Your brand is how your business shows up in the world. It shapes how consumers perceive your business—it tells them who you are, what you’re about, and what they can expect from your product or service.
Branding should be at the heart of your company. It serves as a guide for your business, so no matter the situation or venue, the what and the why of your business comes through.
Figuring out how to brand your business can feel like a big challenge you need to figure out all at once, but that’s not the case. Branding your business is the culmination of lot of small things. Below are 5 seemingly small things you can do for your brand that will have a big impact:
1. Improve Your Website.
Your website is one of your biggest branding tools, and it should be designed intentionally to support your business goals.
It is not pleasant going to a website as a consumer and being overwhelmed. If a consumer does not understand how or what your business does, then you may want to rethink your website’s organization.
Start small by putting together a vision for your business. Ask yourself these questions:
1) What does your business offer to the community?
2) How does this differ from other businesses in your area of expertise?
3) What are your values as a business owner?
4) Who are your target consumers?
The answers to these questions can help organize your brand’s image and the goal of your website. Display this vision on your website in a clean way. Make it easily navigable, sleek, and simple. The home page should display the number one thing you want your consumers to know about your business and the benefits they would receive by choosing to work with you. This is a simple way to launch your brand in an organized direction.
2. Protect Your Brand.
You have worked hard to start your business and build your brand. Have you taken the necessary steps to protect your Trademark?
Protecting a Trademark is something that many people overlook at the beginning of creating a business. This simple and important step will protect your rights to your brand and prevent a messy rebranding situation down the road. I have seen clients get two years into their business and have to rebrand because they did not research or protect their name and/or logo. By taking the necessary steps now, you can ensure that will not happen to your business.
If you already have a business name and logo, you can skip to the next paragraph. If you’re just starting out, picking a name and logo for your business is an obvious first step. You should start by making a list of 10 potential names and then doing an internet search for existing businesses with that name, ruling out names already in use. This step should bring your name choices down to 2 or 3, which you can then give to your trademark attorney.
Now the important stuff. Give your business name and logo to your attorney and let them do a full trademark search. This is an important step. A full trademark search by an experienced trademark attorney is less expensive and less painful than receiving a demand letter from some other company claiming they own the name of your business.
A thorough search with your attorney and a registration before (or right after) you open your doors will put your business in a better position in the long haul. Not to mention, this intellectual property—your trademark—is now an asset of the company and will raise the value of your brand.
3. Appeal to the Right Market.
The power of social media is remarkable. One moment a kid is yodeling in Walmart, the next moment he is on Ellen. The same can be done for your business. It must be done right, however.
When engaging in marketing, your advertisements should match what you are trying to sell. If your main market demographic is my 80-year-old grandmother, techno music in the intro of your radio advertisement might not be the best idea to appeal to her.
The same can be said for Facebook posts or your Instagram feed. Color and content are important. Do research with color theory and match what you are selling with the right colors. If you’re lost on which colors to start with, start with neutrals and bright hues here and there.
There are many free and inexpensive ways to promote your business on the web, but when utilizing them you need to be smart and intentional with how your brand is being presented and who you are appealing to.
4. Don’t Put Your Company First.
This may be something that all business owners know, but not everyone practices: consumers come first.
An incredible customer service team is pivotal. This can be achieved by having an amazing return policy, writing a thank you note to a new customer or sending out a holiday card to your customers in December.
You should strive to have your customers associate your brand with words like “trustworthy” and “easy to work with.”
Small companies frequently say that it is too expensive to have the customer service of a Costco or Nordstrom. This is simply untrue.
As a small business, you have more control over your customer experience because you know your employees and you know your customers. You can react quickly to feedback—from both customers and employees—and adapt your strategies to continually improve customer satisfaction.
You can make lasting impressions with your customers through a simple act, and your brand can be associated with incredible customer service for very little expense.
5. Be Consistent.
This is the second most important item on this list—right behind protecting your trademark.
Consumers like to see consistency in your brand. Having a consistent brand strengthens customer loyalty and trust because it helps them know what they’re getting when they do business with you.
It’s worth mentioning again that your brand is how your business shows up in the world. It shapes how consumers perceive your business—it tells them who you are, what you’re about, and what they can expect from your product or service.
Have consistent messaging. Create a simple brand style guide and share it with your employees. Don’t have ten design logos. The last thing you want to do is confuse your customers by switching up the symbol they associate with your business. Stick with your main trademark. Put it on letterhead, email signatures, T-shirts, consumer gifts, or packaging. Make sure your consumers can see that your trademark is associated with your business. This will add value to your brand because it will promote consumer recognition.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good starting point when developing a strategy to brand your business. Over time, your brand, your business, and your consumers, will continue to reap the benefits of you taking these steps today.
If you are interested in protecting your brand, get in touch with Halverson Law, PLLC today for a free consultation. Halverson Law specializes in Business Law and provides expertise in Intellectual Property, Trademark, Marijuana Law, Mediation, and Personal Injury.
Alisha Myers is an intellectual property and trial attorney with a passion for helping small businesses start and flourish in their community.