact the Liquid team today and let us help you make 2017 your company’s best year yet!