The concept of branding is often misunderstood, especially at the small business level. We work with a lot of small, local business on The Central Coast. The location has always had a little bit of an identity crisis as to whether it’s a rural area or a bustling, albeit spread out city. Truthfully it is squarely between the two. The rural, community appeal is particularly strong when concerning the way businesses operate with one another. Honest business, word of mouth recommendations and “looking after clients” are all perceived as the go-to methods of a good business model. The key word there is perception, which is exactly what branding is all about.
Branding Is All About Perception
It can be difficult as a business operator to separate oneself and look at one’s own business objectively, or at least through the eyes of the market. People see brands every day, yet some are more successful than others. Is this because their quality of service is simply greater? This may be the case in some circumstances, but market perception plays a huge part. Is your business perceived favourably, or in fact at all, in the eyes of your target audience? Even word of mouth, which is not directly a facet of digital marketing is all about how your business is presented and identified. One element of branding aims to strengthen a business’s chance at being remembered, which is called brand awareness. Without being an option at all you have no chance of providing your product or service. Subsequently, when your business is recalled, what feelings does it evoke? Do you want words like quality, honest, competent, professional, kind and valuable to be associated with your business? Of course you do!
Why Branding Is Under-Utilised
Most of us can understand the basic premise of branding, but not many small business see it as part of their strategy. The irony is that whether you are consciously pursuing a good brand or not, the concept of “brand” is inherently part of any business. So why not tap into that? The oft quoted cliché “you can’t grow what you can’t measure” has some merit here. Why not begin an exercise with the aim of understanding your business’s impact. This can be done internally with various brainstorming exercises, as well as externally via surveys and such. It is important to know where you sit on the spectrum that contains all of your competitors and the industry as a whole. Once you understand this you can begin to strategise methods in growing your brand.
Why Branding Should Be Considered for Every Business
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – branding is not just for big businesses. In a world with 20 businesses in a 30km radius providing the same service as you it is definitely worthwhile considering how you will stand out amongst the crowd. You should have a basic understanding of the following brand concepts:
- Business culture
- What your visual identity communicates
- Messaging & Tonality
- Target Demographic
- Custom Journey
- Value Propositions
- Points of Difference & Positioning Statement
These items are entirely unique to each business and the industry you are part of. You will have a different audience, distinct goals and unique strategies. It’s not easy working through your own business objectively, especially when you’re flat out working! We’d love to help with you that. Branding services don’t have to break the bank, but they’re worthwhile investing your resources towards as it may be one of the most fruitful services you utilise for your business.