Many believe that a brand is a particular combination of logo, words, font, colors, offerings, personality, price, etc. However, for customers, a brand is a promise. It is a stated or unstated promise by an individual, company or an entity which is believed by the audience.
Think of any brand, and you will recall the promise that is associated with it. A brand acquires its value from its customers’ trust. Customers trust a product, service or an organization because they feel it’s authentic. Thus, a brand also symbolizes authenticity. In other words, brands have their genesis in the value delivered by a product or a company to the customers. It can’t be created and sustained for long by the mechanical constructs designed by advertising agencies or consultants without an authentic product or service.
Thus, you can create a brand for any business irrespective of its nature and size. Small businesses are usually driven by a founder who is deeply involved with the company and passionate about its offerings. Therefore, such companies are better placed to build a sustainable brand.
A common myth is that the brands are created by spending a lot of money on marketing, advertising and Public Relations and producing the products and services on a large scale. However, in reality, a brand is what your customers and employees think and feel about your business. For instance, think of a small neighborhood café that you love. It may not be a part or franchise of a big coffee chain. However, it is a brand for you and many others who stand up in long queues to get a table there. They may not be big or spend massively on ads, but they have a strong brand value.
Many companies just don’t think about brand building. They are too busy in operations management, creating products, or delivering services to think about building a brand. Although they become a successful business, they fail to create a premium brand.
Remember that building a brand is all about understanding ideas, emotions, and feelings of your customers. Thus, take some time out of your busy schedule and talk to a few customers. Know what they feel about your business. Listen to them carefully and find what they love and value the most about your business. Knowing the hits and misses from customers’ point of view will go a long way to build a sustainable brand.
It goes without saying that the clients’ experience plays a crucial role in building a trustworthy brand. Creating a great website, tweeting, and spending a lot on ads will not be helpful if customers don’t feel privileged when they experience the moment of truth. Thus, focus on providing a brilliant customer experience from the very first encounter that your customers have with you to the post-sales service.
Also, write down your brand values in 100-150 words and make sure that your employees know and understand them very well. After all, they are the ones who will execute your vision most of the times and make a real difference to the business. If they can do the job as good as you do, then your brand value will be amplified.
Don’t be too secretive. In the age of social media, things have become quite open. Tell your story to your social media followers and customers. Use Facebook Live to showcase behind-the-scene stories. Your customers should feel like insiders who know many things about your business and people.
Innovation is the key to building a unique brand. No matter what business you are in, you need to innovate in products, services, process, etc. to improve the quality of offerings or process efficiencies. The power of incremental innovation can put your business on the front line and can help you differentiate it from the competitors. It may also lead to the production of niche products or services that appeal to a new set of customers.
A brand is the heart and soul of any business. And a mindset is more important than advertising and PR to create a legacy of excellence and sustainable brand. Thus, start thinking differently and make a big brand by amplifying the impact of your small business.
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