Branding 101 – Small and Mid-Size Business Branding Fundamentals

Bridging the Gap Between Your Branding and Your Audience

5 Essentials For Your Company’s Branding

One hears all the time how in business, good branding, creates trust. Why is that and what does it mean for your business? Good branding tells the consumer about your priorities and your purpose. It tells them that you care about your appearance, you have a sense of organization, as well as your unique qualities. When you present yourself with good branding, you will receive in return a metaphorical (or sometimes literal) handshake from your consumer/client—that’s trust. Trust makes it easier to sell your products or services.

1. Differentiation. We can say that there are two types of branding – visual (graphics) and tactical (perception). Your visual branding should differentiate itself from your competition. Duh. And your tactical branding should focus on what is special and unique about your business and communicate this brand perception to the consumer/client. There is no point in following any other tips if you haven’t got this first part down correctly. You need to look unique and have a brand purpose that is focused on a positive perception of your brand – a tactical branding plan.

2. Consistency. If you are not sure what consistency means, think of it this way: your company is a team. No matter where you play (business cards, brochures, ads, web designs, social media) you need to wear the same uniform each time. So for example, make standards and use rules for your logo – don’t stretch it, don’t change the colors, don’t change the typography, don’t float it over busy backgrounds, etc. And your brand messaging, the same rules apply – decide on one message and stick with it. Repetition and consistency are key for brand recognition.

3. Authenticity. Your marketing materials and even your employees will project your brand to clients and consumers. Since a brand is a direct representation of your company as well as what your brand promises to deliver, it will only succeed if it’s based in truth and authenticity. A great advertising pioneer once said, “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.” Let’s re-write that equation this way: ‘there’s nothing worse than great branding for an unsustainable brand promise.’

4. Connectivity. When people talk about branding, they often use the phrase “make a brand connection.” Know your target market and learn to speak their language. Whether you are selling services or products, the visual branding and tactical messaging must be crafted to appeal to the buyer in an authentic and relatable manner. So make sure you have the right “brand tone.”

5. Ambition. It’s something you rarely see talked about in a branding post, but ambition is the gasoline that powers the branding bus. Apple, Nike, Starbucks, and ESPN are examples of companies that aimed high. They didn’t try to be slightly better than the competition, their goal was to lead, in their cases, the world. If you are a small or mid-size business, adopt the same ambition for your brand. Your ambition is for your brand to lead your niche. Ambition is the magnetism and glue that will oversee all the parts of your visual and tactical branding. When it comes to branding, ambition is the enemy of “ordinary” and “inconsistent,” so use it wisely and your brand will achieve new heights.

If developed properly, great branding can celebrate your company, unite your employees, and increase profits.

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