When it comes to large companies and corporations, spending millions of dollars every single year to extract the perfect image for their brand isn’t unheard of.
It’s what they do to stay relevant and come to mind whenever you see their logo, their colors, or another aspect they’ve decided helps define their brand.
As a smaller business, it’s nearly impossible for you to sink those same millions into defining your brand, but clearly showing up as a defined brand can’t be ignored.
You want to make sure that customers think of you whenever they have a problem that your products or services solve, which requires a careful approach to your branding and messaging.
If you get your branding right, and can create that memorable experience for your prospects, your business is going to be the first thing that comes to mind whenever they’re having a problem you can solve.
However, if you get it wrong, you’re going to be stuck in an endless sea of amateurs, left wondering why you are spinning your wheels, unable to get the traction in the market that you think your business should be gaining in.
To help you clearly define your brand and nail your messaging, below are 7 unique strategies you can implement to start creating lasting memories in your prospect’s minds.
There are thousands of graphic designers that can help you with your website, marketing, and messaging. However, very few of those designers actually understand branding, and what it means for small businesses.
Consistency is one of the most critical aspects when you’re building your brand, which makes working with multiple different designers nearly impossible to do.
If you’re going to devote the time, energy, and money towards developing your brand, you want to ensure that there is only one designer working on the project, and that they understand how graphic design affects your business, your messaging, your values, and extracting emotion from your prospects.
If you’re putting together your branding puzzle one piece at a time, and working with multiple different designers, you’re going to end up with inconsistent messaging.
By the time you’ve realized the errors that were made, you’re typically going to have to start completely over, pulling together each of the pieces again. By this time, you’ll have figured out why it’s so important to work with the same designer -- one that understands branding at it’s core.
Even though a good designer can replicate a design, picking up on your previous designer’s style is nearly impossible to do. There’s going to be certain cues that one designer can use and another designer completely miss the mark.
These inconsistencies have big effects on your branding. To make sure you’re getting the same feel every time, work with a single designer that knows branding for small businesses, inside and out.
You know that you need to clearly define your brand’s messaging. What you may not know, though, is how the font you choose affects that messaging. It can either help you portray the emotion you’re trying to portray, or it can create a massive conflict.
To give you an example, let’s assume you’re going for professional branding, and are only selling your products and services to other professionals.
In this instance, you aren’t necessarily going to want to use a font that conveys high energy. Something more along the lines of a Serif font, like the font that the New York Times uses in their logo would work better for your business.
On the same note, if you are a younger, more hip startup, you aren’t going to want to use a font that’s considered “stuffy” or outdated. These are the fonts that you’ll find in newsletters that are focused on pitching 50 to 60 year olds on new investing strategies.
Take a look at a bunch of different brands, and pay close attention to the fonts they’re using -- in their logo, in their text, and in their advertisements.
Figure out how each of these fonts makes you feel, and then choose a font that delivers the same feeling you’re trying to achieve with your own branding.
Just like most people overlook font choice, another often overlooked aspect of building the perfect branding and messaging is your color choice.
Certain colors convey certain emotions to your audience. Large corporations have devoted significant resources to running market tests and researching exactly what emotions the colors they have chosen extract from their audience.
You may not be able to afford to do the same research, but there are a few basics you can use when you’re trying to dial in the colors for your brand.
Below are 6 of the most common colors and the emotions they convey:-
Whenever people are searching for your business online, your goal should be for them to find you as easily as possible, right?
No matter where or how they’re searching for you, or what platform they are trying to find your business on, getting in touch with you should be easy.
That’s why you need to make sure you have claimed every profile possible, on every platform possible. Not only do you need to claim your profiles, but you need to keep them consistent from platform to platform.
Don’t just focus on the most commonly used platforms, either. Even though Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are highly trafficked sites, there are quite a few lesser-known sites that are worth your effort.
As customers are trying to find you, you don’t want them only finding your website. You want them finding you on every platform that they use, and for it to be easy to find you.
You also want to ensure that your messaging is, again, consistent across each platform. Use the same messaging that you’ve used for your website, in your advertisements, and on other social media platforms.
When you are thinking about your branding, don’t just think about the images that you’re going to use or the colors that will define your business.
Customers are going to want to get to know exactly who you are, what you stand for, why you’re in business, and how you are able to solve problems that they may be having.
If you haven’t already defined your critical mission statement, or know exactly why you are in business and what problems you intend to solve -- the factors that really help move your business forward -- you are probably leaving a lot of money on the table and missing out on potential new customers.
Getting specific about the messaging you want to deliver, exactly who your perfect customer is, and how you can use your branding to speak directly to them, will help you drive more customers into your business -- and make closing those deals even easier.
Your branding can be used to speak directly to your customers long before you get the chance to have an actual conversation with them.
That means you want to develop your tone and messaging early, and then stick with it the entire time you own your business.
While we’re talking about your mission statement, and the why behind the how in your business, you’re going to want to dial in on exactly who your target prospect is, and get inside of their mind.
Whenever you figure out what your customers are thinking, why they’ve chosen your business specifically, and the problems that they’re having, you can talk directly to them.
You can enter into the conversation they’re having with themselves, showing them that you understand them and their problems better than they do. This makes closing deals incredibly easy.
The messaging that you use on your website, your advertising copy, and how you are talking to your customers inside of whatever customer support channels you use will start to fall into place.
Whenever it does finally come together, you’re going to get insanely clear on your business, and will be able to create goals that are focused specifically on getting your products and services in front of your ideal customers.
As this begins to happen, your conversion rates are going to go through the roof. You’ll spend less time talking to customers, selling them on your products and services, and more time actually fulfilling those services and the delivery of those products.
Customers will see your advertisements and are already going to know that you understand them, getting them to click through to your website. They’ll be happy to give you an email address to stay in touch with them, and your email subscribers will look for your emails to arrive.
If you find that you’re having problems getting clear on your branding and messaging, and can’t come up with ideas for how to portray that messaging to your audience, take a step back.
Look at the idea from a 10,000ft view. Take a look at other brands and figure out what they’re doing, what emotions they’re trying to convey, and how they extract those emotions with their own branding.
More often than not, what you’re going to find is that they have devoted their effort toward minimizing their branding as much as possible. This helps them reach a large market, and appeal to numerous different types of people.
While you may not necessarily have to use the same approach to your own branding, and probably shouldn’t even try, you can use their branding as inspiration for your own.
Start looking at the foundation that they’ve built, and then compare it to your own foundation.
Tighten up your messaging, your target customer, and the branding you use to extract emotions from that specific type of person, and you’ll start seeing results that you can actually measure.
This is also going to help increase the value of your business, should you ever decide to make an exit and sell the business to an investor.
Something to keep in mind, though, is that the businesses you’re looking at during the research phase are probably multi-billion dollar corporations. Unless you have the same multi-million dollar marketing budget, you don’t want to try to compete with them.
As you’re just getting started selling your own products and services, you can’t devote the same energy and financial investment towards your messaging.
Even saying that, though, you do have a leg up on your competition because most small businesses provide far better customer service than large corporations do.
Whenever your own customers see that you have dialed in your branding, images, and messaging, they’re going to be more likely to take your business serious, too.
This is precisely why so many smaller, boutique companies have been making big waves in digital marketing, and have been able to compete with many large corporations selling the exact same products and services.
Mohit Tater is the founder and CEO of BlackBook Investments through which he helps people invest in online businesses and digital assets. Apart from advising clients on SEO and marketing he also blogs at mohittater.com.