A big part of selling is being top-of-mind with your potential customers. A person walks into the gas station to buy a soda and sees a row of Coke next to a row of Pepsi, what is the determining factor that makes her reach for the Coke? It is not the price as they are usually priced the same. It is not the taste because most people would fail a blind taste test. Here is a hint: It’s the brand.
Many small businesses don’t understand how powerful branding is. Some confuse their logo for their brand. Others conflate branding with advertising. Still others think branding is unnecessary.
What every business owner needs to understand is that branding is that which gets your business through hard times when all else has failed. When a person is faced with options that are more or less equal, branding is what makes them choose you versus the competition.
Knowing the power of branding is not enough. You have to know how to build and cultivate a good brand. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
Make Your Brand More Visible
To be top-of-mind, your brand has to be in the mind of your perspective customer. Don’t just set up a booth to display your goods. Set up a 10 x 10 popup canopy that will display your brand as well as your goods. You are not competing with Coke. So your brand does not have to be as big as Coke. It just has to be better than your competition’s brand.
The reason billboard advertising works has nothing to do with the text on the sign. Drivers are whizzing past at 80 mph. It is about making an impression that sticks just a little. When they pass that billboard everyday on their commute, those impressions make an indelible impression that causes them to choose to do business with the company that is now at the top of their mind.
Take Your Branding Online
You haven’t fully launched your new brand until you launch your new brand online. It is great that you have taken on some display advertising to strengthen your branding. But it is not enough if they don’t remember it when they are shopping and at the point of sale.
The search box represents shopping. The reason they are looking for a plumber in the middle of the night is because they have an emergency. You cannot expect them to remember you specifically during a time of crisis. So they search. When they search, they will find your competitors. If you are in that list, they will remember seeing your branding elsewhere and connect a sense of familiarity to their buying decision.
Keep Your Branding Consistent
Few things hurt your branding more than changing major elements of that brand. Don’t change your logo without a good reason. People will come to know you by your logo. Apple represents themselves only with a logo. If you have theme music, keep it the same so that it becomes an ear worm that is hard to remove.
You might have some sort of catch phrase such as, “You’re going to like the way you look,” or “Two scoops of raisins.” Don’t change them. If your brand is identified by a color, don’t change it. Changing your brand is like changing your name. You can do it. There is no law against it. But it tends to create confusion rather than confidence.
Branding done right becomes a part of the subconscious. Whenever a person glimpses your colors, or hears something like your jingle, or sees a shape reminiscent of your logo, they think of you whether or not they realize it. Changing those elements for no good reason is detrimental to your brand You have to start all over again.
Make a brand that is easy to remember and easy to search. And when you get it just right, make it visible, put it online, and don’t change it if at all possible.