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Ten tips for your branding strategy

BY Steven Fernandez 22 Oct, "12

Creating a successful branding strategy, is about brains more than it is about brawn. When it comes to building and nurturing a strong brand, having the right branding strategy is much more valuable than throwing money at a quick-fix solution.

For small businesses trying to raise awareness that they can then turn into success, it’s about taking the right steps more than it is about paying the large cheques.

Here are ten easy tips to get you kick-started in branding your small business…

1. Show & tell

You may have the cure to the common cold, but no one is going to know about it unless you tell them. Sharing your business is more than telling customers what the product or service is, it’s telling them why they should buy it. Why should they choose you? Why are you different or original? Why is your product better than the competition?

2. Keep it simple

Don’t over complicate things. The goal of your branding message is to share the benefits of your particular brand, so don’t lose peoples’ attention by making the message confusing. Break down your idea, remove filler information and get to the point. There’s no need to pump up your product with useless information. Let it speak for itself.

3. Speak your own language

What message you spread is one thing, how you spread it is another. Work out your voice and the way you speak. It doesn’t have to be unique; it just has to be you. Incorporate the style and formality of your voice into all your marketing channels so your audience understand what you’re saying.

4. Paint a picture

Your visual branding message is just as important as your written one. People connect with images, so come up with a visual identity that makes you instantly recognizable. Your visuals should conjure up a positive connection among fans and generate curiosity with new ones, so make sure your logos and colour schemes are connected to what you’re all about.

5. Stay uniform

Having put so much work into your message, do it justice. Keep your simple message, your voice and your visuals consistent across all your campaigns and marketing channels. Adjusting to new trends or feedback over time is natural, but large scale inconsistency creates confusion among customers and distracts from what you’re trying to say.

6. Dot your I’s and cross your T’s

Every interaction you have with a customer is an opportunity to reinforce your branding message. Incorporate your message and visuals into the smallest aspects of your communication, including social media, email signatures, business cards and voicemail.

7. Be social

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all the rest are sure to be a big part of how you engage with customers, so don’t be afraid to be social. Although it’s important to maintain consistency in your brand’s voice, don’t be too rigid with the way you communicate with fans. Allow those who operate your social media to lead discussions and add a personal touch that your audience can connect with.

8. Encourage and reward

Having managed to secure customers, reward their purchase behaviour. They have come to you, so remind them to come back. Whether you offer loyalty discounts, run competitions or have giveaways, encourage repeat purchasing. However, make sure not to overdo these as it can compromise the integrity of your brand.

9. Keep your finger on the pulse

Watch your customers closely and measure changes in your business as a result of the branding messages you’re putting out there. Observe sales figures, conduct surveys, listen to feedback and pay attention to online discussions to see what’s working and what isn’t.

10. Respond to change

If an aspect of your small business branding isn’t working, ditch it. The reason you watch customer responses is to use that information. If you notice your branding ideas are working, then push forward with them. If not then don’t waste any more time or resources on a dead end message. Too much change can be confusing, but adjustments to feedback are just common sense.

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