March 26, 2015
Create branding strategies for small business marketing
By Maureen McCabe
Jessica Bruno from Advisor’s Edge magazine, which targets Canadian financial planners, interviewed me for an article Put a Fresh Face on Your Practice about a consultation I provided to an advisor who wanted to rebrand her business.
Branding for your small business marketing truly matters. A brand is your company’s identity and reputation, and an association people make with your business. It can also help create awareness, customer loyalty and lets your customers know what to expect from you.
Without proper planning, your new brand can actually disconnect you from the right clients. Here’s how to go about branding your new business, and what you should consider if you are looking to rebrand your existing company:
Reflect on the products or services your company offers. What can consumers expect from you? Identify who your customers are; you want to know their demographics, psychographics and lifestyles. Leverage open data from government sites, or consult with a marketing firm to develop a buyer persona.
2. Brainstorm a name
What impression do you want to make? It could be sophisticated and confident, or young and professional — there’s really no limit when it comes to developing a creative name. Remember, your brand needs to be personable so that your audience can relate to it. In my most recent challenge, I informed the advisor to use a name that tied their company to their industry. I also suggest that you keep the name short so it is easy for your potential customers to remember.
Before deciding on a name, check domain availability for your website address, as well as social media handles. You want your company’s name to be consistent across all communication channels. You may also want to purchase several domain names so your competitors can’t use them, and to capture prospective customers who may be typing in different keywords online for the products and services your business can offer — you want to make sure you are seen.
3. Create a logo
You can consult a marketing firm or graphic designers who can craft a selection of unique logos for you to select from. I recommended that the advisor pick an image that represented stability and permanence, as these characteristics tie in well with the nature of their business — financial services. The image, font and new name of the company should be consistent with the overall feel of your new brand as well. It may also be necessary to redesign your website to reflect your new brand, logo and colour scheme.
4. Use social media platforms to spread the word about your new brand
Social media profiles can be extremely effective in creating brand awareness. Ensure that your logo and company information is consistent across all profiles, and update them regularly with unique content. I advise companies to start by using Facebook (1 billion users) and Twitter (560 million active users). They are social sharing and microblogging platforms, respectively. LinkedIn is also another social network that companies (especially B2B) should leverage — it is a place for businesses to network with other small businesses, make connections and spread the word about your brand.
5. Get involved in the community
Choose a non-profit organization to volunteer with or to sit on their board. It’s important to be active in the community such as sponsoring sports teams or raising money for non-profit companies. Not only are you helping your community, you are spreading the word about your brand, as well as networking with potential clients. Include information about your community involvement on your website as part of your business’ mission statement.
Check out my other blogs about branding strategies and small business marketing in Toronto.
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