Recent surveys show companies focused on building a brand, across all age groups and genders, are better at developing customer loyalty.
A survey conducted by The Social Habit, a company that conducts consumer research through social-media users, showed social media are positioned to increase their effects. More than half of Americans age 12 and older already follow a brand or brands online. Of those, nearly two-thirds feel more loyalty to a company or product they follow online than they feel toward companies and products they dont follow.
Smaller businesses appear to grasp the concepts of Facebook and other social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) faster than bigger ones do, but are not quite as quick to show off their brand. Digital branding can expand some small businesses voices, but properly using it takes patience and money.
A survey by Boises Balihoo, which provides local marketing automation technology, shows that national brands are not looking heavily at local markets, which leaves an opening for local business branding, Balihoo CEO Pete Gombert says.
If branding locally is the strongest point of impact, how can small business owners use it to their advantage?
Lets start with these points:
Define your company. Small-business owners must first dedicate time to defining the business and crafting the desired image to shape the ways consumers will come to know the business.
Identify your customer. Aside from looking inward at the company, a business owner needs to look outward and consider the clientele he or she wants to attract.
Consider the competition. Every business has competition, and competitors also have brands to maintain. A small-business owner needs to take the time to think about the competitions brand. Differentiation can include green company or young upstart.
Get a second opinion. After developing an initial idea for the companys brand positioning and personality, a business owner should share her thoughts with employees, managers and loyal customers to make sure the branding concepts are easy to understand and unique and can be delivered upon.
Use buzzwords. Using a tagline, website and strong advertising text will resonate with customers. Business owners can identify buzzwords by spending some time on the Internet searching for keywords and researching other company branding efforts to find out which words worked for them.
Consider the aesthetics. Developing a brand isnt just about words. Time needs to be spent on developing positive images to bring the brand language to life and help communicate the companys personality effectively. (Incidentally, the Internet makes it easier to use language, fonts, colors and images to reinforce a brand.)
Train employees. Effectively communicating a brand takes the efforts of the whole company, from the boardroom to the mailroom.
Emphasize the logo. A logo plays an extremely important role in expressing the companys positioning. The Nike swoosh, BBBs Torch and McDonalds golden arches are examples of how a logo can become a way to identify a company.
Be genuine and maintain consistency. The brand must be authentic. After undergoing a branding or rebranding effort, its easy to fall asleep at the wheel and not consider maintenance of the brand and brand compliance.
Robb Hicken, Chief storyteller for the Better Business Bureau serving the Snake River Region. firstname.lastname@example.org,947-2115