Are you a small business owner who is confused about “branding”? What is your “brand” and why is it important? “Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer,” according to Entrepreneur.com. How do you communicate that to your customers? That is the subjective process of branding. Your brand is much more than your logo, it is your theme, your values, your strengths, and what makes your product unique in an overcrowded marketplace. Your brand is intimately connected with your reputation. Elizabeth Talerman, the chief executive officer and managing partner of Nucleus, a brand strategy collaborative, defines a brand as: “a simple mental model that represents, collectively, what people feel, think and say about a product, service or company, and where meaning is established over time through consistent positive experiences and engagements.”
How do you know when it’s time to re-brand? We all know the business climate is rarely stagnant, but are any of the following true for your small business or industry?
- Competition is increasing.
- You’ve experienced a business setback.
- Your logo appears outdated, colorless, or stale.
- Your current brand says nothing about who you really are.
- You aren’t reaching or attracting your target customers.
- Your market share is low or stagnant.
If one of the above is true, it’s probably time to consider investing in re-branding. If 3 or more are true, it’s definitely time to re-brand! Without a clear brand strategy, you will be losing business.
How do marketing professionals, like those at Morris Marketing in Raleigh, determine a re-branding strategy for their clients? Mike Morris, founder and CEO of Morris Marketing, says: “One of the greatest challenges with branding is how difficult it is to be objective. When we evaluate ourselves we tend to be subjective and can’t see the all of the complexities within our own operation. That’s why it’s so important to have others provide an assessment of your brand from a neutral third party perspective. We can help you identify, enhance, and build upon your brand.”
There are many questions to consider when re-branding a small business. Here are some of the critical questions:
- What are your business’ unique strengths?
- What are your business’ current marketing needs?
- What are potential future market developments?
- What qualities do you want people to associate with your company?
Once you have a great brand, the critical step is to communicate it consistently and often. Train all employees on your brand “language”: your mission statement, your level of formality, your values, your tone. Your logo and tagline should be on everything associated with your business: your website, email signature, written materials, and most importantly, your products. Inconsistently communicating your brand is one of the quickest ways to lose your customers’ loyalty.
Mike Morris sums up his philosophy on branding as follows: “Branding influences the behavior of our target audience. People choose a brand by their perception. As a business owner it’s really important to monitor, control, and market according to the strengths of your brand.” Branding services are a critical investment in the long-term health of your business. Strong, effective branding increases both ROI and market share. If you suspect your small business needs a brand makeover, call Mike Morris and his team of professionals at 919-424-8314 .