So you have a business. Great. So do 100,000 other people. What sets you apart from your competitors is your brand and the accompanying emotion it invokes.
If you’re a small business that operates mostly or exclusively online, your brand becomes that much more important because you don’t have the luxury of relying on a physical presence or making a physical connection.
Know Your Audience
In order to build a brand, you have to first know who your brand will cater to. Consider stats like age, marital status, gender, household income and demographics and you will start realizing the tone your brand needs to have. For example, a product or service catering to the green industry will have a specific brand that caters to that audience; the same branding elements and tools would not necessarily work for an audience that has a conservative political leaning. If you can’t understand your audience, it follows that you won’t know how to brand your company. This is why it’s that much more important to spend the necessary time really understanding your target base.
Keep Your Brand Simple
Teddy Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” He had the right idea. In business this translates to skipping flashy gimmicks and sticking to a calm demeanor, focusing on what makes your business or service stand out from the competition. Just as with the idea that a small dog barks the loudest, so does a desperate business offend your senses with tacky presentations, cheesy tag lines and demands that you do business with them. On the other hand, a smart business that knows its strengths doesn’t need tricks, gadgets or gizmos; they carry a big stick.
In business the big stick translates to business know-how, a network of contacts, industry knowledge and the right attitude to get the job done. Once this foundation is set, you can then branch out to polishing your internet presence.
Visualizing Your Brand
Your brand demands respect. Business owners who dismiss creativity and try to save a few dollars by bypassing this important element miss out on the opportunity to attract a much wider audience. Your brand needs to communicate a message. It needs to be easily recognizable and quickly understood and accepted. Your vision, paired with the right creative and technical team, can make this happen.
A talented team of web/graphic designers and internet marketers is an investment in your business. Most people make the mistake of skimping on this crucial investment, and the result is an online presence that lacks authority and credibility. And if you’re going to be a cheapskate in your own business, your customers won’t have much confidence in how you might treat them or in the value of your product/services. If you wouldn’t buy goods or services from someone selling out of their trunk, then the same example works for your potential customers – who aren’t going to go spend their hard earned dollars on a company that doesn’t even invest in its image.
Synchronize Your Brand
Your brand should have a consistent theme and styling across all new media platforms. To do this, you should first turn to your web page. Create a compelling web page that in and of itself does a thorough job in communicating your brand. Take that concept, the styling, graphics and colors and implement that consistency across social media channels. In particular, popular channels such as Twitter and YouTube will allow you to customize your page. Take advantage of this option and use your design to reflect your mission statement. On the same note, any print literature should also be a reflection of your website. And finally, keep the message consistent. You should use the same tag lines, phrases, and concise copy to communicate your brand across all channels.