Can Customers Identify Your Business?

11 01 2010

Ask a large company what “branding” is and they can answer you completely and tell you how their company accomplishes it. Ask a small business owner about “branding” and they may think it has something to do with an iron, a fire and backside of cattle. This doesn’t mean that the small business owner is ignorant; it means that they just might not understand what you are talking about.

Branding for the small business can be a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to beating the competition. Branding promotes recognition of your product, service or store and gives an easy association for your customers to your business. Branding can consist of your logo, advertising, slogan, painting or sign on company vehicles and any marketing materials you may have.

It is imperative for a small business to determine a message that conveys something about their product or service and provides a sense of confidence. In this market, customers are not impressed that you offer a service, they want to feel confident that your business is the best choice and offers the highest value.

1) Get a logo: No matter how silly it may seem, your business needs a logo. A logo gives customers a visual indication of what your business does and will allow them to mentally associate your business with that image. When a customer sees that image, whether on a vehicle, in an ad, or on your business card, they will associate it with your business and with you. That type of recognition directly relates to business.

2) Get a slogan: Don’t try to get too fancy, too cute and certainly not too long winded. Keep it short and sweet, try to convey value to the customer, and avoid superlatives that will cause your customers ultimately to doubt your sincerity. Need a slogan and don’t know where to start? Post a note in the comments of this section for our feedback, ask on a social networking site, ask your friends and families, ask your employees, or ask your existing customers. A slogan will help with recognition and garner you more business.

3) Make your marketing materials match: You should choose a general set of complimentary colors that you will use in themes throughout your business. For example, a lawn care service would likely choose green as one of its main colors. Use your logo throughout your marketing materials and on your business cards. Imagine, if you took a brochure, an ad, and a business card each from 5 different companies and tossed them on a table, you should be able to pair them up to represent each company because of branding. It’s the similar look and feel that allow you to match up the corresponding marketing materials. If you tossed your marketing materials out, could you match them up?

Take five minutes today and toss all of your marketing materials on the table. Do you see a common theme? Does it convey the impression you want to give? Be honest, does it seem amateur or silly? If it isn’t what you’re looking for, start over. Use a budget-minded contest through Prova to get more in line with your business and the image you want to convey.

Branding is a key force in making a lasting impression with your customers and will make you stand out among the competition. I’m serious, toss your stuff on the table. Go ahead!

For any questions about business branding, send me an email at jeannie@prova.fm or post here in the Comments section. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it.

– Jeannie Nash
Marketing Strategist
jeannie@prova.fm

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