Branding Traps that Small Business Owners Can Avoid
Many small business owners either consider branding an impossibly huge task that is too massive to undertake or, alternately, an insignificant one not worth the effort. The truth about branding lies somewhere in the middle. By following proven steps to branding and avoiding the pitfalls, it is possible to create a cohesive brand similar to that used with great success by large corporations. Here are the five most common myths about small business branding.
Branding costs a lot. Sure, you will have to make a financial investment in a professional logo and marketing, but beyond that, branding is as simple as playing up your business’s strengths and maintaining consistency. You can build customer recognition through social media ways and other free sources, making branding one business tool that is accessible to all.
You have to wait for word of mouth. Word of mouth marketing, when customers discuss your business or product with others, is the most powerful kind of marketing. However, don’t think that you need to sit on your hands and wait for customers to start talking. Build relationships with customers and offer incentives to talk about your company with others. You may feel a little uncomfortable asking (at first), but it is a practice that will pay off.
Marketing campaigns should reach as many people as possible. Many people think that their business needs constant and broad ad campaigns to build and maintain a customer base. This is a myth perpetuated by ad salespeople all over the nation, and it can be a scary misconception for new business owners with a small budget. In fact, targeted marketing is both cheaper and far more effective. Know your target audience and the type of marketing that appeals most to them. Anything that doesn’t reach this market or doesn’t pass their filters will be money wasted.
Your products speak for themselves. This is only a half-truth. Your products certainly will do a lot of marketing for you if they are high quality and worth the expense. However, if no one buys your product, this message will be silenced forever. Getting the word out about your products allows customers to try them for themselves and hear the message you are trying to send. Always let your products speak for themselves; first, give them an audience to hear what they have to say.
People like unattainable brands. Quite the opposite, actually. While there are a notable exceptions, the modern customers is drawn in by friendly employees, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing surroundings, and a product that is easy to use. Even the snobbiest upscale shops are turning more and more to offering great customer service because that is what the average customer wants. Whatever your brand, make sure you have a friendly outgoing staff willing to live it while they are on the clock.
By avoiding these five misconceptions, you can stay out of the traps that have ruined many small businesses. As you can see, branding can be very simple once you learn to avoid buying into mistruths and instead educating yourself about the power of your brand.