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More and more small businesses are making their way onto the scene than ever before. 1.1 million may seem like a startling number for those who live in our home state of Georgia, but this doesn’t even take into consideration the ever-growing national and worldwide profiles of companies that are in direct competition with your livelihood online. This begs the question, “How can you make your business stand out in such a large competitive landscape?” We’re answering this question with a few essential elements for branding your business.
When we say brand it all, we mean everything. Start with identifying your unique value proposition. Next, create all the visual elements that best represent those unique elements of your brand. And the branding doesn’t stop there. Fine-tune details of your messaging, including your mission, values, and vision. Keeping your brand tight ensures no matter where your consumer encounters your product, they instantly know that it’s yours without even reading your brand name.
It’s crucial to keep your brand consistent to maintain its integrity and build loyalty no matter where it lives. Work hard to create a brand that gives your customer a unique experience and makes them feel special. This can be done even at a customer service level. Many businesses differentiate themselves based on superior over-the-top treatment for their customers. Think creatively about all these things when brainstorming your branding and all the elements it touches within your business.
Once you’ve successfully defined your brand, it’s time to think about your target audience. Who specifically do you want to reach with your products or services? Appealing to everyone can mean fierce, costly competition. So, think about the people who could most benefit from what you have to offer. Give them a name, think about where they shop, demographics, and annual household income. Get into the weeds when creating your audience profiles. This exercise creates guardrails for future marketing efforts while keeping you and your team focused on what matters most.
While it’s tempting to hold these brand elements close to the vest, it’s best to hire experts who can take your mission and make it shine online with a unique logo, website, and slogan (Hey, we know someone who would be a great fit!). In our business, we often see entrepreneurs who overthink their branding. Understandably, they want it to be perfection. However, sometimes all you need is someone to provide a simple solution that wraps everything into a nice little bow. We revel in those lightbulb moments!
In short, when it comes to your brand, don’t be tempted to throw something together real quick. Seriously consider paying a professional to take your idea to the next level to set you up for success from the start.
Conducting a competitive analysis is something we ALWAYS recommend. You’ve got to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and most of all – you’ve got to see how you can be different. Explore where your strengths lie in relation to all your competition. We’d almost argue that this exercise should be done before creating the foundation for your brand. Knowledge is power, and knowing your competition like the back of your hand will be critical to your brand’s success.
Not only should you conduct a competitive analysis, but you should always keep a close eye on your competition over time. You can do this easily by setting up Google Alerts. It’s a wonderful tool to alert you when your competition has done something new in your industry.
At the end of the day, your brand should reverberate throughout the inner workings of your business and flow through the outer workings highlighting your uniqueness. Hence, marketing and design are critical. By prioritizing these key brand elements, you’ll be able to gain a leg up on the vast competition.
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Anna is an author and writer who is passionate about the art of storytelling. She enjoys connecting with small businesses in her community while taking their marketing efforts to the next level of growth.