It’s unfortunate that so many startups and small businesses spend so much time focusing on promotions and so little time on branding. Branding, in my mind, is the foundation of any solid marketing strategy. It’s what causes your customers to see your business in a certain light. Maria Ross, author of Branding Basics for Small Business, does an excellent job of breaking down branding and offering useful exercises that help small businesses apply it to their own needs.
Creating Your Branding Strategy
Ross offers questions readers can ask themselves to help determine their company’s competitive advantages and brand positioning, as well as examples of other small businesses who are successfully branding themselves.
She also discusses what she calls Branding Building Blocks: the components that you use for all marketing and branding efforts:
- Branding positioning statement
- Company descriptors
- Executive bios
- Press release boilerplate
- Elevator pitch
Not sure where to begin with these? Not to worry; Ross provides pointers and examples for each.
Why We Ignore Branding
I have a theory about why so few small businesses really pay attention to branding and instead focus on promotions. With promotions, we see near-instant results. If we hold a sale, we can see how many people it attracts to our stores, and how much we made in resulting purchases. There’s a definite ROI. But with branding, there’s no immediate connection. We can’t prove that because someone saw the logo we invested $2,000 in they bought from us. We can’t prove that after seeing our company mentioned five times online, someone became a customer.
We like to see results, and branding doesn’t always provide it. But that doesn’t make it any less important: because branding creates the visual, verbal, and emotional reactions that people have to our brand, it’s a necessity. It’s always running behind the scenes, even when we’re listing promotions.
If you haven’t taken the time to establish your company’s own branding strategy, I recommend reading Branding Basics and beginning to dig into how you want your company to be perceived.