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June 29, 2018

What is Branding? And Should Small Businesses Care? | Part Five

Try to limit it to one thing or at most two things you want your brand to be known for. If you end up with a laundry list of 20 things, go back to the drawing board and narrow it down. Customers don’t choose a vendor for 20 reasons. It’s usually one or two reasons that push them over the decision edge.

2) Audit your marketing materials. This is low hanging fruit. Check over your website, your Facebook page, your brochures, your ads — every piece of marketing you have. Do you have words in them to clearly convey “that one thing” that you want to be known for?

Or are your marketing materials sending mixed messages, with brochures emphasizing lowest cost, while your website emphasizes unparalleled quality? Maybe you deliver both, but in that case the combination of both should be conveyed, not one or the other.

Is your company name abbreviated in your marketing materials with cryptic initials that customers may not understand? Just because you refer to your company internally by an abbreviated acronym doesn’t mean customers have any clue what you’re talking about.

Look at sales scripts, too. Are sales reps conveying what your brand is, the way you want them to? Or are they saying something different? You may even learn something from them — they may have discovered through trial and error what customers value most.

Make sure everything reinforces what you want customers to think about your business.

3) Demonstrate it with stories. Stories make your brand “stick.” It’s not enough just to say over and over that “we specialize in high quality.” Show it!

Write up case studies about how you helped a customer with your high quality solution to solve a problem that no one else could solve.

Or get a testimonial about how your product outlasted other products by five years. Write your company story in the About section of your website, and repeat that story in press releases, interviews and other communications. Create a video about your company “story.”

4) Use colors, symbols and other elements to create visual associations. Check your marketing materials for consistency. As you using an outdated logo on some materials? Do you even have a logo? Are colors consistent?

Visual elements are important clues that trigger other associations and help customers remember your business.

Remember, branding isn’t just for large corporations. When customers have seemingly endless choices, branding becomes a crucial competitive edge. That’s the value of branding for small businesses.