Have you ever seen Mini Cooper drivers pass by and greet each other? Not all, but many of them do this. Why? The reason is simple: the car has its own hip, cult following that makes it different and gives drivers a sense of kinship.
The Mini is a prime example of successful branding. Of course, you don’t need to compare your small business with a global brand. But you can learn a lot from the Mini Cooper and other brands like it.
After all, brand building isn’t just about a hefty marketing budget. Any business can make its mark!
Brand and business: what’s the difference?
Every company has a name. But not every company is a brand. The difference? A brand has more features than just a name, making the business an experience for customers.
This is the distinct advantage of a brand that you can apply to your own business: brands are unique and stand for something. This gives their products or services an added value that customers appreciate and are willing to pay more for.
But can you apply this to small companies or solopreneurs?
Why everyone has the potential to be a brand
If you think about well-known brands and their substantial advertising budgets it can be easy to get disheartened and think “I could never do branding.” But as a small business owner you can actually do something that big corporations struggle with—you can come across as authentic.
Brand building is therefore possible for even the smallest companies. The first step is to ask yourself who you are and what you want to embody. What do your products or services stand for?
Think of the adjectives that could apply to your products/services:
- Local or regional
- Charitable or social
- High quality
The list goes on. Your unique selling points will also depend on your industry. It’s important for your branding to take a look at your unique qualities and communicate them effectively. Even if you’re aware of what these are, maybe your prospective customers aren’t.
It’s important for your brand attributes to find a healthy middle-ground between what you already are, what you embody, and what you want to be.
How to bring your brand to life
Now it’s time to get down to business. If you’ve defined the qualities that you want your business to capture, all you need to do is start implementing them.
Use a consistent corporate design
What brand do you think of when you see the color magenta? T-Mobile, maybe? For decades, Telekom has relied on a uniform corporate image, which makes the color known to almost everyone. Colors definitely send a message about what your business is all about.
This is a good example of how important a harmonious and consistent appearance is for an effective business brand. You can also follow this example with your own corporate design.
Keep your target group in mind
“My target group is everyone!” tends to be a common opinion of founders, who assume a broad customer base. But even supermarkets have a clear definition of their target group.
It’s not necessary to work out a narrow and highly specialized target group. Depending on the industry and your service, you may also be addressing a very broad target group. But you should have an idea in mind of the type of customer you’re appealing to.
When creating a brand it’s important to keep in mind: Does my brand appeal to my target group? When designing your brand (see the following steps), this question can be a helpful anchor.
Invest in a snazzy logo
Makes sense, right? A logo sticks in your mind longer than a hefty marketing text. It pays to put your heart and soul into your own logo and/or ask professionals to help you with this.
99Designs, for example, lets you create a professional logo that accurately reflects your brand essence. On their website, you can already define your ideas and criteria then in the next step, you’ll start to see the first ideas from professional designers.
Build up your website
Having a web presence today is as natural to most companies as having a telephone number. After all, 89 percent of people in the United States are now online with around the same number for the United Kingdom.
It’s important that the brand appearance on your website represents your business. In your website text, make sure to tell visitors about your local products, showcase sustainable production, or offer personal advice. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet!
To communicate the right corporate image, pair your text with well-thought-out images that show your company strengths, yourself and colleagues at work. Insights into company culture can create brand loyalty and will help you get close to potential customers.
If you create a website with Jimdo Dolphin, the right look for your business is particularly easy because your website is already tailored to your industry.
Dolphin’s image library provides beautiful, high-quality photos right from the start (with a huge stock photo database to choose from) and even text suggestions. Want your own photos? Dolphin can even pull existing pictures from your social media business profiles.
Reach customers on social media
Take the time to build a community via social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Even more importantly, you can advertise very effectively on social media with just a small budget. With Jimdo, you can even create ads on Facebook directly from your website that will reach your exact target audience (based on location, age, interests, etc.).
If you share your posts (or ads) regularly, select exciting images, communicate what your brand stands for and announce interesting campaigns, you speak to your target group as a brand and ensure recognition.
See and be seen at fairs and events
Events such as trade fairs, conferences or theme events like Christmas/DIY markets are a great way to showcase your brand and make sure you’re seen in the industry.
You can also speak to your target group one-on-one at these events to find out what they want. Another positive is you’ll meet other industry people, familiarize yourself with the competition and get to know potential partners for future collaborations. Once you know your brand and where it fits in the industry, you’ve already achieved a great deal.
Fairs and other events give you the chance to define your own niche even better: What does the competition do? Where is there still a gap in the market? Then you can tap into the area where you see potential and expand your brand accordingly.
Many of you have your own business or project and definitely have the potential to create your own brand identity. Try it out and let us know how it goes!