How Branding Can Power Your Small Business to Success
From public perception to customer loyalty, knowing how branding can power your small business success is a real asset.
Source: Death Wish Coffee
Branding is important, no matter what kind of business you’re running.
It powers sales, increases visibility, and differentiates your company from competitors. Without it, you’ll flounder.
You’ve probably heard it all before. Yet it hasn’t quite convinced you, has it?
Branding… sounds nice and flowery, but you’re a small business with a tight budget. Expensive branding is fine for huge multinationals, but you have more important things to worry about.
I get it. Branding is a contentious issue, with many thinking it’s a nice extra if you have the cash, but that’s about it. But that’s a mistake. You don’t have to have the best graphic design and branding company — you just need the right message.
Instead of running through theory, we’re going to deal the hammer blow to the thought that branding is useless by giving you the cold, hard statistics.
Reputation and Perception: 88% Want Brands to Help with Living Sustainably
Consumers build relationships with the companies they buy their stuff from. We’re tribal that way; it’s hardwired into our humanity. And that’s why it’s important for your brand to help build a positive public perception, a company that consumers are happy to buy from.
Because branding isn’t just a logo or a fancy business card. It’s the personality that oozes out of how you do business, the perception people have of you, and how that affects whether they decide to buy your product or service.
Let’s take another look at Death Wish Coffee. A powerful brand, developed by doing the right research and executing simple, powerful messaging that resonates with a very specific audience.
The audience? Those who want something a little ‘stronger’ than Starbucks in every aspect.
The message: The “World’s Strongest Coffee.”
How did they do it?
By creating phenomenal content that connects the brand with their audience. This content includes:
- Hilarious branded graphics
- High-quality videos
- Informational written content for the true addict
- Branded merchandise that’s a must
When it comes to the power of branding there are a lot of ways to approach it.
Let’s look at one of the more controversial issues going at the minute: the environment. People want to interact with companies who are green, who care about the environment.
This is one of the main drivers of change in industries that are not traditionally known for their eco-friendly credentials. The energy industry, for example, has invested $286 billion in alternative fuel sources.
Hard truth: they’re not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, but because consumers demand it. They’re changing their stripes to mirror changes in society. We’re not saying you need to go green (though you should seriously think about it!), but that 88% is a lesson: your reputation matters. And branding helps create and build that reputation amongst consumers.
Consistency is Key: 23% Increase in Revenue
Your brand needs to be consistent. It creates trust, gives consumers the idea that you’re dependable, and ultimately drives revenues upwards. Presenting your brand in a consistent format across all channels has the potential of a 23% increase in revenue.
Here’s how you can attain a consistent brand message:
Tweak, Don’t Change. If you’re thinking of changing your logo and color scheme, stop. Is it really that bad? You may benefit from a slight tweak, rather than starting from scratch.
Consumers can find a 180 branding switch difficult to get used to. Ease them into it, just like the big boys do it. Think about Starbucks; do you even remember them changing the logo? Probably not.
They didn’t go for a full switch because they have that loyal base and didn’t want to rock the boat. The changes modernized their brand to draw new crowds, but didn’t drive away existing customers.
Set branding guidelines. You want everyone in your company to know how they are meant to behave, the expected tone of voice, the type of letterheads that should be sent out, the customer service values, etc.
This has to be super clear and set in a document that each and every staff member has to know about. You also need to enforce them. All that takes is a short meeting so that everyone is on the same page.
Retain Talent: Brands with Terrible Branding Pay Higher Salaries (up to 10%!)
The whole tribal thing isn’t just true for consumers. Employees also buy into the idea of branding, and they are more likely to stay loyal to a business that reflects their own values and has a strong brand from top to bottom.
If you want to keep your best talent and don’t want to overpay, you want to work on your company image, your branding has to be on point. That means striving for solid values, investing in your employees, having a strong customer service reputation, the works. Have a company that your employees are proud to be working for.
This will not only help you keep the good people, but will have others applying to work at your business in droves. Salary won’t matter as much, as they’ll know you provide a superior full package (as well as a decent wage).
It Doesn’t Have to be Expensive
Branding doesn’t have to be expensive. You may not even need to invest much at all up front. Understanding branding is as important as investing in it, because it means you’ll realize that it’s not just about a fancy logo or a cool looking website.
Branding is your ethos. It’s what you stand for. It’s how your employees treat your customers. It’s the look, the feel, the intangibles that lead people to invest in your business. Ignore branding at your own peril.