How to Create a Brand that Stands Out: Tips for Small Businesses

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Many of the highest level marketers in the biggest companies have not had to build a brand from scratch. Often they inherit something and then they optimize it for growth. As a small business owner, you may be tasked with getting the business off the ground, managing people and finances, while also creating a brand that can stand out from the competition. But, you didn’t go into business to be a world class marketer, so it might be safe to say that you haven’t worried about your “brand”…yet. So how do you create one that will stand out against your competition?

Let’s start with the basics:

What is a small business brand?

A brand is the identity of a company or product. It’s what people think of when they see or hear your company name. Creating a strong brand means having a clear understanding of who you are as a company, what you stand for, and what message you want to communicate to your target audience.

This does not have to mean fancy graphics or marketing campaigns that drain your wallet. A brand is built over time through small, consistent actions that reinforce your message and build trust with potential customers.

Why is branding important for a small business?

When your potential customers need to solve a problem, do they think of your business? When someone mentions your business or your industry, what do people think of?

The first thing a strong brand can accomplish is recognition. When customers are familiar and confident in your business, you’re building a strong brand. In addition to recognition, a strong brand also promotes trust in your business. When every home in the neighborhood uses the same company to service their HVAC units, that company has created a trusted brand in the community.

Two more key payoffs in building a strong brand: Differentiation and emotional connection.

If people think of your company as different or superior to your competition in certain areas, that’s a significant branding win. And the holy grail: if you can connect with your audience at an emotional level—they associate your business with their core values—then you have built the ultimate brand.

YOU are a big part of your small business brand

As the small business owner, you are the face of the company and play a big role in shaping the brand. As the owner of the business, you have a story to tell.

Customers want to know who they are buying from and what your company stands for. They want to know the journey that you took to get where you are today. Again, when customers connect with your story, they are more likely to become lifelong fans of your brand. By sharing your story, you are inspiring not only your team members to be more passionate about the work they do, but also the community around your business.

What is your brand message?

As you start to think of your business journey, you will naturally start to have a brand message in your head. As ideas, thoughts, and memories come to you, it’s important to get it in writing. However, getting it out to the masses is another hill to climb.

Start small by ensuring that your website and social media platforms are up-to-date and consistent with the message you want to communicate. If you don’t have a website or social media platforms, now is the time to create them (start small and simple!). These digital channels provide an easy way for customers and potential customers to learn about your small business and what you have to offer. Your social media platforms should also be used to share this same type of information with your audience.

As you start to build out your small business brand, be aware of the competition around you. Differentiation is key when creating a small business brand. You need to find a way to make your company stand out from the noise. Take some time to understand what your competitors are doing, and then find a way to do things differently. Whether it’s through your branding, marketing, or even the products and services you offer, find a way to make your small business unique. That uniqueness is your brand!

Don’t forget your visual brand

Once you have the basics of your message, the next item is how to visually bring that message to life. Do you have a logo? Do you have colors that will bring your story to life? How will people see and interact with your brand? These are all important questions to consider as you start to build out the look and feel of your small business brand. There are many marketing agencies and freelancers that can help bring this brand to life for your small business.

Creating a brand for your small business can be a daunting task, but it’s important to start somewhere. Use these tips as a starting point to begin building a strong small business brand that will help you stand out from the competition.

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