Branding is, unfortunately, dubbed as a high brow term that is done by humungous brands with deep pockets. That is, the rates for advertisements of various platforms, especially like super bowl cements this idea. But that is not the case. Branding is not just limited to big brands. It should be done by every business that would like to succeed in the marketplace. It doesn’t necessarily take much budget to do branding properly in this digital era. Read these branding tips for small business to help your business grow more!
It is widely considered that the first use of branding was done in animal husbandry. Cattle were let out to graze in the huge open fields and there was no way to identify cattle of one household from another. That means that the animals were branded using hot metal against their skin. Each household had a different symbol or name which help to make an easy distinction between the cattle from a different household.
It is roughly the same idea behind modern-day branding. To bring differentiation in the clutter of modern market place. The major difference with the farmers of yesteryear and a business owner today would be the slew of tools available at the disposal which is accessible to everyone and anyone. Branding activities are not limited to billion-dollar companies with multi-billion dollars to spend on promotional activities.
Two important terms have to be understood in relation to branding: brand image and brand identity.
Brand image is the perception in the mind of potential customers about the brand. The image is beyond the control of the business. This is not formed instantly. It grows over time and evolves with changing the landscape. The major contributors to the brand image are the interactions and experience with the brand for a particular customer.
The primary aim of branding is to form a strong, positive brand image in the minds of the customer. A str
Own a coffee shop? Looking for tips on how to brand your shop correctly? Check out “6 Coffee Shop Branding Tips” for more.
Brand identity refers to what is projected by the business. This collective term refers to the various things done by a business to separate themselves from the crowd. Brand identity is controlled by the business and plays a huge role in creating a strong brand image in the minds of the customer. Elements of brand identity are used to send a clear message to the mind of the customer.
There are multiple elements that will project the brand identity developed by the business. These include logo, tagline, brand colors, website, social media presence (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Posters, flyers, business cards, emails, newsletters, advertisements, are also other promotional materials. Same goes for physical stores, actual product, packaging, and associations with other brands.
The message given across the different avenues of brand identity has to be congruent and definitely should not contradict.
Also, check out this related post from us, “5 Brand Tips for Small Businesses“.
Branding Tips for Small Business
As we have established, it is critical for every business to brand themselves despite the size of the business. Branding is what will help a business rise above the uproar in the market. As small businesses do not have heavy marketing budgets, the highest Return-on-Investment should be the ethos while branding a small business. Some of the branding tips for small business are given below which can be assimilated to the acronym S.I.M.P.L.E.
Brand identity created by a business needs to be simple. This is true for both big and small businesses. The aim of brand identity is to create a strong brand image in the minds of the customer. The idea sent to the customer should not be too cumbersome. If it is not easy to comprehend, the mind will not take the idea and a brand image won’t be developed in the mind of the customer. Or worse, a negative brand image is developed in the mind of the customer. The level of simplicity will vary with the demographics of the target customer.
Integration of branding has to be a two-pronged approach. The same consistent message has to be integrated with all channels and the brand should be integrated with the mission of the business. This wholesome, cohesive approach will strengthen the brand as long as it has a positive message. After all, no one wants to have a negative association with their brand except maybe insurance companies.
Customers have an order of preference in their minds. They themselves are not consciously aware of that. But the first brand that pops up into the minds of the consumer is bought frequently. So the aim should be to be on the top of the consideration list for your target consumer. For that, your brand identity has to stick in the mind of the consumer. A simple, integrated and clear message will directly lead to memorable brand identity.
Also, repetitive viewing of your brand elements will help the brand to stick in the customers’ mind. Repetitive advertising is one option, but it is a costly affair. There are much simpler and effective techniques. In a coffee shop, a sleeve for a coffee cup taken out of the shop is desirable as the hot coffee will not burn the hands. If the sleeve had the logo, brand name and tagline of your coffee shop, the customer will see your brand for a much longer time than she was in your shop.
Check out “10 Things to Think About When Designing a Cafe Logo” to make sure you’re designing the correct kind of logo for your brand. This will help in the retention of your brand. Not just your customer, but others she interacts with will also see your brand and could potentially know and search about your brand. Similar custom design elements can be incorporated in almost all businesses, not just coffee shops.
Positioning refers to a particular idea that a brand has monopolized in the mind of the consumer. For example, Tesla has near-monopoly for the idea of electric cars in the minds of the consumer. Of course, Tesla is not the only electric car maker, but almost every consumer associate electric cars with Tesla. Similarly, your brand also needs to occupy a specific idea in the mind of the consumer. Brand identity, especially tagline, plays an important role in positioning.
The brand is the vehicle with which you communicate your message to your customers. Your brand has to play a central role in the message you send to your customer. In this digital age, online platforms are major carriers for information exchange. Your brand properties online should be delivering messages that are strongly founded on your brand identity.
Social media has also ushered in a new change where brands are not communicating in one direction— your customers can talk to you too! So businesses can rely on these avenues to understand the pain points of customers and adapt in accordance.
Customer satisfaction is a metric which determines whether your customers will return to your business. It is also a good indicator which will show whether your customer will recommend your services to others.
Customer satisfaction is hinged on the expectations set by the business. Customers hugely draw these expectations from your brand identity. In simple terms, when the brand does not deliver the expectations set, the customer will be dissatisfied. If the expectations set are too low, customers won’t be interested in your service. So a delicate balance has to be struck where you set high enough expectation to draw the customer and delivers more than the expectation. This will keep them coming back.
Even for small businesses, branding is that S.I.M.P.L.E. Share your own branding tips for small business in the comments below!
Also if you’re just starting out with your business venture, check out “How Much Does it Cost to Start a Coffee Shop” for all your start up needs. Already have a restaurant or shop you’re already slowly promoting, how about you check out “Invaluable Restaurant Cleaning Tips You Need to Know Now” for tips on how to keep your shop tidy. Don’t forget to brush up on “4 Types of Custom Coffee Sleeves” while you’re at it!
Brand My Cafe helps small & medium-sized businesses, cafes and foodservice brands grow their identity through custom coffee cups, coffee sleeves & more. Join our exclusive Facebook group Restaurant Brand Builders to brainstorm ideas with passionate other passionate owners!