You don’t need a giant budget to create a strong brand. In fact, you don’t even need a marketing consultant.
All you need is to put aside your time, a little bit of know-how, and to make sure that you’re asking the right questions.
The know-how is where this article comes in – I’m going to go over what you need to think about and WHY, and how this will impact on your creative marketing in the future. Because a strong brand will help you to naturally produce sparkling design & marketing content.
To make sure you are asking the right questions when you sit down and create your brand I’ve created a handy (free) worksheet. In 3 simple stages this will get you to write down the relevant information you need to think about, pick your brand values, write your brand statement and start putting your brand to work by brainstorming ideas for your design and marketing briefs.
You can download or print the FREE WORKSHEET by clicking here.
(The time I’m afraid I can’t help you with – but I have full confidence that a successful entrepreneur like yourself knows the important of putting aside an hour or two to do this properly. If you’re struggling to keep up, I can offer you 9 ways to simplify your to do list. So don’t say I never did anything for you! )
So let’s get started.
5 things to know before you create your small business brand
Your ideal customer
Without your customers you don’t actually have a business, so you need to make sure your brand resonates with them.
The better you know your ideal customer the better you can understand what will appeal to them in terms of your offering. Plus, creating a customer profile is a great way to make sure that you always sound personal and targeted in your marketing (rather than that you’re shouting to a huge audience of strangers).
Make sure you analyse what your competitors are doing. How do they position their brand? Does it work well for them? Why? How could you do it better? Is there a trick that they are missing which you could exploit?
Your success depends on distinguishing your brand from your competition, either proving that you’re better or playing on a different angle.
Your price positioning
Every business is different but we all sell a service or product that will be one of three things:
- A high-end, luxury or market leading brand that is worth paying extra for
- A good value offering (delivering a lot for a reasonable price)
- Cheap and cheerful (streamlined, basic service for those looking at the bottom line)
By defining your position you can use it to your advantage. You might realise that you are the only one out of all your competitors offering a luxury service in your sector. Or it will help you to narrow down your direct competitors targeting the same price bracket.
It’s also worth remembering what benefits people are looking for when they are looking at price:If someone wants luxury then they are looking for the best service, a seamless process and to get a little bit extra.If someone is looking for good value then they are looking to get more for their money than elsewhere.If someone is looking for a cheap and cheerful service then they are looking to save as much money as possible (without running into extra difficulty).
Make sure you bear this in mind when analysing how important your price position is to your brand.
However, money isn’t everything when people are looking to buy.
Your personality as a business can be a huge factor. You don’t want to be a business that turns your customers off. You do want to have a personality that naturally attracts your ideal customers.
It can be hard to dissect your natural personality into distinct benefits, but it will give you incredible focus if you do so. If you can say that your business personality is creative and quirky then that is something that you can easily portray across your marketing – and if your ideal customer is looking for a company who will think in a flexible and creative way then this is a very effective way to communicate with them.
Naturally your customers want to know how you conduct your service, and particularly how you might do it differently from everyone else.
Think carefully about what benefits the features of your service brings. Which benefit is the most important? Then that one is the one you really want to emphasise in your brand.
The next step – Narrow it down
Ok, so you’ve thought about your customers, your competitors, your price point, your personality and your service and written down everything that came out of that brainstorm.
Next step – you need to focus that all down into something concise and useful.
Prioritise your list of values and then pick just the top 3, and then the top one.
By focusing on the number one value that is a key part of your business brand you’ll be able to communicate your message more effectively and consistently throughout your marketing.
Now that you’ve brainstormed broadly and narrowed your brand down to pinpoint precision you’re at the perfect stage to start thinking about how you can visualise your brand.
Think about the colours you’d associate with your brand values, or any stories that capture the essence of your brand.
Every single idea (no matter how odd) will be of great help to your design team when they start thinking about your logo and visualising your brand.
This is all about bringing together your vision into a cohesive whole that will make all of your marketing efforts in the future very easy. You’ll already know how to pitch it, what to emphasise, and what metaphors and stories work well to communicate your message that you can play on.
Brilliant – how do I get started? Download or print this Free Worksheet to work out your brand values.
Did you find this blog and the free worksheet useful? Let me know in the comments. And I’d love it if you could do me a favour and share this blog post with anyone else who you think might find it useful by sending a tweet or sharing on Facebook. Just click the links to share.
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