Small Business Branding - Dos and Don'ts!
Promoting your brand and distinguishing your business' image and reputation from others in the right way can be a great way of getting noticed. Any business, whether it’s a shop, an online business or an individual providing a service, is a brand. The ‘brand’ is what you use to connect with customers, communicate your ideology and vision and draw in more business. Marketing is a tricky thing to get right, which is why there are businesses which specialise in doing just that for other people, but it is possible to self-brand your business successfully.
1. Set goals - What do you want your business to achieve in the long and short term? These goals should form a part of your brand, and help bring the people you want to attract on board.
2. Market both on and offline - Concentrate on building both online and offline assets. This means having a good website, alongside networking and marketing tools like business cards and flyers. There are lots of tools that can help you with branding your business.
3. Check out the competition - Study other brands and other companies marketing material – work out what is good and what is bad. Pay special attention to businesses that are similar to yours, but don’t dismiss different types of businesses – they may be doing something that would also be beneficial for your business.
4. Be visible - At first, it may feel like biting off more than you can chew – but you wouldn’t have started a business if you weren’t capable. Work on the most high-profile projects that you can but make sure not to pass up on smaller opportunities as they may lead to bigger things. You need to be seen to be working, so don’t undersell yourself.
5. Network - You need other people to make your business work – all the business cards and press packages in the world won’t help to grow your business if no one reads them. Go to networking events, send out press packages to other businesses and make sure that you are developing an online presence. Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to branding, because you literally have the whole world at your fingertips. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all powerful tools.
1. Fabricate - When you’re creating a brand, there isn’t any room for error. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep, exaggerate details, or publish anything that isn’t true. If it goes wrong and you get caught out or can’t deliver, it could permanently damage your reputation.
2. Make it too personal - You have to be professional, consider making a separate Facebook page for your professional life, or seriously audit what you post online.
3. Be a people pleaser - You aren’t going to appeal to absolutely everyone. A strong brand image is much more important that trying to net a wide audience straight away. Start small, and keep your integrity.
4. Forget about the real world - There is much more to business than the internet. Yes, social media and the World Wide Web are responsible for a lot of business success, but you still need to have a real world presence. That means business cards or flyers from popular sites like Alocalprinter. Key rings and other freebies that you can hand out to draw people in to your business. Don’t neglect real life contacts and networking events are still the best way to make connections and get established.
5. Think too small - While you are of course integral to your business, branding that focuses too much on one person is bound to fail. Self-branding isn’t easy and this guide does not cover everything, it may be wise to have a consultation with a marketing professional to get some knowledgeable input. It’s not impossible though and if you pay attention to how successful brands are marketed, then you are more than capable of self-branding your business.