Just like knowing what to do when you’re suffering a disease, every small business owner should understand the basics of branding. And it should go without saying that any business hoping to differentiate itself from competitors and stand out in its industry needs to implement smart branding tactics.
Creating a strong brand identity will help your business leverage customer mind share – one of the best competitive advantages imaginable. This will make customers think of your business before competitors when they come across your product or service category.
A brand is one thing that cannot be taken away from a business, according to Lindsay, Stone and Briggs Advertising VP of marketing Howard Kosgrove. Everything else can be stolen. Your physical plan will run out of capacity. Your patients will expire. Technology will evolve. But your brand, creating a lasting value that is above all other elements of your company, will live on.
The perspective? Branding amplifies everything – good or bad – so it’s important to take charge of your personal brand, and ensure that customers see it in a positive light. The following tips will help you get started with small business brand building.
Get involved in your community
Getting involved with your business community through sponsorships is a viable branding strategy. You can sponsor a local team sport, such as ice skating or Little League Baseball. Soon you’ll have young sportsmen and sportswomen proudly displaying your business name on their back.
When their parents are socializing, there is a high probability that they will mention your business name when bragging to their relatives and friends what team their children play for.
Jackie Fast from Slingshot sponsorship gives an example of a florist business sponsoring a local football team. The florist buys the team’s kit and prints its brand name on them, which helps it gain visual awareness for its brand whenever the team plays. It also gives networking opportunities at matches.
Leverage custom packaging
Use custom packaging for product shipping boxes as a branding tool; the design will matter, and these boxes are meant to make your business stand out in the industry as well as demonstrate that you’re an upscale business.
These days, small businesses can choose a variety of styles when selecting custom shipping boxes, including RSC (regular slotted container) boxes (standard shipping boxes) and more specialized ones, depending on their needs. Also, businesses can leverage the ‘eco-friendly’ branding factor by choosing a manufacturer that creates recyclable boxes and leverages post-consumer waste for in the manufacturing process.
Take a hint from Amazon shipping boxes. The eCommerce giant was one of the first merchants to set its business apart with custom box branding. Customers seeing these custom packaged boxes on their doorstep know exactly what’s waiting for them.
Focus on customer service
Another useful form of branding is to offer a customer service like nobody else provides (or is willing to provide). Focus on the unique qualities of your business, and what you can do differently or better from competitors, and use that as your unique branding strategy.
Customer service will only yield success if you are honest and sincere about the entire privacy. You must ensure the behavior and actions of the customer service department are in harmony with the brand you’re trying to build. Remember Domino’s 30-minute delivery promise?
The bottom line is that while branding can involve time, effort and money, the benefits there to be reaped are manifold.