Best Tools to Build Your Brand as a Small Business
Building a brand can be a tricky endeavor for a small business. Brand-building (aka “branding”) involves developing many different aspects of your company and often requires extensive research and allocating a significant amount of resources to succeed. In other words, it’s a long-term investment that can promote ongoing viability for your business if handled correctly.
What exactly is a “brand?” That term refers to your company’s image: in other words, it’s the customer’s perception of your business, its services, and its quality (both in whole and concerning specific parts). For instance, the Apple brand stands for exclusivity, innovation, and simplicity.
So the question is: How does your consumer base perceive your business? It’s possible to shape customer impressions about your business through several avenues. Marketing is one of the more obvious methods of achieving this objective, especially through brand awareness campaigns (i.e., advertising campaigns with the specific objective of keeping your company top-of-mind for your target audience). Deploying brand awareness campaigns regularly throughout the year can help form public perception around your organization.
In addition, day-to-day interactions with your customers can either add to or detract from your credibility. For instance, when one of your team members delivers exceptional service to a customer, the customer will almost invariably have a more positive view of your brand and will be more likely to do business with your company again.
Brand Awareness Tools
Especially in terms of marketing, what are some essential brand awareness tools that you can use to strengthen your position in the market? While this is by no means a comprehensive list, the following five tools may be some of the most effective options at your disposal:
1. Radio and audio ads
Radio is an excellent medium in terms of audience reach. Your company can buy radio spots in the traditional way or even partner with particular radio or talk show hosts to deploy sponsored ads (i.e., ads associated with a specific program or station).
Moreover, with podcasts and digital audio channels becoming more popular each year, you can add that channel to your overall marketing mix. It will help create increased brand awareness across the board.
2. Digital display ads
With millions of Internet users performing search queries and “surfing the Web” each day, it only makes sense to invest some of your marketing budget in digital display ads. These will be particularly effective if you deploy them across websites your target consumers are most likely to visit. Of course, this will require market research ahead of time, but the ROI will likely be well worth it.
3. Quality products and service
This “tool” may have the smallest reach, but it will almost certainly have the most significant impact on an individual level. When you treat your customers well and consistently deliver on your promises, your company will develop a glowing reputation among those who know. Some satisfied customers will tell their friends and family about their positive experiences. In turn, those recommendations will lead to more business for your brand.
4. Goodwill advertising
“Goodwill advertising” can refer to hosting events or sponsoring causes that you (and your customers) believe in and will feel better about supporting. That is often a powerful marketing tactic within the local community. It’s yet another way to build brand awareness and simultaneously leave a positive impression on your audience.
5. Cohesive messaging
Consistent, cohesive messaging is an essential component of effective branding. Today’s biggest companies carry consistent elements from one marketing medium to another. For example, consider GEICO’s famous tagline: “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” Or think McDonald’s golden arches.
The point is that you want to develop a strategy and style guide to make your brand instantly recognizable. That will likely include elements such as jingles, color schemes, logos, special offers, taglines, and your unique selling proposition (USP).
Continue to Build Your Brand as a Small Business
All the tools and tactics mentioned above can amplify the effectiveness of your sales process many times over. Brand awareness promotes trust in your company, helps keep your business top-of-mind for your consumers, and makes your organization more familiar.
As you continue to grow your small business, never underestimate the power of brand awareness. If developing and implementing brand awareness campaigns are not core competencies for you, consider partnering with an experienced, reputable media agency for assistance.
There is indeed an upfront cost involved in brand-building in terms of time and money. However, when you invest your resources in building up your brand, either locally or nationwide, you will eventually enjoy a “snowball effect” as your branding momentum causes more and more customers to stream to your company.
Stay on top of industry news and trends.