Why branding is essential to small business success
Many of us want to focus on selling our services or products to consumers but we don’t even know how to brand or market our businesses. For instance, consumers prefer and trust professional modern looking websites, which are easy to find use yet a study highlighted 43% of small businesses have not re-designed their website or adapted their social media posts to accommodate the consumers needs. And many small businesses l meet, don't even have a website but prefer social media pages, which do not represent a credible business in the consumers eyes.
How can we expect to connect with people, let alone target audience if we aren’t representing ourselves as a professional, who is up to date and thinks about the target audience in everything you do as a business.
Let's put it into perspective
Imagine you walk into a networking event, skip the initial awkward entrance. You get talking to someone who comes over to say hello and the conversation kicks off as you nibble on the free snacks, well after all you did have a light lunch due to your busy schedule.
The individual starts talking about his or her new business work and his ‘boring’ 9 – 5 day job. The conversation isn’t really flowing, you can't help but let your mind wonder, 'this is similar to a bad date, I could be sitting at home watching Eastenders or Champions League match'. You try to make an effort, so the conversation flows as you’ve come out of your way for this networking event and you've heard networking is great for business. Although no luck he/she doesn’t seem to stop talking about their business, you can’t get a word in edgeways or talk facts but opinions; he/she talks about themselves and next he tries to sell you his new service, which he can see your not really interested as you try to avoid conversations about his business.
Luckily for you, someone else joins you and it's like watching him/her on replay but sadly you can't change the channel. As you observe quietly you notice, nearly everyone else seems the same, they aren’t presented well either, trainers, half untucked shirt, and unbrushed hair. The words that come out their mouth, you’ve heard it all before they seem to be regurgitating all the influencers in your field but without facts or knowledge and trying to make a sale without even getting to know you as a person. Then finally when you get a chance to ask questions, they don’t answer, you can't help but wonder if they're part-time politicians. It's as if they don’t know much about their field but say they say they are a so-called 'expert'. God save us all if that's an expert! Then they start talking to someone else, ignoring you as they have realised you may not be too interested and rudely avoid you in conversations.
As you naturally zone out switching off, you notice most are instantly gravitate towards one side of the room or what seems to be individual everyone seems to be naturally circling. He/she doesn’t seem to ever stand-alone, so you go over to see what the fuss it about. Is it a celebrity? No, it’s just an ordinary young lady in a suit; she’s presented well, modestly dressed, black trousers neatly ironed and not trying too hard. Even the ladies are engaged and you watch this individual communicate, move, compassionate as someone shares their difficult week, she tries to help with sympathetic advice in a compassionate tone and you can instantly see why people like him or her.
Unlike before they share eye contact with you when talking even when you're not talking as if you're instantly a part of their conversation. An authentic individual who seems to speak with facts, provoking chats and obviously has knowledge but also witty and sincere. She doesn’t ignore anyone and asks provoking questions as if she cares and genuinely engaged with everyone and see’s someone standing quietly observing, you! And asks you, so, Michael/Alison (as she discreetly looks at your badge), tell us about yourself and are you finding the same business challenges as the others. You’re enticed and it’s not because people like the look of this what seems to be the professional lady but she just has a way of making people feel valued and respected as if you’re your opinion matters.
As you leave for the day, you hear, a friendly voice 'Hi, Michael/Alison right? Thanks for sharing your challenges, I'm sorry to hear business isn't going great at the moment. Have you tried reviewing your website? I can show you if you have five minutes, don't worry I'm not trying to sell you anything? I wouldn't want you to have sleepless nights at your desk, I know how it feels, so l just want to help'.
You may not remember anything about the event in a few days but one thing you will remember is the way you felt when someone helped you overcome your problem after a challenging day at work. And as you need more help, you search for her business on Google for her branding and marketing services.
Each factor of the story can be associated with branding elements, for example, an individual's personality, character and presentation e.g. dress are key. Their attire acts as a website, business card, logo, branding. Their personality acts as social media engagement e.g. a tone of voice on their website or searches engine optimisation (SEO) text description. And once you connected with them you are left with how they made you feel, similar to Apple or BMW make you feel aspire to have their products.
Today most companies are similar to the selly gentleman, consumers try to avoid, the guy or girl who self-glorifies himself, the business that isn’t presented well and always trying to sell you something for their own financial gain. On the other hand, notice how you instantly wanted to be the likeable, knowledge and sincere individual people respect. Well by utilising branding and marketing yourself well, you can be seen as that amazing business.
The key to business success, presence is marketing yourself and your business like an honest, authentic, loyal and trustworthy person.
Branding your business is an art beyond the logo design, paying lip service and it should be seen as a defined character of your business, visuals to personality.
If your having the challenges in your business and having no luck with selly, so called 'experts' come and join me for coffee a chat.