Branding your small business is about more than creating a logo. In fact, there are many Elements of a Brand that people tend to ignore and insist they will figure out…eventually. Trust me though, if you don’t get really clear on your mission and vision from the start, you’re not going to be able to convey that to your customers. And your customers want to know you and know what you stand for in order to be able to trust you. No Trust = No Purchases.
Don’t Skip the “Boring” Parts
Chances are, if you’re starting your own small business, you have a mission and vision in your head. If you’re lucky, you’re extremely passionate about why you started your business and created your products or chose to offer your services. You have big dreams of where you want to go.
However, if you had to stop and write out the answer for the question, “Where are you’re going with this?” you may be unclear on what exactly that looks like in reality. Take a step back and write down your mission and vision statements (check out this post for more on that). If you don’t start with a map of where you want to go, who knows where you will end up?
Craft a message about your small business that defines your values, who you are and who you plan to serve. Hint: The answer is not everyone and/or anyone!
Create Everything with Your Ideal Customer in Mind
When you create marketing materials like business cards or brochures, you want to appeal to your ideal client. When you’re posting on social media and when you’re creating videos, you want to be talking specifically to your ideal client. When you craft your message, you have to talk to that one specific person. Tell them what they need to hear to trust you. Tell them what’s in it for them if they do. How will your product or service solve their problem or enhance their life? Why should they choose your small business?
When you started the process of branding your small business, you really started when you came up with the original idea for your business whether it was a specific product, a whole line of products, or services. You shortly thereafter probably came up with a name.
Next you moved into creating your brand identity with a logo. Possibly, you picked out some colors as part of that process. And when you did all of those things, you might have done something that many tend to do. You thought about yourself. After all, it is your small business, your idea, your products, your services and so on.
Maybe you named your business based on your own name (Hello…Annmarie) or maybe it reflects something meaningful to you, like your kids initials and a special word. As you developed a logo, it was something that appealed to you. You chose colors that you liked and make you happy. Your mission and vision are all about what you plan to do. And you’ve crafted this incredible brand identity that encompasses all you are.
But, remember this: It is not about you. What is a small business without customers? I’ll tell you what it isn’t, and that’s sustainable. A business needs customers.
Aim for One or Expect None
Often when I’m working with a startup and I ask them who their ideal customer is, they tell me they don’t really have one, just anyone who will buy their product. Targeting Everybody = Connecting with Nobody.
Picture throwing darts at a dartboard. If you just blindly threw the darts without aim and intention, you would be lucky to get all your darts on the board. If you aimed at the bullseye, you might hit the target and catch some of the surrounding area as well. When you target everybody, you’ll catch nobody. When you get really specific and target one person, hopefully you’ll catch them and even snag some peripheral people as well.
You can’t just create all your brand elements with what you envisioned for your business and hope customers come. Your branding elements need to resonate with your ideal customer. You want to send a message that they support and believe in, too. They want you to tell them that without them, your business is not a business and you want to a cultivate authentic, mutually beneficial relationship with them.
Re-assess and Re-formulate, if necessary
If you have already branded your small business based on your personal tastes, all may not be lost. If you’re lucky, the logo and colors that appeal to you, may actually appeal to your ideal client. They may be a past version of yourself, or they may be your best friend. You could be appealing to a version of themselves they are striving to be.
If you find that you have created a brand that won’t resonate with that person that you ideally see buying your product, take the time to stop and re-assess. Learn everything you can about your customer and re-formulate your brand with elements that they relate to. It may sound disappointing if you have to go back to the drawing-board even though you’re just getting started, but taking the time to get your brand right will set you up for success in the long-run.
Next time you’ll remember that before you start anything new, you’ll need to start the process with your ideal customer in mind.
Do you have any branding specific questions I can answer for you? Leave them in the comments below!