Your brand is your business – and without developing proper branding, you’ll likely struggle. However, establishing a brand in the embryonic stages of setting up an SME can be difficult and early mistakes can cost you dearly.
Here are five tips to ensure you’re making a good start:
What do you want to achieve, and how do you want to be perceived? Brand identity is defined by Investopedia as being: ‘Created by the business to reflect the value the company is trying to bring to the market and to appeal to its customers. In most cases this could refer to its name, logo, tone, tagline, and typeface, or perhaps the photographs and products listed on the site. What services does it provide, and does this fit in with its mission statement?‘.
Further Reading : Developing your business brand
Be consistent :
Perhaps as important as the brand itself is the tone of branding, and the consistent image that is put across. According to research by McKinsey and Company (described in Webdam), B2B companies with strong and consistent branding are 20% more successful than those that are inconsistent.
In a world of social media (see below), maintaining a regular image is key. If, for every 20 tweets or phone calls with a friendly, charming nature, you throw in one message that is stern and stark, customers may not know where they stand.
Similarly, seemingly random changes in your company’s design, the choice of services or products, or variations in the quality and quantity of your output, will all damage your brand. For example, if you’re a tech company, you’re probably not going to be tweeting about another company that carries out plumbing or catering services.
Online technology :
We presume that you have some form of online knowledge, or else you would not be reading this piece. However, are you a passive consumer or someone who produces content for and shouts about their brand? Do you have a social media presence where you can gain followers and catch the eye of influencers and fellow collaborators? If not, now’s the time to jump on Facebook, as a bare minimum. This year and beyond, video will be a big mover in the online world, and maybe VR – can your brand take advantage?
Promote yourself :
As well as social media, there are other methods you can use to promote yourself. Giving items away as freebies, sales promotions, and covering your building/vehicle with your branding (though bear in mind you’ll need to ask for permission if you do not own the vehicle) can each plant a seed in peoples’ minds, showing what you stand for and what you’ll do for customers and clients.
You could also partner up with similarly-minded local businesses if they can add value to your brand (and vice versa). Word-of-mouth and contacting other companies that are using incubator programmes are two ways of finding out if other parties are interested.
Don’t spread yourself too thinly :
Once upon a time Amazon only sold books, and Facebook was just for college kids. Now these two global giants sell virtually everything you can imagine and connect 1.79 billion people monthly. But it took time to build those brands, via a logical series of steps and experimentation to test the waters before moving in and expanding.
You may wish, in the early months and years, to tackle several problems at once, or sell many disparate products and services. However, to carve out a niche for yourself (and probably have a better chance of creating and building a successful company), create a brand that’s well-known for high quality in a narrower field rather than spreading your abilities and manpower to the detriment of quality.
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