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  • Writer's pictureBrian Fleming

Why your small business needs to be a brand

Updated: Jun 19, 2018

Balancing time and money is always a challenge, especially so for small businesses. But when it comes to branding building, the important thing to remember is that it’s not an additional expense, but rather an integral part of your business. Or at least it should be if you want to get an edge on your competition.

For instance, did you know that 66% of small business owners say that finding new customers is their top concern? What this means – besides that you’re not the only one with this problem – is that there’s a lot of competition out there all fighting for the same customers. So, it’s clear you’d better get an edge if you want to get ahead. And the single most powerful edge you can get is connecting emotionally with your customers.

That’s because 90% of all purchasing decisions are made subconsciously and emotionally.

That’s right, logic doesn’t play a part. That amazing product innovation you’ve come up with? That specialized service and killer offer? That’s not why people choose you.

They choose you because of the feeling your brand evokes. You know, the feeling when you’re happy to buy a product and are satisfied with the price, results and experience. That’s what you need your customers to feel if you want to stay relevant over the long term.

This means it’s essential for you to create a brand experience that evokes positive emotions.

Marketing challenges

You might be saying to yourself right about now, “Ok, I know I need branding and marketing. But it’s not worth the cost. I can take care of it myself.” And you’re right, of course you can do it yourself. In fact, 75% of small business owners do their own marketing. The question is, are they successful at it?

Given that 75% of small business owners also report facing marketing challenges, and that 50% of small business owners say that they have no idea if they’re marketing effectively, the answer is, probably not. But that’s if they even do any online marketing at all, since only 25% of small businesses even invest in online marketing?

25%! That’s a HUGE missed opportunity and a great chance to for any small business that commits itself to a systematic branding and marketing strategy to grab the lion’s share of customers and outpace those business that are struggling.

Your brand is your story

Still, you may be thinking, “Sure, fine and good, but this won’t work for my business. We’re a boring company in a boring niche. It really isn’t for us.”

Well, that’s the whole point of branding. After you’ve built your brand, you won’t be boring anymore. Instead, you’ll be a brand with a genuine story to tell that will connect you to your customers.

As one study showed, 63% of participants who listened to a series of 1-minute pitches remembered the one pitch that included a story. This compared to only 5% of participants who could remember a single statistic from the whole series of pitches.

That’s the power of storytelling. It’s also why I’m not expecting you to remember any of these statistics. What I do hope you remember is that if you really think brand building isn’t for you, you’re missing out on the 66% of consumers who cite shared values as the main reason they choose a brand.

Think about that – shared values. Put another way, people look for businesses they connect with, that understand them and identify with them. But for consumers to even know – let alone identify with – your company’s values, your company needs two things:

  • One, a clear, consistent, well-defined brand that lives and breathes its values in a way consumers immediately recognize.

  • And two, a systematic branding and marketing strategy that brings customers face to face with those shared values.

Remember, a whopping 91% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from an authentic brand than one they view as inauthentic. That’s an enormous chunk of customers you could be missing out on!

It’s all about trust

But being authentic isn’t as simple as throwing a company name, logo and tagline onto a website.

For customers to trust you, you need to express your values in a way that’s focused, meaningful and absolutely true to yourself. Anything less and your potential customers will ignore you and join the 88% of consumers who are less likely to return to a business after a bad experience.

What all this means is that you have one chance and only one chance to get your online interaction with potential customers right. After that, you’ve lost them and they’ll go somewhere else, leaving you spinning your wheels. This is why creating a brand strategy is essential.

In the next posy, we’ll talk about what a brand strategy is and how to create one.

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