Many startups think it’s okay to skip over the branding process. The idea that, “We’ll figure out who we are later,” has sent many a startups to their doom. Every company, product or service needs to develop a strong brand to hold up the weight of everything they do, just like every person needs a spine. Here are a few things that EVERY small business should know about branding.
1. Be consistent. – Most people understand the importance of being consistent in their brand image but it’s also important to be consistent with your brand message. People won’t remember your message if you don’t tell them repeatedly or if you don’t send it in a consistent way.
2. Keep your sales team on the same page. – Sales people are good at doing whatever it takes to make a sale, even if they have to embellish your message a little bit. The resulting problem is your customers having inconsistent expectations.
3. Don’t stop at your logo. – Your visual branding deserves a large chunk of your attention as well. Don’t settle with a great logo. Your colors and even the fonts you use should be the same on every touch point you have with your customers. Create branding guidelines to set precedence for anything that you create.
4. Your brand has values. – Your values matter to your customers. You need to be clear in what your brand values and what makes it different. You should always be able to explain who you are, what you do, and why it matters.
5. Don’t dilute yourself. - Be the best you, not the best everything. If you try to be competitive in every category you’ll water your brand down. Find your sweet spot and stick to it. If you want to be the most innovative brand in your category don’t try to also be the cheapest and the most reliable.
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