As a small independent creative business owner, it’s so important for you to understand how to brand your business and what effective branding can do for you and your company. No, it’s not just some fancy buzz word people throw around. Branding your business can help you increase your sales and make your marketing efforts more streamlined by connecting with your customers.
What is Business Branding Exactly?
So often branding your business is confused with making marketing materials, stationary, logos and business cards. While yes, all these things can help leverage your brand, this is not what branding actually means.
Branding = Storytelling.
Plain and Simple. Your small creative business brand is your story. Branding is the story behind your products, the story behind your mission and values, and the stories you tell to connect with potential customers and clients.
While the marketing materials you create will help you better share your story with the world, you must understand branding is not the same thing as a marketing package.
The Key Parts of an Effective Branding Strategy
Here are the must have crucial key elements of creating an effecting brand strategy for your small business.
- Your Brand Story – This is about your company history, how your products are made, stories which people can relate to, etc.
- Your Brand Position – What makes you unique from your competitors and the value you provide to potential customers – it’s the reason why someone would choose your business over someone else’s.
- Your Brand Personality – Are you quirky and playful? Elegant and sophisticated? Vintage and Rustic? Your Brand personality is important.
- Your Brand Image/Associations – This is where your logo, the colors you choose, and any other associations with your brand come in play.
- CONSISTENCY! This is extremely important – if you are not consistent, customers may all to quickly forget who you are or you will not stand out from other competition in your niche.
These key elements of business branding all work together in helping you become more effective in your marketing efforts. More streamlined marketing = more time to focus on product creation + increased sales.
How to Brand Your Business
Now that we understand the basic elements of what should be included in your business branding, let’s look at each of these in a little more depth and how to brand your business by creating a strategy.
Step 1: Know Yourself + Define Your Brand
This is an important step to take. Who are you? Who is your company? What are your values and beliefs? What is your company history? What is the story of how your company started and why it was created in the first place? It’s very important to define these things because it all begins to be part of your story. Think about the personality characteristics of your brand in this step – are you elegant and luxurious? Quirky? Whimsical? Use all of these words to build stories for your brand. Stories = captivated audiences.
Step 2: Know Your Market
Who’s interested in buying your products? What qualities are important to them? What are their values? All of these things are extremely important because you need to be able to relate to your target market audience. Your story has to be one that resonates with them.
Step 3: Develop Your Brand’s Position
Earlier we defined the position as your unique selling point – what makes you stand out from the crowd and why someone should purchase your product. It’s not enough to say “we’re a great quality product at a competitive price”…think about what moods and emotions people will associate with your brand.
Here are 3 effective examples on how to position your brand to stand out from your competitors:
- Your Benefits & Why They Should Buy: List one reason how your product serves a need or desire or benefits others.
- Make it About Them: Create a “You Statement” for your brand. A great example of this is the U.S. Army – “Be All That You Can Be”.
- How Your Company Does Business: Are you Eco-Friendly & Sustainable? Do you use special processing equipment? Do you do something else that no one else does? These are all great ways to use this type of brand position.
You do not need to use all of these types of brand positions – you just need to make sure you really choose one that aligns with your own values and the values of your audience.
Step 4: Choose the Appropriate Brand Symbols, Associations, Colors, Etc.
At this point, you are ready to start thinking about what’s going to be effective for your handmade business branding. All of the steps you did earlier are going to make it so much easier for you to come up with a logo concept, design your business cards, and build your website.
If you are not sure what kind of design or brand strategy you want at this point, it may be beneficial to work with a reputable and experienced graphic designer who can help you in formulating the face of your brand.
Note: You may want to have your graphic designer create two types of logos for your brand – basically one that can be used horizontally and one that can be used vertically. This way your brand can look good and be consistent no matter what shape/size/format it needs to be in.
Step 5: Create a Strong Consistent Brand Presence
Once all of your marketing materials are created, your logo is designed, your website is built, it’s important to create a strong consistent brand presence. For example, all of your Social Media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest should have similar profiles that match in color, logo, etc.
Step 6: Share Your Story + Build Relationships
Effective marketing today is more than just blasting out ads to people. You need to build relationships with your target audience, and the best way to build a relationship with someone is through story telling. Use stories as inspiration for what to write on your social media status updates and inspiration for future blog posts. All of this will help you connect your brand with others more effectively.
Understanding all of these things about business branding makes all the difference between successful brands and the ones which go unnoticed. When you follow these steps, your values, and connect with others through storytelling you are on a strong foundation for the path to success!
Have any questions about branding your business? Comments are always welcome below!