Building your brand

As soon as you start your business, you should be thinking about the brand you are trying to get across to customers. The aim of your brand is to distinguish your product or service from the competition.

Communication with your staff is essential. As a small business, you have the advantage of being close to your staff and you need to ensure that they know what message you are trying to get across and how they can help with this.

Make sure you regularly involve your staff in all brand-making decisions.

Think carefully about the message you want to get across. A message should reveal the following: the long-term reputation you want to build, such as a business known for reliability, or good service or speed of service.

Look at what your company is working towards and think about how you can project this to the outside world.

Make sure your brand is focused on your customers – remember that a strong brand can go a long way towards winning and retaining customers – your brand should be telling your customers that your products and services are giving them benefits that they wouldn’t get elsewhere.

Work out what is valuable or different about your product. To help, think about areas such as price, speed of delivery, customer care and efficiency.

Your customers can help to define your brand. Look at your existing customer base and think about who potential customers might be.

Think about why they are purchasing your product rather than the competition’s. Consider what it is about your product or service that appeals to them, and are there ways you can improve your offering?

The more you know about your customers, the more you can anticipate their needs and provide products or services that will work.

Consistency is also vital. A number of different operations, such as sales promotions, advertising and the type of packaging you might use all contribute to brand-building – and they must all be seen to work together.

Building a brand is also about commitment, which you can prove through the launch of new products and services.

Above all, be patient – your brand is just as likely to evolve and change as your business grows. Whatever you do, resist the urge to chop and change as this will weaken the strength of your brand.

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