Branding may be the business world?s hottest buzz word, but the truth is most any business is brandable.
?Absolutely, all businesses are brandable because a business simply isn’t a business if not branded,? Tamika Morrison founder of T.MORRISON AGENCY, a strategic branding and social media agency in Atlanta, points out.
James Harper, founder of GoEdison, a digital marketing firm that specializes in digital online branding, agrees. ?Contrary to what some people might think, I do believe all businesses are brandable. Every business has a purpose. Some might say, well what’s the purpose of selling smoothies? It’s to serve people refreshing drinks. So with purpose, whether intentional or not, comes a business message. This is where branding comes in. You have to get people to not just ?buy? your service or product, but to believe in it. You have to offer an experience,? he explains.
Okay, so every business is brandable. But how exactly do you brand a business? First, when starting a new business, don?t just think of it as a small business; envision it as a brand. ?We encourage all business owners to build a brand, not just a business. A brand offers something so much more. You can have a great product or service, which many companies offer, but very few companies (especially smaller businesses) have both a quality product service/and strong brand. Maintaining a brand takes a lot of work, consistency and strategy. But it’s well worth it in the long run,? Harper points out.
Of course, you want to examine your competitors in the space, but you don?t want to mimic them.
Decide the image of your brand. ?Decide who you are and what makes you different. Study other brands that offer the same or similar, and focus on your differences so that you can stand apart. But don’t force a difference. If you’re not that different but you truly are authentic, then that’s enough. Be authentic and start with that,? advises Morrison.
Your brand should connect with your potential customer–it should evoke emotion with them and, of course, fit a need. When trying to define your brand, think of it as a person. How would you describe your brand if it was a person?
You must have a branding plan in place. ?Create a brand strategy. What do you want your look to be like? What’s your tone of voice in your message? Do you use specific industry language? And last but not least, how do you create an experience and make people feel? Put together a simple brand road-map with action items that will touch all the points listed above,? says Harper.
Try your best to avoid the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when branding their venture. The biggest mistakes, says Morrison, are: they don’t research their competition; they take shortcuts that cost them more down the line; and they don’t understand how to build an authentic brand.?
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