Branding should not be confused with Marketing. Though the two are cohesive, as an entrepreneur, it is imperative that small businesses start to think as a larger corporation would for their longevity. MARKETING is putting the right product or service in front of the right customer at the right place and time, while you’re BRAND is a name, symbol, or design that identifies and separates a particular product or service from another. Your BRAND is also who you are. Your Brand is your promise to your customer! Your Brand is the ATTENTION GRABBER! Your Brand is the most important aspect of your business!
Many successful companies have placed a huge stamp in the branding aspect of business. Many of these companies use color, symbols, shapes, phrases and even misspelled words to grab the attention of their audience. What comes to mind when you think of branding? Now, how do you want your audience to remember you?
Here are a few tips that will definitely bring clarity and get you started on BRANDING YOUR BUSINESS:
1. What is your Brand and what does it stand for? Ensure Logo, Brand name, Slogan and Mission Statement are well thought out and there is a passion and drive behind the meaning of each. Create a story and meaning behind your brand. Make it Memorable!
2. Quality control. Whether a product or service, make sure the logistics are figured out and the product and/or service is OPTIMUM! Over deliver and under promise. Word of mouth will be your best marketing tool.
3. Know your market. Put the right message in front of the right audience. What group, gender, age, etc. will INITIALLY be your target? There is no such thing as over exposure. So, make sure your target market REMEMBERS YOU!
4. Emphasize a single marketing message. Communicate the value of your product or service to your customers. Equate what their needs and wants are to what your product or service can deliver. Your message should be distinct. How will your message make your customer feel?
Example #1: Jane Doe Salon is located in the quaint town of Greensboro. Our trusted team of experts is known for their glamorous creations.
Example #2: Looking for exceptional and speedy service? Contact Joe’s Barbershop today! Without a doubt we are number one with customer service.
5. Be reliable and consistent. Always deliver on your brand promise. Is there such a thing as over saturation in branding? Your logo should strategically be placed everywhere your target market will see it. This needs to be done in an organized, concentrated and consistent manner. Your potential clients should look forward to seeing or hearing your message daily. (***Note: Your message can be as simple as a picture of your logo or as large as a TV or radio commercial). Your image should be consistent. Think of well known, reputable brands. Now think of how consistent they are with the look and emotional feel of their product or service.
6. Have a distinct NICHE. Will it be unsurpassed customer service, product or service quality, creativity, convenience or something else appealing to your customers? Why would a potential customer use your product or service verses your competition down the street? Is your Niche easily noticed?
7. Establish legitimacy. Are your permits, licenses, certifications and etc. current and up-to-date? Have you established a positive reputation in your business or field? Are you a member of legitimate groups such as The Chamber of Commerce and in good standing with the Better Business Bureau?
8. Be unique. Stand out! Step outside the box with all aspects of branding. This can be done conservatively or BOLD. There are no limits. Remember, your visual brand must also speak for you. What will your brand say about your business even when your potential customers haven’t experienced your product or service?
9. Be the face and voice behind your business. When businesses are left to run themselves, the demise of the business will soon follow. It is imperative for your employees to know the brand and what it stands for: but it is just as important for your clients to buy into your brand too. Do your clients know you and what your company represents? Are your employees representing your BRAND by being your face and voice when you're not there? Is your mission statement cohesive with what your brand is currently representing?
10. Be recognizable/ memorable. What is your Trademark or Stamp that distinguishes your products/services from those of others? YOUR IMAGE MUST BE CONSISTANT! Your Logo is the foundation of your brand. A Graphic Designer/ Artist can bring all your ideas and inspirations to light with your guidance.
***Caution! NEVER ALLOW SOMEONE TO CREATE A LOGO FOR YOU WITHOUT KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT YOU STAND FOR OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU. YOU HAVE TO EAT, SLEEP AND BREATH YOUR BRAND. You are your BRAND so BRAND yourself and your business well!
Danielle VanRiel is an accomplished professional in the beauty industry. This blog will serve as a forum to share ideas, ask questions, and provide information to anyone and everyone in the beauty industry. Have a question? Let us know! She owns her own salon, Mirror Mirror, in Cambridge, Maryland, and finds great joy in helping other salon owners realize their dream of success through her newest endeavors, The Platinum Gallery, LLC and Ask Dani.