What is branding?

Branding is the process of giving a meaning to specific company, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds. It is a strategy designed by companies to help people to quickly identify their products and organization, and give them a reason to choose their products over the competition’s, by clarifying what this particular brand is and is not.

Here are 6 steps to small business branding.

1. Know your customers by building personas

As a brand, you’re speaking to your potential customers who share your ideals, and who want or need your product or service. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you’ll have trouble reaching your audience. Creating a buyer persona brings those individuals to life and helps you figure out how to market to them.

A buyer persona is simply a description of the person you’re trying to reach. Give the persona a name. Write out the features of that person (“Lily has a master’s degree and likes buying herbal supplements”) to illustrate her and get to know her. Then, when you do your marketing, keep that “person” in mind and address your messaging to her specifically.

2. Define your brand by tone of voice

Review the product or service your business offers, find out the market shares and research the emotive and rational needs and concerns of your customers.

Every one of us is an individual whose character is made up of beliefs, values, and purposes that define who we are and who we connect with. Our personality determines how we behave in different situations, how we dress and what we say.

So when you’re building a brand it’s vital to have that understanding. Your brand character should promote your business, connect with your customer base and differentiate you in the market. In a tone of voice that your customers recognize.

3. Know your brand’s value

What does your brand believe in, what is its purpose? These things can help establish your emotive brand positioning and inform the brand’s value to your audience.

How can you find out the brand’s value or draw a brand’s value if you don’t have in mind. You can start with the things that are important to your company. For example, do you care about the community? If you do, let people know about the social contribution you make that align with this value, like supporting low-income family children back to school or volunteering to clean up your community.

4. Build brand for long-term customer relationships

Don’t dress up your offering and raise expectations that result in broken promises, create trust with honest branding – be clear who your company is and be true to the values that drive it every day.

5. Be unique and creative

What makes your business unique? What’s your story? What do you do that others in your industry do not do? Be creative when thinking about branding. The future of branding is fluid and engaging – respect your customers’intelligence by not giving everything away up front. Generate some intrigue and allow them to unearth more about your brand for themselves. This is the way to foster ambassadors who revel in telling other people what they have discovered.

6. Be consistent and inconsistent

It will help reinforce the business’ character and clarify its offering so customers are aware exactly what to expect from the product or service. However, Don’t repeat the same message in the same way over and over again. Instead, make your branding messages work together to build a coherent identity.