There are certain business concepts that are difficult to understand. Branding is one of these ideas. It is crucial to have a brand tailored specifically to your customers’ needs, but developing this brand can be easier said than done. While it is important to consult a branding professional when building your small business brand, you ultimately understand your business and your customers in a way that no outsider ever can. Here are five steps to building a solid, customer-focused brand that your market won’t be able to resist.
- Offer what they need, not what you want. If your brand is the best option for your consumers, it will be an easy sell. However, many small business owners develop a sort of tunnel vision, pushing something that is simply not needed by their customer base. It sounds counter-intuitive, and it is certainly counter-productive, but it is definitely a common business mistake. However, fulfilling a customer need does not mean selling basic commodities or changing your product line. Take for instance laundry detergent. Few people perceive detergent as a need. Clean clothes, on the other hand, are a necessity. Guess which one Tide is selling in their advertisements. You rarely see a picture of the detergent itself, but rather clean laundry and happy middle class families.
- Show them, don’t tell them. Humans are overwhelmingly visual animals. This can be seen in almost every sector of our existence—consider the difference in popularity between the Lord of the Rings films and the long, wordy novels that they are based upon. You need to make your brand as visual as possible, with logo design and other branded elements.
- Create a great customer experience. Your customers aren’t just buying a product or service, they are buying into your company and the experience that you provide. Every step of the buying process should be customer-focused and consistent with your brand. Take the time to figure out exactly what elements will set you apart from the competition in a positive way. Further, be sure your employees and consultants understand your vision so they can offer a uniformly perfect experience every time.
- Monitor your customer experience. As the old business saying goes, employees are more likely to do what you inspect than what you expect. Constantly monitor your website, your employees, and every aspect of your business to ensure that your customers are getting the positive experience that will keep them coming back.
- Plan for the future. What your customer needs today may not be what they need tomorrow. In addition, you will likely find that the future brings tighter and more similar competition, especially if your brand proves to be very successful. For these reasons and myriad others, no businessperson can afford to rest on their laurels. You must constantly keep in touch with your customer base and make changes to your business, your products, and your brand in accordance with changes in the market. This is the only way to ensure that your brand stays customer-focused and remains as relevant in the future as it is today.