Make Your Brand Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace
Branding can make or break a business, whether it is a large corporation such as Apple or Coca Cola, a B2B company, or for that matter, a small online store. Developing a branding strategy that gives you a leg up over the competition can make all the difference, especially in a crowded marketplace, where there is little to set you apart from your competition.
It is branding that makes your product or service more than just a commodity. Branding decides whether a business survives or gets cast aside – not developing an effective branding strategy is one of the reasons for new startups to have a failure rate of 80%.
So what is branding and how can your small business develop a brand that works?
A brand is essentially a promise made by a business to its customers. Every business conveys a message through its branding strategy, about the quality and effectiveness of its products and services, and what differentiates its offerings from those of the competition. As a small business, your brand illustrates who are, how you want to be seen and how you are actually seen.
Developing a Brand Strategy that Works
Developing an effective branding strategy is all about deciding how you want to communicate, what you want to convey and to whom you wish to reach out. It is about delivering your message in a way that is guaranteed to influence people to take positive action and turn into paying customers or buyers. Advertising is a part of your branding strategy, as are the distribution channels through which you communicate your message.
Follow the tips given here to make your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace…
Tip #1: You Can’t Be All Things to All People
How do you see your business? Is it a young startup, still making its way, or an established business with a great track record? Do you sell expensive, high quality products? Or are your products cheap, affordable and offer great value for money? The point about branding is you cannot be everything to everyone. You should brand your business based on your target customers, on what they need and expect.
Tip #2: Invest in Search Engine Optimization
Getting your website on top of Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) can make all the difference to your business. If your website is languishing in the lower reaches of Google, it’s time to hire a reputable SEO company and invest big time in search engine optimization. Develop an effective SEO strategy based on your consultations with the SEO firm.
Tip #3: Use Social Media Marketing to Good Effect
Social media marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to build your brand and grow your business. You must have a presence across all the top social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. You should make good use of video marketing on YouTube. Develop a social media strategy to gain much better online visibility for your business.
Tip #4: Develop a Logo that Conveys a Great Message About Your Brand
Developing a great logo is arguably the most important part of branding. Your logo conveys a lot of things about your business. Once designed, it should be integrated in all promotional materials, packaging and used extensively on your website.
Tip #5: Invest in Online Reputation Management
It is very important to maintain a clean reputation online. Even if you have hundreds of great reviews, just a couple of bad reviews can cause potential customers to think twice about doing business with you. Hire an online reputation management company to protect your brand online. They usually find ways to get rid of the negative content in a legal and ethical manner.
We have discussed what branding means, why it is so important to develop an effective branding strategy and given a few easy and effective tips to differentiate your brand from the rest of the competition. Ultimately branding is all about making a statement about why you should be taken seriously as a business or a startup. You won’t get too many chances at this, so you better get your branding strategy right the first time.