Many small businesses believe it is not necessary for them to have a brand to market their products or services successfully; only established companies need to do that, like Apple or Samsung.
However, that’s not the case. Although some firms might invest in a logo for aesthetic purposes, a small business brand is much more than just the visuals.
In fact, if you have read our 18 reasons to invest in a logo design blog, you will see the reasons behind having a brand are heavily overlapping with that blog. It happens because a logo is merely the visual cornerstone of your brand, but not the brand itself.
Successful business owners always highlight the importance of branding and recommend small business owners to create a brand identity system that consists of a logo and a set of consistent marketing materials.
But these experts often don’t explain the reasons behind this advice so we will dive into this and tell you exactly why you need to have a brand, even you are just starting a new business with limited funding.
Why do small companies like us need a brand?
Even if you understand the importance of branding, you may be too busy taking care of day to day tasks and not having enough time to focus and invest in marketing. That’s understandable. It’s tough to handle this your own.
The thing is, having a well-crafted brand and other consistent marketing materials can increase your sales and revenue substantially.
Small businesses should seize the opportunity to create a brand that will increase visibility and gain trust because this will differentiate you from other competitors and capture new customers online.
Also, a good brand communicates your personality and values, which is also good for business. See the example below:
Gaynor Humphrey, the commercial director of Best Years, a knitted toys supplier of independent stores and high street, emphasized and explained that a brand’s very important to them. They worked hard to distance themselves from their competitors, so they didn’t have to compete on pricing.
A strong brand even drove traffic to their website. He explained that if their brand values resonated with the values of retailers, they would be inclined to buy from them.
In essence, a good branding influences your prospects’ opinion of who you are and whether they want to do business with you.
Other 12 Benefits of having a good branding:
We have listed out 12 reasons why a strong brand would be good for your business, no matter if you are starting up or running an established company:
Warning: this list is closely the same as the benefits we listed out on our 18 reasons to invest in a logo design blog.
1. To signal that you are established and stable
Having a well-craft brand demonstrates that you are committed to delivering quality goods and services to your clients. You might not have been in business “since 1912” but you invest in an identity, it will go a long way toward building the essential element, trust.
2. To attract more customers
People use their first impressions to determine which company they should do business with. If you can wow them with your professional brand, then you can impress them into buying your services and goods.
3. To enhance your credibility
If you’d like to appear and known as an expert in your field, credibility is the first thing you have to establish to gain people’s trust. A well-crafted brand can help present yourself as credible, experienced, and professional.
4. To be more memorable
People remember better of what they see than what they hear or read. So if you have appealing and consistent graphics on your business materials, you will more likely be the first one that comes to mind when they need your goods and services.
5. To stand out and differentiate yourself in the industry
Having a well-designed brand identity system will influence people’s decision on hiring you and put you far above the competition.
6. To look “bigger”
If you present yourself with template business cards that you get from random online software, it will signal that you are just some local vendors to your potential clients. That is how they will want to compensate you.
7. To increase the chances of receiving funding
Your business will look more professional if you can present a well-rounded package that has aesthetically appealing marketing materials.
8. To explain and endear your company name
If your company name is not easy to pronounce or it is an acronym, clients might not remember who you are when they need your services. But if you provide visual cues and associate your business name to some engaging, compelling graphics, then they are more likely to remember you and hire you the next time.
9. To describe a niche business
If your company is not in a mainstream industry, a logo can offer a visual reference and help you explain what you do.
10. To tell your story and show that you are unique
A well-crafted logo can tell the story of how you do business including the distinctive practices that differentiate you from the rest.
11. To keep up with the competition
Nowadays, having a logo for your business is a given, especially in the creative services industry, it’s industry standard. You don’t want to be left behind.
12. To show your commitment and the sense of personal pride in your practices
A logo will increase your confidence, demonstrate through in all of your business interactions and methods.
So What makes a brand good?
I will begin by asking you three questions. Please keep in mind that even you haven’t invested a single cent in branding your company. Whatever you are showing your customers is your brand. Hence, you can still answer these questions. So, let’s get started:
1. What messages does your image convey when someone looks at your business card, website or marketing materials?
2. Does this brand image reflect your business’s values and visions?
3. Are your branding materials consistent across every aspect of your company and accurately reflects who you are? Even the way the way you answer the phone and the way you conduct yourself in public have to be consistent.
If you cannot answer those questions with high confidence above, then your brand needs some work.
Now, let’s see what a strong brand entails. According to Forbes, there are seven characteristics that we should look form.
1. Knowing The Audience
The best brands understand their target market. The brands know who they are, what their interests are, and how they communicate.
All businesses have a specific target audience they’re pursuing. They can target multiple target audiences, but their brand positioning will not be the same for all the audience groups.
Knowing the target market is critical because it sets the tone and the setup of all marketing campaigns. It also refines the overall brand identity to create an organic, human connection between a business and its audience.
