Does my small biz really need good branding?
"My business is too small" ~ "I'm just starting" ~ "I need more clients before I can start investing money on branding" ~ "I'm first going to get my products out and see if it works out before doing anything else".
Are those thoughts familiar to you? Believe me, I get the worries, fears, or even the doubts you may have. As a small business owner, you need to take a lot of decisions and be wise with your money, time, and energy.
Here is the thing though. Branding is not just about making your brand look pretty. It's not a nice add on to eventually get. It's part of the essence of your company. Investing in your branding in the early stages of your business is KEY to your success.
Especially as a small business, your branding will help you make the difference and stand out.
Let's explore why you need to spend time building a strong branding for your company RIGHT NOW and not later down the road.
1. You don't have years of experience to convince customers that you are legit and you are exactly what they are looking for.
Big brands don't need to spend time polishing their Instagram account, making a beautiful website, or having unique business cards. They don't need that as much as you do.
The difference between you and other established brands is that they already have an ... established brand. They have years of reputation that relate their experience, they have a worldwide awareness that you don't have. Their name speaks for themselves, unlike yours. Your product might be MUCH better than your popular competitor, but if you don't make a lasting impression on people, you're not going to make a big impact either.
>> Don't wait on working on your branding because it is exactly what will help you make that first good impression in just a split second.
You need a strong branding that shares information about your products but, as importantly, shares your value and your mission. Your brand will help connect with your audience. It will help consumers identifying if your brand is for them or not in just a few seconds.
All your efforts to bring people in contact with you will be rewarded only if your branding speaks to them directly and they can understand what you are all about in that split second after they come across your company.
Make it easy for your customers. Polish your image and align it with your purpose. Provide to-the-point information about who you are as a company and what you stand for. Help your customers see right away why they need to keep investing time in you.
2. Customers have high and unrealistic expectations
We were born in a society of unlimited choices. With so many different options, customers have become picky. If one brand doesn't comply with what we want, we will just move on to the next one.
We have unrealistic expectations also because we have been used to get cheap everything fast all the time. But this comes with a cost, as we have learned more and more in the last decade. A cost on human values and health, a cost on the environment. If you, as a business owner, are taking the leap to change that model and grow a conscious and sustainable business you will come across unfair judgments and expectations. Be prepared for it.
That's when you grow from being an entrepreneur to becoming also an educator and a leader of your community.
Let's take a quick example:
You are a small company making clothes on a small scale, collaborating with workers with high standards and fair pay, and using sustainable material. Chances are you'll need to charge more than $5 a shirt if you want to make a profit. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stores out there that manage to devalue the price of goods because they make cuts on other areas that you are not willing to make (good for you!).
Would you expect to pay the same price for champagne as for sparkling wine? Probably not. Because you know the quality isn't the same. This goes for your products, too. You need to inform clearly and from the beginning why people shouldn't have the same low expectations for your productions as for a $5 shirt made in unsafe conditions.
What makes you unique? Why is the quality of your services or products higher? What experience are you offering to your customers? >> This is all part of your branding.
You need to over-communicate about it. The good, the bad, the struggles. It's not about showing the pretty picture anymore. It's about getting REAL! Be vulnerable, honest, open in your content. Explain it all to your customers so they can really understand what they are purchasing and feel more connected to you. From your manufacturer's expertise to the behind-the-scene work that you do late at night to provide the product to your customer's doorstep.
People will have stereotypes, they will have high and sometimes unrealistic expectations. It's your job to break it down nicely for them and communicate about the reasons why they should and will want to join your cause.
>> Use your branding to visually show your story and your values.
The role of your branding and marketing is to first define your message then share it clearly. Explain the reasons behind your project so people can get on board. This will allow you to ask for a higher price because people will understand what their money is supporting.
3. It makes you look more trustworthy & memorable
People need to trust and understand your company before even thinking of buying from you.
A product or service with a clear and consistent branding, a clear visual identity, a strong messaging that supports a mission and fair values will have a greater impact on its customers. Instantly it makes you feel more legit. Now you're not just an entrepreneur from a startup, you're an expert with a solution and you know what you are talking about.
Remember that your branding is more than your logo. It's your identity. It will help you share your story. The story that will create a connection, that story that will explain to customers WHY YOU ARE THE RIGHT ONE FOR THEM.
4. Work with the emotions
Keep in mind that most purchases we make in our life aren't based on logic. Otherwise, why would we wear tight jeans and high heels? Do the test on yourself, why do you choose one product over the other? Because of the way it makes you feel. And sometimes you can't explain it right?
Creating emotions is part of your brand.
Will you brand be:
By developing a brand and defining all aspects of its personality you avoid the risk of being inconsistent in your messaging. Being consistent is key to gain trust and make your customers feel confident they know you and they aren't getting lied to.
Before spending your energy and money on other sales strategies or advertising, make sure to dedicate time to building your brand. I compiled brainstorming questions about your brand that I ask my clients when we first get started. Download my branding tool here to take the first step to truly understand your brand.
If you need help understanding where to start or how to move your brand forward, come chat with me. I can't wait to hear about your project and to find solutions together to make your brand stand out and give it the attention it deserves.
Set yourself up for success & share your bright side with the rest of the world.
Visionary & Founder of Share Your Bright Side | firstname.lastname@example.org