As a small business, your brand is your reputation. Tell the story you want to tell about yourself and your business through effective branding.
There’s no substitute for the right image. An image is much more than a logo, it’s something that tells a story that brings together all your products and services. Your image is what represents you and your business to the world.
It used to be that only corporate behemoths had to pay careful attention to brand presentation. In today’s market, however, even small businesses must dedicate time and energy to these questions. Making a great product or offering a reliable service will help you keep customers and potentially attract new ones, but making your brand stand out among the competition will help you get a foot in the door.
Project the right message online
Most people begin their search for products and services online nowadays, and your brand imaging and messaging should be designed with this fact in mind. Clean design and easy readability take priority. Professional images, whether photos or graphics, give your small business a professional gloss.
A carefully curated online presence is more important than flashy advertising or storefronts. Show clients that you are trustworthy and share their sensibilities. Assume that your first interaction with potential clients will be through the web, not over the phone or in person. The impression you give and lend to your business is important: consider your online presentation as an initial human-to-human connection. Here’s where storytelling comes in.
Tell your story
Storytelling creates narratives that stay in people’s heads and orient your products and services within a larger context. This is part of what brings in new customers and keeps them engaged. Brand storytelling informs your customers of how your company came to be – not with technical details, but with an emphasis on passion or a market gap that you felt only your business or someone with your expertise could fill.
In this way, a story can connect you directly with your customers. Such storytelling could come equally from customers who have been inspired by your brand. Highlight their stories as part of your own. Do mind that however you tell your story, it should be brief! Your customers are less interested in your life story than in the products and services you offer. What you need to focus on is how to present them in terms that relate to human experiences.
Inconsistency in brand messaging and imaging is the quickest way to unravel confidence in your business before it even starts. This applies to a consistency in logos. Choose a maximum of 3 presentations for your logo, and make sure that they are similar enough in imagery and style to be interchangeable representatives of your business. You’ll be using this imagery across a range of media – online, business cards, letterhead, van signwriting, uniforms, etc. Get it right to build recognisability and attach that image to the excellent reputation you build among clients and customers.
Colour schemes are also an important part of branding. Choose a set of colours and stick to them. They’ll come to represent your products and services just as much as your logo. This is especially important for van-based businesses. Your colours should be immediately recognizable as your own. A matching fleet and matching colour schemes across platforms represents not only visual consistency, but also a consistency of quality. It says to customers that you’ll receive the best product or service each time, every time.
You’ll also want to maintain consistency in messaging. Don’t try to tell a different story to capture every kind of customer. Tell a single, consistent story that brings them all in. Mixed messaging will pass over your clients like white noise. The goal is to engage their attention and maintain it. Customer loyalty and business success depend on it.
A personal touch
Your visual and textual storytelling got you this far. Now that the stage is set, you can engage clients individually. Nothing can replace a personal touch.
Once things are packaged correctly and the scene is created, you or your employees can seal the deal by reaching out personally to clients to address their specific needs and concerns. The branding lends this action professionalism and authority. A human connection is what turns branding and advertising into business.