Many small business owners see their business in a certain way. They know what message they are trying to communicate to their customers. They know their product or service well and have researched their target market and competition to determine the most effective image to convey.
But customers do not always see the business the same way the owner does. And small business owners sometimes do not take advantage of the many opportunities available to establish and reinforce their brand.
Here are some ways you can strengthen your brand and position your business the way you intend to in the minds of your customers.
Use Free Promotional Items
You can keep your business’s image in front of your customers by providing them with free promotional items. This might include calendars, pens, mouse pads, mugs, magnets, etc. There is a huge variety of items available in a wide price range.
But do not just go and buy some stuff with your logo on it and start passing it out. Think about what types of items your particular customers would find interesting and useful. What types of items would they be likely to see or use on a regular basis? If you sell to different market segments, tailor the type of item to each segment.
Make It Real and Relevant
You can make your company and your brand more relevant to your customers by using videos of customer testimonials and publicizing customer success stories. Also, get the word out about you and your employees’ involvement in community events and local charities. This type of marketing can show a human touch associated with your brand.
Stick to Your Message
Once you have determined the message you are trying to get across, you need to be consistent with it throughout all your marketing efforts. Keep your tag line or slogan simple and impactful and use it regularly.
Think of all the different ways your business “touches” your customers and then be sure the same message is always there. Be sure your employees understand the message and can convey it effectively.
Develop a Community
Develop a community of customers who are enthusiastic about your brand. Share stories about your business and your customers. Have special events.
Show appreciation for your customers through give-aways and contests. Social media is an excellent way to develop a community of customers around your brand.
Keep Your Look Consistent
Always represent the name of your business with the same font and color scheme. Develop a logo that reinforces your message and then do not change it around. Use it consistently in your marketing efforts.
All of your marketing materials should have the same overall “look”. This includes not only signs and printed materials but also your website, emails, and social media.
You should constantly be looking for ways to reinforce your business’s image. You want to make it easy for your customers to recognize your brand and understand what it is intended to convey.
It is critical that you manage your customers’ perception of your business such that they are motivated to continue doing business with you.
Connie Edwards is a Business Consultant with the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at 912-651-3200.
Edwards, Connie (2011, November 30). Five tips to help strengthen your brand. Business in Savannah.