When you think of a ‘brand’ the first thing that may come to mind is your product — how it looks and what it is called. This is an important part of branding, but it is only one small portion of it.
Small business especially can feel at a disadvantage when competing directly with their larger counterparts; with less staff, smaller budgets and fewer resources all round, it can feel overwhelming. But, in this digital age, where consumers are able to research their purchases at a click of a button or the swipe of a finger — with the right branding and structured approach, small businesses can begin to level the playing field.
Developing your business into a brand, with its own unique identity can help to boost sales and gain that all important customer loyalty and growth. Seeing yourself as more than just a business will reflect to your audience — and they’ll start to see you that way too.
So, what are the benefits of strong cohesive branding, and how can they work for your business?
Developing Recognition and Trust
Consumers (both individual and other businesses) hate to waste their money, and are much more likely to purchase their goods from a company that not only has good quality products — but has a good reputation as well. Branding plays an important role in this — having a strong identifiable brand that has been built up with consumer confidence will generally perform better than a relatively unknown competitor.
This is an element where initial impact is important — 48% of consumers confirmed that they are more likely to become loyal to a brand during their first purchase or experience with the company.
Some companies work on creating a catchy and memorable name, others go for a more visual approach with their colour scheme and logo, and others still attempt to combine everything. Your audience is only likely to remember 10% of information that they have heard three days before, however that figure rises up to 65% when paired with a relevant image. 74% of Social Media Marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing — making it a more widely used tool than blogs (68%) and videos (60%).
Other companies have focused so well on their recognition that the name of the brand or company doesn’t even need to be present for their products to be recognisable. This association means they remain high up in consumer awareness, and their reputation grows organically.
Supporting Your Reputation
Your reputation is extremely important — how you run your business, how often you reward your customers, how you deal with feedback (both positive and negative) will all have a direct impact on what people think of you.
A strong trusted brand can encourage potential buyers to spend on your products, even if they maybe hadn’t been initially intending to. 91% of shoppers said that they were likely to buy from an ‘authentic’ brand rather than a dishonest one.
Having a skilled marketing team and a firm handle on your customer services, could see your sales increase as your reputation is spread through mediums such as word of mouth, review and feedback sites, and the all-important connections through social media. Creating content that is personalised will also help to create a sense of individuality — 78% of consumers believe that companies focused on custom content are more trustworthy than companies who reproduce generic content.
Generating New Leads and Increasing Sales
Once you have determined your audience and set in place a strategy to engage with them, you may find that new sales enquiries, questions and engagements arise. It is important to note that as with the initial creation of your reputation, it is vital that response times, content and voice are all maintained in line with your brand.
Having a trusted and recognised name and feedback from genuine customers may see new leads being generated — following up on them, and engaging wherever appropriate could then see these leads converted into sales figures.
Motivating Your Employees & Growing Your Business
Your Company may only be small, one or two employees even — but motivation is still a key area in which you need to ensure your business is functioning. If employees are unhappy or discontent, then the bottom line is that they could damage the company image. This may sound harsh, but unhappy workers rarely if ever say anything positive about a company, and this negativity could directly affect word of mouth or social media presence. Keeping your staff happy will help to ensure that a prospective customer will only hear good things from the ground up.
Having a strong and popular brand is also a good motivator for your staff — if they feel inspired to work on a project, or proud to be associated with it, then their personal feedback and private social media may reflect this — again, giving potential customers vital information regarding the face of the company which is not generally presented to them. A customer who believes that a company is friendly, approachable and engaging in a genuine way (rather than a lip service face value way) is more likely to want to find out more and give their custom to the brand.
Investors are also concerned with the strength and viability of a brand — according to a report by Reuters, 82% of investors believe that brand strength and name recognition are becoming more important in guiding them in their investment decisions.
It is vital from every angle — investors, staff and consumers — to have a brand that is recognisable, trustworthy, social media savvy and prepared to engage with its audience.
These are only a few of the many ways that branding can aid your business in succeeding. Having a strong well planned and optimised strategy to create and maintain your brand is a vital step in the growth and future of your business.
Main keyword: branding business, small business branding