5 tips for building your brand for small business owners - Lynne Stainthorpe
Building your brand is one of the keys to long term business success because every successful business has a strong brand at its core. And if you pay attention to building your brand you increase the likelihood your business is recognised and remembered.
Remember ‘A brand is a reason to choose.’ Cheryl Burgess
So here are five tips to help get your brand in shape for growth:
1. START WITH BRAND STRATEGY
I believe that every business, however small, can build a powerful brand.
Growing a successful brand is an investment, as Richard Branson once said, ‘There are no quick wins in business - it takes years to become an overnight success.’
So, creating your strategy means getting clear on some key elements:
· Brand vision – build a picture of where you want the business to be in 5 years’ time.
· Your brand purpose – your big brand ‘why’. This means you can explain why the brand exists. And you can tell us the story behind the brand.
· Positioning – who are your ideal customers? Make sure you know them in depth, so you can describe what they want and need now. And also, so you can anticipate and satisfy their changing needs.
· The brand mission – what does your brand do exceptionally well, every single day, for your ideal customers?
Remember that brands are like people, they must grow, develop and evolve as markets and customers change – and this requires a strategic perspective.
2. BRAND VALUES
Along with the strategic purpose that drives your business, you’ll also have brand values.
These are the principles that determine the moral compass of your brand.
The brand values create specific standards of behaviour you believe in – it could be sourcing organic ingredients, service with a smile, training in leadership skills or a drive to innovate.
Brand values create the attitudes and culture of people working on the brand. Hence, they also shape the behaviour of everyone working in your business. This includes every aspect of behaviour – from how employees behave with customers, towards each other, with suppliers and the public.
More than this, your brand values attract like-minded people. They could have a magnetic effect in attracting clients, employees and suppliers.
3. BRAND PERSONALITY
Powerful brands have a distinctive brand personality.
This means they have human traits like a brand voice, brand style and brand image. Just like brand values, the brand personality attracts like-minded clients. So the brand personality ‘speaks’ to us in words and images we relate to - and when their tone fits our mood and lifestyle, we buy into them, literally.
Over time, the brand personality helps grow trust, affection and yes, love, for your products and services.
4. VALUE PROPOSITION
‘A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.’ Seth Godin
Invest time in working on your brand value proposition, so you get clear about the features and benefits you bring to your ideal customers.
Consider both the tangible and intangible benefits for customers. And once this work is done, you will be able to define the essence of the brand. In other words what the brand stands for that makes it meaningfully different from competitors.
And without doubt, being perceived as different in your sector, helps your business get noticed.
5. BRAND IDENTITY
Once you’re clear on your brand strategy, values, personality and value proposition, it’s time to bring life to the brand. The brand identity is much more than the logo.
The brand identity includes your
· Brand name and strapline
· Colours and shapes
· Logo, fonts and icon
· Style and imagery
· Tone of voice
Make sure to use the elements of your brand identity consistently over time.
Showing up consistently reinforces awareness of your products and services and of what makes your brand different.
THE BENEFITS OF BUILDING YOUR BRAND – WHAT SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS SAY
Clients say they experience these benefits from working with me on their brand strategy and brand identity:
‘I feel clearer about my goals’
With clarity on who your brand is and what it stands for:
· It’s easier to create promotions because you’re clear about your brand personality, values, style and tone.
· It takes less time to make decisions because you’ve got a clear brand communications framework.
· You’re in tune with your customers.
· You attract people who share your brand values - to buy from you and work in your business.
‘I felt more confident. And my sales increased so I could pay for our family holiday in the USA’.
Clients feel more confident when they have a professionally designed logo, colour palette and font family to represent their brand ethos and personality.
· It inspires them step up their game.
· Their business looks bigger and more expert.
· Increases their confidence to promote and sell.
‘No more trying to be all things to all people’.
It’s liberating to focus on your core client groups. This means everyone in the business can focus on:
· Innovating products and services.
· Promotions in the appropriate channels.
· Developing key relationships with suppliers and associates.
· Working together on shared goals with defined roles.
‘It’s all about what makes my business different’
You can focus on adding value and creating emotional connections with customers.
In other words, you won’t sell on price, and your business won’t be a commodity.
‘Customers come back’.
Investing in building your brand brings both tangible and intangible rewards.
Research by Customer Thermometer in the USA shows about two thirds of people have felt an emotional connection with a brand or business. These emotional connections include interest, trust, optimism, joy, security and love.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Building your powerful brand is a process – and remember your brand will continue to evolve over time. If you invest time in your brand strategy, you’ll feel the benefits. From greater clarity and focus on what really matters, to saving time on making decisions and creating more effective communications.
You’ll also explore more ways to differentiate your business, build emotional connections with clients and generate brand loyalty.
If you’re interested in discovering how to build your powerful brand, do get in touch with Lynne.
About Lynne Stainthorpe - Brand Strategist at Big Idea Brand Marketing
Lynne has worked in brand marketing for over 20 years. She learned the secrets of building powerful brands for Unilever, Beecham and Dulux. She's consulted for amazing brands like Benetton, B&Q, The Royal Parks and Tate. Now she helps small business owners tap the magic of branding.
Clients say "I worked with Lynne last year on a complete revitalisation of my brand. The creative process was enlightening, Lynne really got to know me and my voice which was a very important part of my brand identity. We had fun during the process and I really enjoyed working with Lynne as she is so insightful and really saw things that were important for me even before I did".
"I found the whole brand strategy process eye opening, thought-provoking and helpful. It was something I'd never considered as a one-person brand. Thought it was only large companies who did rebrands and hired strategists"
Lynne works with business owners who are serious about elevating their business and growing their powerful brand. Her process is fun, challenging and always enlightening. She starts with your brand strategy and from this work develops your brand identity and marketing messaging.
You can work with Lynne in three ways:
· Consultations – by the hour or by the day
· Workshops – usually half a day and best for specific issues like brand naming
· Projects – for example, rebranding your business
Do get in touch