Small businesses starting from scratch have a long road ahead of them when it comes to building a brand. Defining a mission, finding your voice and building trust all take time to develop, but luckily there are a few key steps new entrepreneurs can take to get there a little faster.
To help get you started, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members responded to the following question:
“For small businesses starting from scratch, what would you say is the key to successful brand building, and why?”
Here are their best tips.
1. Create a Strong, Unique Identity
“Many factors contribute to successful brand building for small businesses, but one of the most important is creating a strong and unique identity. Have a clear vision for your brand and ensure that all your marketing and communications reflect this. Create a strong emotional connection with your customers and craft a story that resonates with them and conveys important values for your business.” ~ Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz
2. Think Outside the Box
“As a small-business owner myself, I know that building a successful brand takes time and energy. Once you have clarity about who you want to serve, create a brand that is revolutionary, a brand that thinks outside the box, a brand that is creating “a better way” and solving the “gap” in the industry you are in. Creating something new as a small-business owner will set you apart from other ‘me too’ companies.” ~ Dr. Christine Manukyan, STORRIE Institute™
3. Focus on Consistency in Everything
“This applies to consistency in your brand identity (logo, name, etc.) and to building a reputation for your brand that consistently delivers on its promises. Consumers aren’t invested in a small business brand at first. It takes time, repetition and positive experiences for a small business to build a brand successfully, so be consistent and don’t give up.” ~ Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com
4. Create a Dialogue With Your Audience
“Take time for and spend money on market research to define your audience, and then speak to your audience. Create a dialogue with your audience and show that you understand their affinities. Communicate using channels they are using, whether through traditional advertising or social media marketing, so you become more than a brand — you become a trusted authority.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic
5. Focus on Quality Products and Services
“Focus on quality and the customers will be your brand ambassadors. If you can produce high-quality products or offer superior services, your customers will become your best brand ambassadors. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools available and it’s something you cannot buy. Offer the best possible experiences to clients and they’ll do the rest.” ~ Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.
6. Find Ways to Help the Community
“If you want to build your brand from scratch, find ways to show that you’re interested in helping the community. I suggest spending time on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn and staying in touch with influencers, prospects and industry experts. Look for opportunities to share advice, connect with potential customers and improve your brand reputation.” ~ John Turner, SeedProd LLC
7. Leverage Content Marketing
“A key tip is to focus on content marketing. This means creating high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience and sharing it across various channels. Doing this can increase brand awareness and build trust with your audience. It’s a long-term strategy, but it’s one that can pay off big time.” ~ Blair Williams, MemberPress
8. Find the Purpose Behind the Brand
“Finding the purpose behind your brand is the key to its success. Before you start a brand or launch a product, you need to ask yourself “why?” Why does it exist? What differentiates your business? What problem are you solving? Why should people care about it? People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Find the “why” of your brand early on so that you can market it better to the right people.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
9. Harness Positive Customer Reviews
“Getting positive reviews is the key to creating a successful brand. You don’t even have to be a well-known brand or have expensive advertising if you have good reviews. Not only do they boost your company ethos, but they also make your company easier to find online by helping with SEO. I try to make it easy for my customers to leave reviews and respond to each one.” ~ Shu Saito, All Filters
10. Emphasize Your USP and UVP
“I think the most important factor is one that was around long before the internet: your USP (unique selling proposition) or UVP (unique value proposition). You need to emphasize what makes you different or the main benefit you offer, such as the lowest price, best quality, fastest service or the ability to solve a problem your competitors can’t. All your branding actions follow from this primary benefit.” ~ Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
11. Offer Excellent Customer Service
“Trust is the most important factor that will help you build a strong brand. Small businesses should always focus on boosting trust and reliability for their users. One way of doing that is to offer excellent customer service. Your customers should be able to reach out to you easily and seamlessly and solve any problem with your products or services after purchasing from you.” ~ Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
12. Understand Customers’ Pain Points
“Have a deep understanding of the pain point you are solving. The pain point ultimately acts as the perfect guide for building one’s brand and larger business. When the messaging, products and offerings are attuned to the pain point one is solving, and the subtleties and nuances therein, one can build a brand that truly feels like the solution for those suffering from the pain point.” ~ Akshar Bonu, The Custom Movement
More in: Branding
Creating a strong brand identity is perhaps one of the most important aspects of brand building. Point 3 is also very true.