How to Develop a Brand Strategy For Your Small Business

As a business owner, you have put in many long hours making sure your business is successful. But if you want to keep it growing in the years ahead, you will need to develop a brand strategy that will keep your business and its products or services appealing to both new and existing customers. Contrary to what many may think, defining and managing your brand will allow you to project the image you desire, which is especially important in today’s age of social media. If you are preparing to develop a brand strategy for your business, follow these steps to turn your vision into reality.

Conduct Your Research

Like any successful project, developing a brand strategy for your small business begins with conducting plenty of research. This should focus especially on the types of customers you are targeting, and include learning more about what attracts them to brands similar to yours, what factors go into their purchasing decisions, and what current and potential customers may already associate with your brand.

When conducting your research, you can use a variety of methods. The simplest is to have customers who come into your brick and mortar business fill out a short and convenient survey, which could also be done online at your company’s website. Also, you should take advantage of your social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter to conduct online polls or allow customers to leave comments. In addition, don’t forget to do research on your competition. While you may not want to necessarily copy everything a successful competitor is doing, you can get new ideas for your own business and find out why certain things are popular with customers.

Define Your Brand

If there is one thing you don’t want your customers to experience along the way, it is brand confusion. To prevent this, always tie in your brand strategy with your company’s values, mission statement, and personality. Perhaps most of all, your brand ultimately needs to be able to convey a clear, concise tone and voice. If it doesn’t, customers will take a much closer look at your competitors.

Ultimately, you need to know what your brand will stand for, and who it is trying to reach. From brands that are positioned to be fun and exciting to those that convey a sense of elegance, making this easy for your customers to understand will keep your business moving in a positive direction.

Develop the Components of Your Brand

Once you have a good idea of who you are targeting and have been able to define your brand, your next step is to start developing its creative components, most notably your logo. Since the vast majority of people make purchasing decisions within only a few seconds, having a logo that is eye-catching, communicate your company culture and that is appealing to your target audience will do wonders for your business. After all, when you stop to think about it, the most successful businesses often have logos that are instantly recognizable. From the golden arches of McDonald’s to Coca-Cola’s unmistakable logo, your goal should be to make your logo just as well-known.

However, don’t make the mistake of many business owners and try to make your logo too complex. Instead, strive to make it one that is memorable, yet also simple and versatile, allowing it to capture the true essence of your business. If you are a very creative person, you may be able to design your own logo. If not, don’t hesitate to work with professionals who can incorporate your ideas into a logo for the ages.

Marketing 101

In many ways, developing your company’s brand strategy incorporates much of what you may have learned in Marketing 101. For example, are you in the midst of creating an entirely new brand, or simply trying to update an existing brand? Are you determined to reach a new target audience, or are you focused more on luring customers away from your main competitor? Whatever the case may be, making your goals laser-focused will go far in helping you develop your brand strategy.

After answering some of the previous questions, take the time to plan out your marketing campaign. Whether it’s television commercials or primarily a digital advertising campaign on social media, the style of advertising you select will dictate how successful your brand strategy is, if it has the emotional impact on customers you hope for, and whether or not is stays consistent in its tone and voice.

Analyze and Refine

Once you develop your company’s brand strategy, don’t assume your work is finished and it will stay the same forever. Instead, be prepared to do plenty of analyzing and refining as needed. Even when the best of brand strategies are created, changes of various types will always need to be made now and then. In today’s business world, online search results often give business owners a good idea of which direction their business is going. Therefore, use Google Analytics to your advantage. When you do, this will tell you if visitors to your website came from advertising campaigns or other sources.

Also, if your brand strategy is focused mostly on online efforts, make customer engagement a prime component of your plan. To do this, always respond quickly to any customer concerns, post consistently on social media, and keep your website’s content updated with fresh content for blogs.

While it takes plenty of time and effort to develop a brand strategy for your small business, the payoff can be tremendous if it proves to be a success. By putting these tips into practice, what may be a small business today may in the future become just as big, recognizable, and profitable as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, or any of the other businesses whose brands are well-known worldwide.