To help small businesses succeed through effective branding, we asked thirteen professionals, including founders and Directors, to share their most valuable tips. From embracing flexibility in brand identity to establishing expertise through content creation, these experts provide a wealth of insights to help your business thrive.
Embrace Flexibility in Brand Identity
My initial idea might not be the best idea. It might not fit the market in the ways I anticipated. That’s why I found it helpful to be somewhat flexible with brand identity when my small business was just starting out. This approach has allowed me to try out various different branding concepts.
Doing this can reduce brand equity. But if you’re just starting out, you don’t have much brand equity, so the risk is relatively low. Once you’ve got good market fit and recognition, it’s best to have a consistent brand identity. But it’s great to explore all your branding options when your business is relatively new.
Adopt a Simple, Distinctive Logo
One pivotal branding tip that propelled our small business to success is the adoption of a simple, yet distinctive, logo. In a world bustling with intricate designs and colors, our decision to embrace minimalism allowed our brand to stand out. The power of a clear and easily recognizable logo cannot be underestimated.
It not only ensures immediate brand recall among our audience but also reinforces a sense of clarity and purpose in our offerings. This straightforward approach to our visual identity made our brand memorable, establishing a strong connection with our audience at every touchpoint.
Integrate a Unique Value Proposition
At the heart of our brand messaging is a well-defined, unique value proposition highlighting why users should choose our services.
From our free proposal, we tailor every pitch to the needs of our would-be clients. This personalized approach not only shows our commitment but also reinforces our unique value proposition. Each proposal is a chance to showcase how our services align with their requirements and how we can bring them tangible results.
By integrating our unique value proposition into every aspect of our business, we’re consistently delivering a clear and powerful message that resonates with our target audience. This approach not only helps in lead generation but also fosters customer loyalty and brand advocacy. Our UVP becomes the foundation of the trust we build with our clients, setting us apart in a competitive landscape.
Tell Authentic Stories
One branding tip that has undeniably propelled Click Intelligence to the forefront is authentic storytelling. In the age of digitization, people are yearning for genuine connections. Rather than just selling our services, we shared the “why” behind our passion for marketing. We detailed our struggles, our milestones, and the inspiration behind starting the agency.
For instance, when we secured our first international client, we shared a behind-the-scenes look at our excitement, the challenges faced, and how our team collaborated to achieve results. This not only showcased our capabilities but also humanized our brand. Authentic storytelling fostered trust and forged deeper relationships with our clients, setting us apart in an overcrowded market.
Add Personal Touches
In an age of automation, the personal touch can sometimes be lost. However, our brand retained its human element. This was achieved through handwritten thank-you notes, personalized offers, or spotlighting loyal customers on our platforms.
These gestures fostered a sense of belonging and appreciation. It showed our audience that behind the brand was a team of real people who cared deeply about their experience.
Build a Thriving Community
In today’s digital landscape, people want more than just products or services. They’re seeking connections and experiences. Your community becomes a forum where your customers can ask questions, share their success stories, and even offer suggestions for improvement.
For us, this direct interaction has deepened our relationship with our audience. It’s become a way of showing our users that we’re in the trenches, testing and analyzing software, services, and tools that can genuinely make a difference for their business.
Align with Client Interests and Values
Focusing on clients who share my interests and values produces better, long-term outcomes. Like most small business owners, I’ve strayed away from my brand’s mission and core values in order to bring in more customers to pay the bills.
More often than not, they become a distraction from the things I enjoy most. Work consequently feels more like “work” when I prefer it to feel like “fun.” Whenever I focus on clients that are aligned with my mission and values, I tend to have a lot more fun. I become more excited about the work, do a great job because I care more, and they tend to stay engaged a lot longer.
Show the Face Behind the Brand
Showing the face behind my brand within my video marketing has helped me to build trust with my audience and make more sales in my branding and website design business. Not only does this allow me to authentically talk about my mission, core values, and showcase my work, but the audience is also able to get to know me as a person.
There’s a lot more that you can get across in video marketing compared to text or still image posts. For example, your facial expressions, your sense of humor, and mannerisms can be conveyed. This marketing strategy helps to build the “know, like, and trust” factor with the audience that much faster.
Invest in a Professional Graphic Designer
Find a real graphic designer for your logo and branding materials—business cards, stationary, website, stickers, social media, whatever else. Someone who can work with you to capture “the essence of you”… a unique brand image, special just for you.
You want something that will make you look bigger and better than the rest. Do not be tempted by all the crappy templates, stock icons, and cheap logo services online. You will never be sorry you developed your own, unique brand image. It will serve you well over many, many years, as it has for me.
Cultivate the Founder’s Personal Brand
A pivotal branding strategy that has amplified our small business’s footprint is the cultivation of the founder’s personal brand. Instead of solely focusing on the company, we’ve highlighted our founder’s journey, sharing ‘build in public’ updates and personal anecdotes.
This approach allows our audience to connect with a human story, fostering trust and establishing genuine relationships. People resonate with people, not just corporate entities. By sharing challenges, triumphs, and behind-the-scenes glimpses, our founder’s personal brand has become an authentic voice for our business, bridging the gap between company and community, and turning casual observers into dedicated supporters.
Make Your Customer the Hero
The best branding tip I received came from Donald Miller, author of the best-selling book, The Story Brand. He taught that most brands want to make themselves the hero of the story, but in order to truly succeed, you need to make your customer the hero of the story, and you are simply the guide leading them to the right solution.
Instead of making yourself Luke Skywalker, you need to be Obi-Wan Kenobi and let your customer be Luke. This helped me create more customer-centric marketing copy, which has worked really well in driving new leads and sign-ups.
Ensure Consistency Across All Touchpoints
Whether it’s our website, social media posts, or even offline materials like brochures and business cards, maintaining a consistent look, feel, and message reinforces our brand identity.
This consistency builds trust with our audience, making them more likely to remember us and choose our services over competitors. It’s like giving our brand a familiar face in a crowded market, helping us stand out and stay top-of-mind.
Establish Expertise Through Content Creation
By creating and sharing valuable content that showcases our expertise and knowledge, we were able to attract and engage our target audience, build trust and credibility, and differentiate ourselves from our competitors.
For example, we write blog posts, create videos, and host webinars on topics related to our niche and industry. We also use social media platforms to share our content and interact with potential and existing customers. This way, we can demonstrate our value proposition and brand personality, and generate leads and referrals for the business.
Surveys say that content marketing can help you increase your website traffic by 434%, boost your conversion rate by six times, and reduce your marketing costs by 62%. That’s why I think content is a powerful branding strategy for small businesses.