How to Build a Brand for Your Small Business

What is Branding?According to the businessdictionary.comDefinition: The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumer’s mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.When building your brand the key objective is to create a character or Brand Identity.This character or Brand Identity will allow you to:

Stay consistent in the market your product or services are competing in.

Create a better understanding with customers and employees of what your brand is all about.

Define and improve marketing efforts.

Become more focused and confident when dealing with your brand.

See your brand as the main character in a Movie production and within this production are other role players or actors competing for the same leading role!If you create a character that does not fit the role play nor the content of the movie, viewers cannot relate to your character, soon they will get confused, bored, and will quickly lose interest in the movie. Other moviegoers will read the bad reviews and they will not flock to the cinema to see another performance!But if you deliver a strong performance, you will receive an accolade at the end of the season in the form of returns.There are many key factors to consider when first start building a brand after you have established brand identity, but I will focus only on the 3 basic brand objectives any young entrepreneur or business individual starting up a small business enterprise can follow, mainly:

Brand Positioning

Brand Value & Proposition

Brand Awareness

1. Brand Positioning – Your brand should promote your business, and differentiate you in the market. Look around and do research on the competition, see what they are up to!If you selling a typical green wheelbarrow, which is big business in Africa and where the competition is extremely visible, you must position yourself in the market by selling the same product for the same price with some creative changes made on the product, example:Brand Name: GT BarrowsSlogan: The most reliable & cost-effective wheelbarrow in Africa!Product description: Green wheelbarrows with a yellow stripe & painted rims.Be creative and position your brand!2. Brand Value – The best way to establish good brand value is to build good customer relations and to be honest about the product that represents your brand name.If you create trust and deliver on the promises your brand represents, customers will soon start to pay the extra premium on the product.Remember – honest branding with good values deliver a solid value proposition:

Customers know what to expect from your brand and you don’t have to compete against price from other products!

3. Brand Awareness – Building a strong brand awareness strategy is key to help you create positive sales figures. All buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. It is incredibly important that your brand establish a loyal following.Most new business owners will immediately kick of a brand awareness campaign by trying to get new customers, spending fruitless amounts of advertising funds on distributing flyers and other irrelevant printed media.Here are some basics guidelines:

Get a professional Brand Development Consultant, Graphic Designer or Agency for creating your brand logo, image and all your advertising needs. It will show any potential client that your intent is to deliver the best possible service!

Try to capture the attention of your competitor’s customers: Create a content strategy. Once you’ve gained a solid understanding of your audience, you’ll need to create a strategy for reaching them.You can promote your brand in a way that reflects where you started, how you succeeded, and what you believe, along with your company’s values. Keep these aspects at the forefront of your campaign to give a clear picture of who you are as a company.

Strong social media content allows you to show your customers who your company is and what your brand represent. Share details about your company that make it clear what sets you apart from others in your industry and show potential customers why they should choose you over your competitors.

Identify new customers on Social media platforms and other networks. Send them an e-mail elaborating on your services or product on offer, monitor and be pro-active in:

Target those individuals that visited your site

Customers that have opened or respond to your email.

Always keep record and track of customers that have searched for your products.

Your Brand need to stay unique & inside the market you operating in and relevant to consumers at all time. The key is to always put emphasis on serving customers efficiently, politely and in line with your brand’s image, this will create and lead to a positive & credible recognition for your brand.