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In a day and age when companies are fighting fervently for each and every consumer dollar, it should come as no surprise that branding is more important than ever. Whether it is the AFLAC Duck, the Pep Boys’ bobble heads or the GEICO caveman, companies want you to remember them for one simple reason – branding.
While not all consumers make their purchasing decisions based on a character they see or hear in the media, some in fact do. That being the case, what are you doing to brand your small business so consumers remember your brand and services?
Make no mistake about it, it takes time and funds to construct a brand that is on the tips of tongues, but it can be done with even the smallest of businesses. While your small business does not have the funding of the major players, it can construct a branding campaign to make it stand out from the competition.
The key to any successful branding efforts is repetition.
Simply put, you need to remind consumers why they should use your brands and/or services and not the other guy. Sound difficult? Well, it really isn’t.
First, branding is not going to be successful if you’re not consistent with it, especially early on when you are looking to establish a name for yourself and construct your brand. Constantly changing the look and feel of your product does not allow the consumer time to get to know you, therefore likely leading them to search for a company who has a more stable feel to it.
Businesses should make a logo.
This is something that can be done either in-house or farmed out depending on your financial means and talent within the company. The logo will be your identifying mark when communicating with consumers via company signage, business cards, emails and more. If your struggling with a concept for a logo, put it on the back burner so as to do it right the first time around.
Web sites are another important piece of the pie.
Many consumers now shop for goods and services online. Keep in mind that the Web site should be professional in nature and reflects your brand image. Lastly, the Web site needs attention, so plan on updating it regularly. If your Web site’s content is stale and unappealing looking, customers are more apt to go elsewhere.
When piecing the Web site together, be informative.
Make sure there is “About Us” information and “Contact” information. How many times have you been on a company’s site and felt frustrated because you had trouble locating the above-mentioned information? Don’t make readers go on a safari looking for pertinent details such as what your company does and how you can be contacted.
With your site in play and an identifiable logo to boot, networking becomes a key factor.
Whether you blog, use social media or do both, you need to network with individuals in order to spread the word regarding your brand.
Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. are great ways to push the word out regarding your brand. Social media can be a formidable tool to promote your business, discuss industry trends and happenings with others, offer deals on your company’s products and more.
Business cards are another important piece of the puzzle as you look to market your brand.
While you do not have to spend a ton of money on cards, do not try and make them yourself if you’ve never done it before. Having a tacky looking business card is not better than having no card at all. With both your identity and image making up your brand, take the time to do the cards right initially.
Lastly, track your company’s online reputation.
While you can’t be in two places at once, you need to stay abreast of your company’s online reputation.
If a customer has said something negative about your goods and/or services online, you need to present your side of the story. By setting the record straight, that doesn’t mean getting in an online shouting match with someone, but you should not let complaints, concerns, etc. go unchallenged.
Like they say, there are always two sides to a story. Present your side of the story in a professional manner so that your online reputation is not seriously harmed.
These are but a few of the numerous branding tips that one’s business should give strong consideration to in order to communicate with customers and inform them of your products. Branding, simply put, is the “face” of your business in a specific industry, so give yourself more reasons to smile by doing things right the first time around.
Guest post by Dave Thomas
Dave is an expert writer on items like direct mail companies and is based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs at Resource Nation.