Why you need to make Friends with your Branding!
As a small business owner, you may think you don’t need branding for your business identity – after all, you deal with your customers face to face and your values, passions, skills and reputation shine through!
Well, whether you know it or not, if you are running a business you have a brand already and learning how to manage that brand well will make a huge difference to your success as you begin to grow.
We tend to be very familiar with huge corporate and retail brands such as Amazon, Heinz and Sainsbury’s and forget that when they started out no one knew who they were, what their business did or why it would be a good idea to check them out. They had to start small and follow the basic rules of building a brand the same as the rest of us!
Small business owners often get scared by words like branding because they don’t really understand the marketing and design jargon, but here’s a take on it that will make the whole process really simple…
How Branding Works
When you meet new people you memorise faces and make associations based on your feelings about that person – did they come over as friendly? Interesting? Knowledgeable? Did they seem to be interested in you and what you were doing? Did you like their personality?
Just as in day to day life, the key to building your business is to build a relationship with your potential customers. Just like recognising friends and associates faces when we see them, your logo and branding becomes the ‘face’ of your business.
It’s tempting to think that as a sole trader or small business owner you are the face of your business, but you cannot always be there so you need strong branding to ‘stand in’ for you when you are not – for instance, on a poster, your website or in an on-line advert.
You will also notice that I have chosen the word ‘Brand’ not ‘Logo’ and this is deliberate.
Your logo is simply a visual symbol representing your company, and just like a stranger’s face, it is meaningless until you associate it with other people, values and attributes.
Quite simply, managing these associations is the essence of good branding.
Let’s talk reputation
Do you ever find yourself being influenced by a person’s good (or bad) reputation before you have even met them?
What if they have been introduced to you as a good person by a friend you trust?
What if a friend warned you against them?
What if you have seen some of their work before and seen how it has helped other people like you?
Let’s talk image
First impressions count, and just as we make assumptions about people based on how they appear, it makes sense to ‘dress’ your business appropriately for your trade.
You would think it strange if a plumber arrived to a call out in a suit and tie, a restaurant chef cooking in jeans and an old T-shirt would be frowned upon and a management accountant in a hand knitted rainbow jumper might not be taken seriously either! This does not mean they are not all excellent at their jobs, but first impressions do count!
Fear not…there are certain psychological and sociological design tricks that will help to position your company in exactly the right niche to be attractive your particular target market.
Let’s talk building lasting relationships.
What are the qualities you value in a friend?
Trustworthiness? A sense of humour? An approachable friendly personality?
Do you value their expertise? Their thoroughness? Their creative side?
Do you like that they are always available when you need them, but never too pushy?
These qualities are all things your customers value too!
I hope that you can see how thinking of your brand as a person really helps to focus you on what is important about how your business is perceived by others – and suddenly it’s not scary any more!
www.beyourowngraphicdesigner.co.uk has lots of advice on this and other aspects of graphic design and on and off line marketing to help you build branding that works hard for you when you can’t be there in person, and says all the right things to your target market in your absence.
Hope you can join me again,