Branding is the reason why people choose to buy one product over another and why they become loyal customers of one company above all the rest. In fact, the most recent state of brand consistency report reveals that consistent branding has the power to increase a business’s revenue anywhere from 10% to 20%.
Branding involves a story that creates a bond between your small business, its brand, and your target audience, with one Salesforce study demonstrating that 64% of consumers feel emotionally connected to their favorite brands. With so much riding on that story, small businesses often rely on skilled public relations (PR) agencies to craft their narratives.
Start the branding process by establishing credibility
Establishing credibility is the first step in building a brand that people trust, respect, and want to be associated with. Before your brand can grow, you need to be known as a thought leader, trusted source, or expert in your space.
Branding begins by presenting yourself as an authority on the subject matter you’re discussing. When people begin to see you as credible in your industry or field of expertise, they will start to trust what you say about your product or service.
Branding often starts by building SEO and credibility in lesser-known outlets
Before your small business’s brand can get covered in a top-tier outlet like Entrepreneur or Forbes, it first must grow through expert quotes, mentions, features, and guest pieces in lesser-known outlets related to your industry. These placements build your online presence, improve the SEO of your brand, and establish your expertise within the sector. When your potential customers and clients begin to see your name in places they trust, they will more easily gain confidence in your product or service.
SEO and credibility are everything, so trust your PR team and their process. In the beginning, you’ll need to allow them to use your articles and interviews for lesser-known outlets to create a heightened digital footprint for your brand.
Building SEO for your brand is a long-term strategy that is especially helpful if you’re trying to reach a new audience or get more coverage on a particular topic, as it supplies the foundation that allows you to build and reach a broader audience in top-tier publications. In time, these top-tier outlets will see your company’s credibility and be more inclined to feature it on their platforms.
To grow your brand, PR teams help you make your story relevant
PR professionals use storytelling to connect with your audience. The only caveat here is that the story for your small business’s brand must be relevant.
However, relevance is a tricky concept — one that isn’t necessarily about keyword density or how many times you mention your company name in an article. Relevance grabs the attention of your target audience by relating to its problems, needs, or interests.
A good way to think about relevance is by looking at your brand’s story from the perspective of someone who has never heard it. If they read an article or watched a video featuring your brand’s story, would it grab them, or would it come across as just another ad? What problem does your message solve for them? How does your message benefit them in their daily lives? Does your message have a bearing on things they care about in the news cycle’s politics, pop culture, or current events?
Whether you want to get your story out there through a reporter or social media influencer, you’ll need to spin it by leveraging relevant pop culture, trends, and current events. Your PR team knows how to frame your story in a way that connects with people, which is especially important when your brand is still relatively new.
The most effective branding happens when you trust your PR team
Effective PR involves research, strategy, planning, and media relations execution — all of which take time to execute effectively. If you start with little to no brand identity, estimate your PR team to take roughly 90 days to garner impressive results.
PR professionals are the experts who can get your brand out there, so listen to their ideas and trust the process. PR is a highly strategic field that involves building relationships, being creative, understanding the news cycle, and keeping up to date with the news in every vertical, from tech to lifestyle to business.
PR is also a long-term investment. It rarely happens overnight and never by accident. It’s not just about getting your name out there and making a splash in the news — it’s about building credibility, SEO, and the right audience so that your brand can thrive over time.
Branding is a vital part of your business and needs to be addressed from the start. It will take time and effort to build a strong brand, but the results will make it well worth the effort. When you have a strong brand with credibility behind it, people will trust what you have to say and spend money on your products or services because they know they’ll get what they pay for.
Chan Desai is an Account Strategist at Otter PR.