Now that we’ve made your small business findable and gotten some customers to take action, it’s time to talk about branding. “Why branding?” you might ask, “If I’m providing value, why do I need gimmicks to get customers?”
The truth is, while we stand by our statement that value always comes first, it is truly rare that a business will be the sole provider of this value. Often (as a matter of fact, if your business idea is any good, always) there will be other businesses that offer the customer something very close to what you offer. Branding is how you differentiate yourself from the pack and make the customer choose you over your competitors.
It might help to think of branding as a sort of argument you’re building in the mind of the customer, to answer the question “Why us?” We discussed the power of rhetoric back in December, when we kicked it with our main man Aristotle. You might want to go back and reread that one, boys and girls, because good branding connects with the customer on all three levels – logical, emotional, and credible.
Which brings us to the crucial point:
To have a successful brand, you need to understand your customer’s needs and desires. Then, somehow, you must resonate with the customer on their level.
So, to get started in building (or rebuilding) your brand, do some brainstorming about what kinds of things your typical customer would find appealing, how you want to appear to the world, and what is appropriate for your field of business (Pickles the Clown probably shouldn’t sell complex financial instruments). Then, it’s only a matter of taking the brainstormed list and building up a cohesive brand, which you will then implement in every point of interaction between you and the customer.
Keep in mind that there is no “right” way to approach branding, even in a particular field – think of Allstate and their brand based on reliability vs. Geico and their brand based on savings and comedy. Both insurance companies are doing quite well, because they found a way to connect with their customers.
All this might begin to sound pretty calculating to you, but before you go all evil-mastermind on us, remember that all this analysis and development always happens behind the curtains. The customer only sees the finished product, that perfectly composed brand that gives your business the je ne sais quoi that makes customers find you irresistible. And don’t worry. As usual, for the next month, we will walk you through it.