10 Essential Brand Principles for Small Businesses
Your company’s brand will signal where your business positions itself in the industry (and the world) and how it’s unique from your competitors. In other words, it’s critical; fortunately, there are some easy-to-implement brand principles you can follow.
To make a name for itself, your company must establish an impactful brand, which essentially means you are making a promise to consumers. Therefore, how you strategize and create your brand is vital to developing your company’s identity.
The question is, how can you make your branding process effective? How can you create a unique business name, logo, and other design materials that reflect what your company offers while maintaining exceptional customer service?
The branding process can be overwhelming for new business owners. That’s why we have listed these ten brand principles to consider no matter what type of company you’re running. We try to apply these brand principles wherever possible, so take a look around and see how we’re doing.
1. Get a bird’s-eye view of branding.
Branding is all about people’s perception of your product or service, and it refers to deliberate actions you take to influence that perception. Remember this as you approach your branding process and navigate each decision.
Practically speaking, your brand will consist of your business name, logo, color palette, typography, slogan, and many other elements. Take our brand for example. We have a prominent logo with a meaningful slogan attached to it and our colors are noticeable throughout our entire website.
As you put these pieces together, keep the principles below in mind.
2. Lead with your core values.
Perhaps an essential component of any brand is the core value of the business. Technically, branding is a marketing exercise, but your brand must go much deeper than that. Impactful brands will reflect the authenticity and deeply ingrained values unique to your company.
What does your company stand for? What impact are you trying to make on the lives of your customers? These values you should be at the forefront of your business’s messaging, but more on messaging later.
3. Zero in on your target audience.
Before getting too deep into your branding process, you must know who your target audience is. This refers to the people you will be trying to convince to buy your product or service.
One of the best ways to reach your target market is to ask them questions and get their feedback about your company. For example, you can send out a survey to gauge how much they want or need your product or service. You can research where they live, their age, where they are most likely to search for your brand, and many other factors.
4. Be honest and authentic.
Without a loyal customer base, your brand will only go so far. And to attain loyalty, you must be honest and remain faithful to your promises. Being honest about the products or services you are offering will build long-term trust and loyalty.
Now more than ever, consumers are also after authenticity. You must believe in what you’re offering consumers, or no one else will. This means you must ensure your product or service solves problems and delivers on your promises so that you can be authentic in your promotions.
5. Focus on your customers.
As a company in this day and age, you must be able to adapt to technological advancements in an ever-evolving business landscape. And through it all, you must keep customers as your top priority. With every decision you make and modification you consider, ask yourself who, what, how, and why? After all, customers are who keeps your lights on.
Customer service is also now more critical than ever. The competition is cutthroat, and the only way to keep a leg up on your rivals is to provide exceptional customer service. Customers rule the day, and they have more options than ever before.
Keep your customers happy, and go out of your way to secure a loyal base. There may be times you lose money keeping a customer happy, but it pays off in the long term.
6. Know your purpose.
Without a purpose, you cannot build a brand with authenticity and trust. Write a purpose statement that describes why your company does what it does rather than what it does.
Having a clear purpose will help you succeed in every step of your branding process. Your purpose gives your company something to strive for each day and minimizes wasted time and efforts. If you’re doing something that doesn’t reflect on your purpose, cut the program and apply those efforts on something that supports your purpose.
7. Use clear, strong messaging.
Branding can be broken down to your messaging. And developing impactful messaging is an art and a science. Take time to create a formula of messaging components that allows you to deliver solid and consistent messages through all your media and materials.
But understand that your messaging should not be a script. You want to know your brand and message deeply enough to be able to improvise while still clearly communicating your story and promise. Your employees should have a working knowledge of your messaging so it becomes second nature.
8. Provide a quality product.
If your product is good enough, it will speak for itself, which can do wonders for your branding initiatives.
The first key is to ensure you are not selling a product or service that doesn’t work or solve a real problem. Your offering should deliver on your promise, and your team should be able to streamline and modify your offering to fit the needs of consumers.
Remember when we mentioned getting feedback from your customers via social media? Allow that feedback to flow into your product or service development. Your product should evolve to meet the continual and changing needs of your customers.
9. Keep it simple and relevant.
While branding is complex with many moving parts, it should appear very simple to consumers. Think of the simplicity in the brand principles of corporate giants like Nike, Apple, and Google.
You should have one central element that will allow consumers to identify your brand and purpose quickly. And that element must be relevant. By continuing to learn your customers’ biggest problems and deepest desires, you can position your business to create and maintain an impactful brand.
10. Keep it together.
Finally, make sure all of your channels remain cohesive. Many growing companies fail to prioritize consistency, which can harm the brand and, ultimately, the business itself.
The look, voice, and tone of your brand should remain consistent and recognizable on all platforms. One practical way to accomplish this is keeping uniformity and harmony among your logo, fonts, and colors.
Summing up our brand principles.
If you want to stake your position in the industry and convince consumers to choose your company, it’s critical to spend time and energy developing your brand. Consider the brand principles and tips above as you navigate the branding process, and keep looking for other ways to make your business instantly recognizable. And don’t forget to deliver on your promises!
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