Logos, business cards, and brochures all probably come to mind when someone mentions “branding”. They’re the staples of the process, helping align your company’s look and unifying your message. To most small business owners, the exercise is expensive and isn’t an effective use of time and resources.
Your Branding Isn’t Part Of Your Short-Term Plan
Most people think of branding as a sort of “fresh face” project for their company. It’s the short-term step to introducing a company redirection or refocus. It’s an attempt to show the public that growth and change have occurred.
In those terms, however, branding is exactly what small business owners see it as – a waste. Branding should be a part of a larger, long-term strategy. It’s a core element in communicating the values of your company to the public, and its results are long-term and far reaching.
You Need To Understand Why Your Company Exists
Branding is the process of learning to communicate your company’s reason for existence – its mission statement. It’s the key component in making sure your clients can relate to you and get behind your cause. Branding, done right, transforms clients to evangelists.
If you’re going to brand your company for the best results, you need to have a mission statement. That is your core reason for doing business, and the foundation for branding your company. The message that your mission statement encompasses is the message your clients need to hear, know, and feel.
Branding Is The Bridge Between Your Company’s Mission And Your Clients’ Hearts
If you relegate your company’s branding to stationary and logo, you will fail. Period. There is no way to win clients long-term if they don’t know what you stand for. People back ideas, not products. They want to know that you’re in it for them, not just the money.
Effectively branding your company is the key to that connection. And it goes well beyond logos.
The way you talk about your products, services, and processes helps to communicate your mission. That unique angle to your industry sets you apart as not only a trusted brand, but an expert and influencer. That distinguishes you as the authority, and the company that people reference when they want to understand your industry.
Design a way of speaking that isn’t confusing, but sets you apart. Channel ideas like Target, calling their employees “team members”, or Disney’s “imagineers”. This choice in terminology should be easy to understand, offering your clients a unique insight in to your industry and an emotional connection to your company.
The best branded companies have a unique way of doing business. The steps they take to get the customer invested in the process stand apart from their industry. These processes create a transparent and predictable environment for your clients, which builds trust.
Develop a unique way to take your clients through the sales and service process. Consider using unique tactics to let them know they’re working with a company unlike the rest. Consider the “no tie policy” at Southern California’s Pinnacle Peak steakhouse, or Dick’s Last Resort, whose wait staff is intentionally rude.
An oft-overlooked piece of a company’s puzzle, the causes you support should reflect your beliefs. Every mission statement has a matching charity, cause, or ideal, either politically or socially, that your company should consider supporting. Charity is the proof that you really believe what you claim to.
Visceral Concepts is a proud supporter of the Internet Defense League and Small Business Saturdays. We believe these causes truly reflect our mission to help grow small businesses. Wendy’s is a proud sponsor of the Dave Thomas Foundation because their founder believed that his adoption in to a loving family is what created the foundation for Wendy’s. Consider what organization you support, and make that support public.
Branding Is Built On Conviction
To brand your company effectively is to start with a conviction of belief. If you don’t have a mission statement, start there. You will see a change in not only customer loyalty, but employee morale as well. It will make your business concrete, solidifying a future you otherwise might miss.