Basic Mistakes That Stifle Your Small Business Brand
Launching your own company and building a small business brand is a big ask for any owner. It takes years of hard work, dedication, and no little amount of luck. Even then, there's the challenge of maintaining your reputation in a digital-first world that thrives on change and disruption. There are several plates you have to keep spinning when it comes to branding. Visuals, values, slogans, service levels, marketing strategy, advertising choices, and much more factor into the overall view of your small business brand. Unfortunately, even if you keep most of those up in the air, just one poorly conceived idea or decision can throw even the best brand off course.No small business brand develops without some bumps in the road, but you want those to be minor potholes rather than major sinkholes that swallow your reputation. Focus on the elements above and learn from the mistakes others make. You'll find the ride a lot smoother and your customers will thank you for it by continuing to come back for more!
Basic Branding Mistakes Your Small Business Might Be Making
To avoid the kind of complaints and major rebranding efforts that come with a strategy that isn't quite right , it pays to take note of the following mistakes that many SMB brand managers make along the way.
Not Being Competitor OrientedIt's probably safe to say that most of your successful competitors are laser-focused on their customer base. They've found out what they want, how they can provide it, and what unique qualities they bring to the table when they do so. So what does that mean for building your small business brand? If you follow their lead, you will only end up with a pale imitation of what's already out there. You won't get ahead by emulating others. Quite the opposite, in fact. Developing a unique brand means being different and finding something that your competitors haven't yet tapped into. If you follow their lead, you will only end up with a pale imitation of what's already out there. You won't get ahead by emulating others. Quite the opposite, in fact. Developing a unique brand means being different and finding something that your competitors haven't yet tapped into.
Failing to Define Your FocusSuccessful small business brands have a clear focus on what they want to accomplish. You need to make sure that all of your actions are in line with your goals. You need to know which category you are competing in, how you stand out from your competitors, and then bring that to the front of your marketing campaigns. To truly be successful in a dynamic market, you must blend flexibility with a rigid commitment to the core brand values you have established. Campaigns should get creative, but not veer outside the key characteristics that define your brand. Make sure everything you put out there - online, in the real world, in customer interactions, and in service statements - is rooted in the fundamental qualities that brought customers to you in the first place. Read our advice on defining your unique value proposition here.
Not Taking Names and Numbers SeriouslyThe names of products, services, and the marketing tools you associate with them are a vital addition to any small business brand. In many ways they are just as important as your overall marketing strategy, because they will be on every package and promotion you use. You don't have to look far to find companies who have benefited enormously from a simple name change or a more memorable marketing hook. For example, Hansens's Natural Energy Pro really doesn't roll off your tongue, but when Hansen Natural Company changed it to Monster, it flew off the shelves. And in terms of recalling a brand via its marketing materials, it's clear that everyone remembers 1-800-PET-MEDS when they need a prescription refill. A small veterinary clinic would find it even harder to compete without a local vanity number that offers the same recall value. For example, Hansens's Natural Energy Pro really doesn't roll off your tongue, but when Hansen Natural Company changed it to Monster, it flew off the shelves. And in terms of recalling a brand via its marketing materials, it's clear that everyone remembers 1-800-PET-MEDS when they need a prescription refill. A small veterinary clinic would find it even harder to compete without a local vanity number that offers the same recall value. Make sure your name makes a statement, and give it the support of a memorable contact number and easy-to-find site URL. [search-tag]
Not Maximizing VisualsMany brands use a visual that communicates something about their brand. When you see the Geico's gecko or Aflac duck, you automatically think about the company behind that visual. That same mental hook is available to any small business that can think creatively and tie the brand values to some kind of character, image, or even a simple color palette. Before launching your product or service, choose a visual that will reinforce your marketing strategy. This might require a change of direction or a slight adjustment of your marketing materials, but it will be well worth it in the long run as you develop a familiar visual shorthand for your brand.
Expecting Too Much, Too Soon"Great haste makes great waste," Benjamin Franklin once suggested. While it's true that speed can be an asset in some areas of business, it's important to realize that brand building takes time, especially at the local level. Overnight success is an entrepreneur's dream, but hasty decisions can damage your brand. In today's digitally driven world, PR and word-of-mouth marketing is especially important in the early stages. Try to focus on advertising that attracts attention early on, then play to unique strengths as your brand becomes established. Small businesses must be prepared to invest time and effort into PR in the early stages, with little expectation of a major sales return right away. To get a small business brand up and running requires priming the pump and developing a reputation one customer - and one positive review - at a time. Enjoy the journey of putting your brand on the map, rather than rushing to get to a far off destination that might not initially be realistic.
Keep Things ConsistentAs promotional channels have adapted, new tools and techniques to build your brand seem to come out every week. While that's an exciting way to reach new eyes and ears, the danger for small business is that the brand gets stretched and begins to lose consistency along the way. Social profiles become outdated or abandoned, team members managing traditional media channels don't talk to those running new media campaigns, or any number of other break points that inevitably arise when limited resources are charged with new tasks. Your social media is now more important than ever, and with all of the different platforms available, your main focus should be slowly building a relationship with your target audience. Social media channels and internet are inexpensive tools that every entrepreneur should use.
Expanding Your BrandOnce your small business brand takes off, you're on easy street. Right? Probably not. Be cautious when it comes to expansion. As covered in the point above, unless your marketing budget is expanding as fast as your brand, it's easy for resources to quickly become stretched. This could be more damaging to your emerging brand than just allowing it to flourish on existing channels. When it comes to broadening your horizons, make sure that you already have a strong following in the places that matter and don't take necessary resources away. Stick with what works and then slowly integrate new promotions, products, or services. That way, you'll know what works and be able to course correct if you experience growing pains along the way.
So, What Are You Waiting For? Buy Vanity Phone Numbers Today
Boost your calls and sales with a memorable vanity phone number!
- Written by: Gordon on June 11, 2014Marketing is always changing. But at its core marketing is about one fundamental practice: using the marketing channels at your disposal to communicate a message efficientlyRead more
- Written by: Gordon on May 19, 2014Hungry for memorable marketing? Remember to manage your portions! It's fast approachingRead more
- Written by: Gordon on July 7, 2014Getting your small business noticed on a local level means not just putting yourself in as many places as possible, but also using the right search terms and categories to keep your listing top of the pile. Factors as small as street abbreviation and business sector can make a big difference, so it's important to consider how you want to be seen and keep that consistentRead more