How to build a brand for your small business

You have a business, it’s not big but you’re making a living from it and you’re content with the way things are working out. A business name, you have identified your customers and your competitors but it ends at that. The admiration to be a big business someday, brands like Safaricom, Equity, Coca Cola inspire you. You wish that one day you’ll be as big as they are but you haven’t a clue about what you can do. Fear no more for they too were once small business like yours but evolved into big brands and you can too. You’re destined to be an awesome brand.

What is a Brand?

Contrary to popular belief, a brand is not your logo, business name or your choice of colours. It is an experience that your customers have when they engage with your business and the way you make them feel. Your brand is your promise to your customers. What you stand for and why they should buy from you and not your competitors. Big brands succeed because they capitalize on capturing an emotional response. Coca Cola, for example, uses a catchphrase ‘Share Happiness’, with imagery that makes you want to take CocaCola.

Steps to build your brand

Here are seven tips on how to implement branding in your small business.

1. Define your Brand

What product or service does your business offer? What’s your space in the market place? What are your customer pain points? What are the rational and emotive needs of your customers? having a good understanding of these will help you define your brand.

2. Give your brand a personality

Every one of us has some sort of beliefs and values that make us who we are. If you think of your business as a person it will have a personality that will resonate with your customers. Your brand can be fun, quirky, rebellious, imaginative etcetera. It should align with your values and what you’re offering.

3. What Drives your Business?

Does your business believe in something? what is it’s purpose? who are the heroes behind it? having a solid understanding of this will help your business communicate as a brand.

4. Build lasting relationships

Be honest with your branding. Build relationships based on trust by staying true to your promises and values.

5. Speak with a consistent tone of voice

This helps reinforce your character and clarify your message. The customer will be in a position to manage their expectations this way.

6. Be BOLD Not Italic

Sounds completely funny, hahaha. I know. Big brands have a huge chain of bureaucracy that limit interaction with customers. Always be at the forefront of understanding that customer needs are ever-changing. Come up with solutions that address their needs.

7. Be Yourself

It is difficult to be yourself when you’re drowning in a marketplace of doubt. So many Brands want to emulate other brands that are thriving to an extent that they end up being fake. Customers are after authenticity, trust, integrity. If you can elicit a genuine emotional response the customer will feel like they are family.
Building a brand is not a one day process, it takes time, months, years even. It is important that you start well. Having a brand identity that sets you apart is a good start towards this end. Hire the services of a professional graphic designer to create your identity.

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