Often small businesses fall into two traps around branding – that they can’t manage it because they are small and that it is primarily about products anyway. While branding does feature the products or services that a business offers, this is only a small part of it. And branding is something that can benefit businesses of all sizes as well as being accessible to everyone. Here are a few reasons to seriously consider working on your company branding.
What is Branding?
Branding is about creating a unique identity for your business that means even when you sell the same products or services as someone else, you can stand out from the crowd and attract customer attention. Small business branding can often be seen as difficult to do as you can’t compete with the big company in terms of resources or manpower. And while this might be the case with resources, it doesn’t mean your branding can’t work for you just as well as theirs.
People relate better to companies that have strong branding and an identity. They vote for which branding works for them with their shop visits, clicks or purchases. By having strong, cohesive branding, your company can be the one that they notice, feel a connection with and therefore purchase from. It can also create brand loyalty and those crucial returning customers.
Recognition Leads to Trust
One thing studies have shown is that recognition of a brand builds trust and people are more likely to buy from a company if they feel they can trust them. Therefore, trust and reputation are key to business success and branding plays a big part in this.
By having that strong, identifiable brand, even the smallest company can begin to build trust with customers. This leads to customer loyalty – 48% of customers say they are more likely to become loyal to the brand during their first experience or purchase with them.
There are lots of ways to create that brand to build trust with everything from catchy slogans and memorable names to attractive and eye-catching colour schemes being used. But the most effective brands combine something of everything. They work on the principle that we retain only around one-tenth of the information that we see when we read something.
But if you include visuals with that information, this rate of retention rises up to almost two thirds. Therefore, having that catchy slogan paired with great graphics, a clear colour palette, brand voice and other elements means you have a better chance of people remembering what you do. That’s why visuals are so popular on social media and almost three-quarters of marketers use them ahead of even video.
As you attract attention for your brand and build trust, then you start to create a reputation, be it online or in the physical world. Reputation is crucial for business – it covers everything from customer interactions, product standard, feedback and even how you reward your customers.
That strong, positive reputation can even convince people to buy. 91% of shoppers asked in one study said they were more likely to buy from a brand that they viewed as ‘authentic’ than one that they didn’t. So building that brand reputation can gain you customers in a big way.
Using marketing teams to manage your reputation may seem like something that a small company cannot manage but this isn’t the case. By having external experts who take on tasks such as checking customer feedback, managing social media and creating the right content, you can quickly build and enhance your business reputation.
A strong brand increases the number of leads that you will generate and this, in turn, means making more sales. However, you need to maintain your reputation and standards when generating these leads or the work done by the brand can vanish. Response times, voice and even the actual content you use to handle leads all needs to be consistent with the brand.
Following through on your promises also helps build that reputation. Have a clear customer process with times outlined so customers know what to expect and make sure you follow it – that way people are impressed with what you do and more likely to tell others.
That strong, cohesive brand is crucial for other areas of the business growth. Staff morale, for example, can be a problem. If staff are demotivated, don’t know what the company stands for or feel unimportant, then this can lead to bad customer service. This damages the brand.
So by having a clear brand that employees can get behind, you can offer a better service to your customers. Staff feel proud to talk about what the company does or the services that it offers. And they learn to talk with the brand’s voice, ensuring all of their communications with customers offers consistency. This makes the company seem more friendly and approachable and this is another reason that customers become loyal to the brand.
Branding also stands out to potential investors in the business. According to a study by Reuters, some 82% of investors said that the strength of a company’s brand and name recognition were important factors in a decision to get involved with a business.
What this shows is that from all aspects of the business, branding is crucial. You need to have a presence that is recognisable from your social media profiles and website through to your physical store if you have one. The brand rules how you talk to customers and ensures staff can believe in it.