An apple with a bite taken out of it. An orange lightning bolt. A black or white swoosh. What do all of these things have in common? It’s true that they are all logos for some of the most famous companies in the world, but they also represent an important idea in business: branding. When you think of the aforementioned images, you think of the companies that they represent (Apple, Gatorade, and Nike.)
These logos speak to the power of branding, but logos are just one element of a company’s brand. To successfully develop and establish your company’s brand, you need to understand a few critical things about your business: what separates you from others, your ideal customers, and why those customers should choose you.
This simple question has been asked by many SMB marketers, novice and veteran alike. The tenets of branding have changed throughout the years, but most experts agree that your brand is what distinguishes you from your competitors and gives you familiarity with your prospect base. At Forbes, Jerry McLaughlin says that a company’s brand is what a prospect thinks of when they hear the brand name.
To help you understand what your brand is, think about what you want the first thing that your prospects think about you to be. Ask yourself what your company offers that others in your field don’t. Also, consider your team: do they have skills or experience that not everyone in your industry has? These questions will get you on the right track to establishing what exactly your company’s brand is.
Another important element of branding is understanding which kinds of people your company can help the most. You have to spend some time thinking about your current and future base of customers and what their needs and preferences are. For example, have you ever noticed a military contractor that incorporated lots of military elements into their name or logo, such as camouflage and patriotic symbols? These are businesses that have spent time thinking about their target market and how it should factor into their brand.
How Do You Deliver on Your Brand Promise?
Even if there are two businesses that offer similar products and services to a similar market, they can be differentiated in the way that they operate. Your business has an operating method that is in some way different than others in your field. It could be that you provide services faster than anyone else in the field, or maybe you have the largest amount of experience providing tailored solutions to a particular group of customers. Whatever the case may be, this unique approach to your company’s delivery of what it has to offer must be incorporated in branding to maximize your success.
Building a brand can seem like a huge challenge, especially for small businesses that don’t have much experience with the task. However, branding is a crucial component of today’s marketing landscape, which is why your business must understand its very own brand so that you can effectively harness the power of that brand in your marketing efforts.