Many small businesses may not realize the importance of a brand. They wrongly believe that branding is something best left to larger businesses. Nike is a brand. Pepsi is a brand. But your small business doesn't seem like a brand to you.
However, it is in fact necessary to start the branding process even when a business is small. Even when you're just posting to social media yourself and writing your own blog posts, it's still necessary to think about your brand and post accordingly.
In sum, your brand has to be present in everything you do, from introducing new products and services to decorating your offices. And yes, your online presence should also reflect your brand. This may sound difficult but it's not. It does, however, involve a bit of thought. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to make sure that your branding reflects what you want it to reflect:
Why Did You Start Your Company?
This is a good place to start when you're trying to come up with a brand. You must have had something in mind when you started your company.
- Did you want to introduce a new innovation in your field? In that case, innovation might be the cornerstone of your brand. Your brand could be youthful, innovative and creative.
- Did you feel like the other companies in your field were not putting the customer first? In that case, customer service might be one of the things you want to emphasize in your brand. You want your brand to be reliable, dependable and polite. Overall, you want to show customers that you put them first.
These are just a couple of different examples of possible brands. But if you think back to why you started your company and what you were looking to emphasize, you should get a better idea about what your brand is really meant to be.
You can also work with a marketing company who will give you branding ideas. But it helps if you have some idea of where you're going and why. Someone who is looking at your company from the outside in will have one view of who you are. But given that you are on the inside, you'll have a better idea of who you are and who you're meant to be.
Has Your Brand Diverged from Your Original Idea?
Sometimes, business owners might not put any thought into branding right away. They might just allow the brand to develop on its own. As a result, people might start associating your product and company with reliability. Or they might start associating your product and company with affordability.
Sometimes, however, business owners aren't lucky enough to have a positive connotation associated with their brand. Instead, there might be a negative connotation. For example, instead of affordability, people might start associating your brand with cheap knockoffs.
Obviously, this is not what you're going for. So you need to look into the process of rebranding. And this means altering your image online as well as in other marketing mediums. This is what many companies are often going for when they present a "new, improved" version of their company or product.
Often, companies which have developed a stuffy, old-world brand might decide to update their look and make it more youthful. As Malcolm Gladwell mentions in this book, The Tipping Point, this type of rebranding happened naturally to Hush Puppies which went from being the brand of choice for older, more conservative men to appealing to hipsters.
Not all products reach the "tipping point" naturally. Some have to be pushed over the edge. You can do this with the process of rebranding.
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