2. Being Unique
Just like your identity in a group of friends, people recognize for your distinctive feature. Same concept here. A brand requires something unique.
For example, Apple makes technologies available in the market and integrate them so that the user experience is innovative. Domino’s Pizza guarantees that their pizza would arrive in 30 minutes. Toms gives out a pair of free shoes to children in need when you buy a pair of Toms.
Building an identity within a niche doesn’t require a crazy creative idea. It only needs to have one particular thing that separates it from the competition.
Keep in mind though, this unique thing of yours might not be your competitive advantage. Sometimes, the brand uniqueness is a gimmick to reinforce your unique selling point.
3. The Brand Must Be Presented Consistently
Now that, you have convinced the customers to do business with you. They like it, so they come back or refer their friends to you. They do expect to receive the same quality, or even more.
The tricky part is, you never know how people come in contact with your brand. They can call you, email you, tweet you, goes to your store, check out your business cards, see your ad in a newspaper, etc.
If your brand presentation is inconsistent, your brand promise is broken. For example, your brand is presenting your as the high-end cabinet supplier, but then your business cards look worse than a mom and pop’s cabinet store.
How will people be convinced that you care about quality?
4. Your Team Must Carry The Brand Values
Just like any organizations, there is always an influential leader behind a brand. For large companies, this person is the CEO. In small businesses, it’s always you.
Eventually, your company is going to grow. You will have a team, which means most people will broadcast your brand, which means your brand will face inconsistency.
That’s why you need a brand strategy to coordinate the efforts of team members and guide a strategic vision for a brand.
With a brand strategy guideline, you can resolve the complications and liaise between departments to keep everyone on the same page.
It ensures consistent branding, hence consistent promise.
Again with the cabinet business, you don’t want to have a staff member telling the customer to not worry about the small details of their cabinet job because no one can see them, right?
5. High Exposure To Your Brand
What’s the point of building a brand if no one sees it. Find the cheapest method to raise awareness for your target audience groups for your brand.
Getting people to see your brand is another monster of its own. However, your goal is to get everyone in your target to know about you, so they know who you are. They might not buy today, but when the time’s right. They know who to go to.
You don’t have to save that marketing budget, be unknown, and when someone needs your service or product, they don’t know who to buy from.
6. The Brand Is Always Competitive
This is not about the brand getting stale. Whatever position you are in, copycats are going to come in. The sweet market spot that you positioned your brand at is eventually crowded.
You have to keep optimizing your brand so that people can always recognize the value you represent. No matter, how crowded the market gets, if they need your service, they go to you, not your substitute.
7. The Brand Must Have Passion
You can build a brand in the short-term without passion. We can gather enough data to make the brand works for your target market. However, it’s almost impossible to sustain it in the long run.
Why? If you don’t have the passion for the brand, you won’t care about it. The motivation of your work misaligns with your brand. If your staff is not working in with the values that your brand promises, you won’t know because you also don’t have the passion for you to ask the staff to improve. Slowly, your brand will shift to another market position.
As people like the artificial brand, they are going to reject or take a long time to get used to your new brand. That’s why we should design the brand so that there’s passion in it, so the brand sustains for a long time.
Kickstart your small business brand
Building a brand is a huge topic. Companies spent millions of dollars to optimize their brand. As small businesses, we don’t have that kind of money, and we don’t have a budget to waste for optimization. It’s important to get things right from the beginning. Here are the main concepts:
1. Hire marketing consultants
As much as you think you handle this yourself, you need to know when to hire a consultant to expand your business.
Chances are you will be too hyped and excited for your new business venture that you ignore or forget or don’t know how to listen to the noise in the target market, and extract the information critical to your brand’s success.
There is much more to branding than putting ads on Google or newspapers.
It is about your interactions with your customers. Yes, that includes a logo, but it is also the way you answer your phone, interact with customers on social media, and carry on that relationship.
Although a graphic designer can help you with the visuals, a marketing consultant will thread the personality of your business and every aspect of your brand.
You need a brand strategy roadmap to guide you through to create a working brand.
At The Coding Bull, we always require our customers to go through some of these 60 questions regarding your business before building a brand. Take a look!
2. Choosing the Right People to get feedback
It’s hard to take an objective look at your business, so most likely you will ask your trusted family members, friends, and marketing professionals to give you constructive feedback on your brand. Be careful about collecting too many opinions because you will be too overwhelmed with all the input.
You should ask your target audience instead because your friends and family might not understand the perspective of your clients. Just having them to say yes to the design doesn’t mean your target audience will.
To build a strong brand identity, you need to ensure you are always able to deliver what you promise. Make your business reputable then sales will come in.
There is a misbelief that branding is only for the big, established companies. The truth is many customers will still deal with a business with a strong brand that is cohesive and professional.
Just because you’re a company of only one, there’s no reason not to look as professional and ‘put together’ as the big guys.