If you’ve thought about how to build a brand image, one that truly resonates with your audience, you’ve come to the right place. Retailers and consumers have a very different relationship than a decade ago, especially with social media and e-commerce. Communication no longer starts and ends at purchase. With a larger community getting involved in reselling, making your small business stand out is more important than ever. Read on as we guide you through the steps to build a brand image for your small business.
Building Brand Image
So, what is a brand? A brand is how customers recognize and experience a business. It should tell buyers what to expect from your products and services and convince them why to choose you over your competitors. Ultimately, your brand should answer the question, “how do I want customers to perceive my business?” Developing a solid brand can be huge for your customer base and bottom line. Recognizable, brands have credibility in their marketplaces, like Heather of Hooked on Pickin. Heather’s brand remains consistent across all social platforms. For example, her website, www.hookedonpickin.com, her YouTube channel, and Facebook have the same logo, theme, and warm, welcoming feeling. This helps establish trust among buyers. In some cases, well-known brands can charge more for their products, as customers are willing to pay for quality.
You may already be familiar with certain parts of your brand, like your logo and products. But have you ever thought about your brand’s key messages? How about where you advertise your products? These are just a few aspects that separates good brands from great ones.
Define Your Brand
This is potentially the trickiest but most important step to building your brand- figuring out WHO you want to be. To begin, start by asking yourself a few “self-discovery” questions, such as:
- What is my business’s mission?
- What are the benefits of my products or services?
- How does my business stand out from my competitors?
- What do my current and prospective customers know/think about my business?
- What do I WANT current and future customers to know/think about my business?
As part of this process, consider researching your current or desired audience. For example, if you have an email list, send out a survey asking subscribers what they enjoy about your business or how you could improve. You can also use free market research tools to learn about the buying trends and behaviors of customers you want to reach.
After completing research and your own business “self-discovery,” it’s time to define your brand. Be sure to use all the information you’ve gathered to make the best decision. Balance your values and who you want to be with what your customers are seeking out. When done well, this exercise can result in a practical, genuine brand that you can stand behind.
Create a Logo and Accompanying Visuals
Once you’ve decided who your brand is, it’s time to carry out that identity in a way customers can see it. This is first and foremost done by creating a great logo. Though it doesn’t entirely make up your brand’s visual identity, a logo is the most recognizable part of your brand. Therefore, it should represent the business values and messages you previously defined. For example- if you want to appear the established, reliable choice, you probably don’t want to pick a big, bold font or overly bright colors. Your logo should be able to give customers a basic idea of what you offer without visiting your store. Your logo is only the first piece of your brand’s design puzzle. Once it’s been created, every other visual part of your brand should fit and tie back to it. This includes communication with customers, social media posts, and even shipping packaging. A cohesive visual look is a key to building a brand that customers will recognize, even when they’re not seeking it out.
Now that you’ve created your brand, it’s time to share it with your audience. However, no matter how many buyers you speak with or platforms you advertise on, the experience with your brand needs to be consistent. So, to begin, write down a few key messages you always want to convey. Then, think about a brand “voice” or way of speaking that matches these messages. For example, if your brand is relaxed, you can likely use more casual language than a luxury or high-end brand and vice versa.
Once you’ve decided on your voice, carry it through every touchpoint with your audience. How your brand sounds in emails shouldn’t be drastically different than its advertising or social media posts. Your logo, design, and communications should all “fit” together as if your customers speak with the same person.
Meet Customers Where They Are
You’ve created a brand that meets a market’s needs and represents your business’s values- it’s time to buyers about it! But, before you start blasting your brand across the digital universe, figure out where your target audience is likely to see it.
To begin, refer back to that customer research you completed when defining your brand. Often, this information will share valuable insights about how a particular audience interacts online or with other brands. You can also use demographic information, such as age and location to determine where these customers can most likely be reached.
- Email Emailing previous customers is one of the easiest ways to communicate with an audience that’s already engaged with your brand. This can include promotions, a further description of a few of your values, or a selection of inventory that highlights your understanding of their needs.
- AdvertisingIf you want a surefire way to get your eyes on your brand, advertising is a great option. Though it requires some knowledge and a little investment, digital ads can guarantee specific audience members see what you have to say.
- Social Media Social mediais an incredible (and free) method of connecting with your buyers. Not only can customers learn about your brand, but they can also share direct and indirect feedback about their experiences that you can use to grow.
Building a reputable brand image takes work and patience, but it’s well worth the effort. The power of customers instantly recognizing your business and its values are immeasurable and will help you stand out from the retail crowd.
Do you want to learn more about brand building? Watch as Shalonda share her top tips for building a solid brand image