How Does Your Business Make Money? What Role Does Branding Play In That?
Small business is hard work. It takes grit, spirit, and tons of time doing things that you never thought you’d end up doing—like having to apply for licenses instead of going to sleep because 2 am is the only time you have to do that kind of stuff.
Unfortunately, too many small businesses make the detrimental mistake of seeing themselves as just a business, rather than as a brand. What’s the difference? A brand is who you are. If your brand isn’t strong and it isn’t defined, branding ends up being lumped in with marketing. And what do small businesses tend to shed first when trimming down during hard times? Marketing.
Branding plays a crucial role in your ability to create sustainable revenue, and it’s something that cannot be set on the backburner of small business ownership.
So you want your small business to start making real money? Start with branding.
How Branding Will Pull In More Money For Your Small Business
1. Branding Creates Trust
Think of a company that you really trust. HERSHEY’S came to mind for us. We don’t doubt that they’ll deliver their best possible service, we never question the quality and deliciousness of their chocolate, and we know them (and they know themselves too). All of this trust was built on a solid brand, with a full and reliable identity (and chocolate, of course).
Trust all comes from branding consistency. Branding and branding guidelines ensure you’re always communicating the same message consistently.
What are your values? They should be represented throughout your brand. How do you speak? That voice should be sound every place your business appears. If you can consistently communicate and promise those values to your audience, it creates trust that can’t be broken.
2. Branding Reinforces Loyalty
How many times have you chosen one brand over another, despite them having the same product?
Picture this. You go to the grocery store and choose a bottle of Coca-Cola because it’s what you’ve always bought, it’s what you can consistently find anywhere, and you’d be cheating on Coca-Cola if you purchased the store brand product instead. And don’t forget you might possibly be disappointed by trying something new, so why stray away from what you already know?
Consumers are loyal to what they know and they’re loyal to what they like. You can create brand loyalty when you understand what your audience is willing to be loyal to. If they’re big on quality over price, focus your brand around that value. If they’re looking for a deal, emphasize the low price you’re always offering. 65% of a brand’s business comes from returning customers—brand loyalty will lock in those returning customers. So do some kickass branding and keep them and their business with you for the long run.
3. Branding Increases Value
People have strong values and they hold firm opinions. If someone can find something that relates to what they believe in, they’re sure to stand by and take its side. People choose brands in the same way. If they identify with what the brand represents, whether that’s luxury, efficiency, pleasure, or social consciousness, they choose it over another every single time.
Let’s say as a consumer you believe that companies should make efforts to be socially conscious whenever possible. You recently found a skin moisturizer that does just that, and you begin to choose that socially conscious brand over another brand, even though they use the same exact ingredients. Your new favorite skincare product does more with their business model and you’re more willing to spend your money on that value that you also hold.
As a brand, when you understand what your audience cares about, you can better align with and communicate that value to attract those people—which leads to more sales. If your brand broadcasts its values through consistent, quality branding, you’ll create a following of people who feel the same way you do.
4. Branding Forces You To Improve Your Products and Services
You always have to live up to what your brand is promising, no matter what. If you get caught up in any sort of inauthenticity your customers will take you down faster than you can find a way to apologize.
Branding guidelines help you keep tabs on your values and allow you to see where you can improve or double down on what you’re promising your customers.
For example, you own a tattoo shop. Your brand exhibits value in its incredibly responsive team, why not take that service a step further? You could be proactive about a customer’s needs with email marketing, let’s say. Offer up some cleaning instructions for a customer’s new tattoo, or let them know when it’s the right time to stock up on your name brand tattoo sunscreen. Or leverage your data to know when it may be time to ask how they’re liking their new tattoo and if they need any touch-ups.
Improve the stuff you’re already doing, your customers will notice and come back for more.
5. Branding Increases Word of Mouth Marketing
If a restaurant advertised that they had the best tacos in town, would you believe them? Maybe. If your best friend said he recently visited the awesome new taco shop on the corner and recommends that you should try it too, would you believe him? Yeah, you would, and you’d be on your way to scarf down some tacos in no time.
Today, word of mouth marketing is valuable, consumers are more likely to trust a friend, peer, or review than a brand talking about its own values. In fact, 83% of Americans say that they’re more likely to make a purchase if they get a word of mouth recommendation from another consumer.
The more you can get your audience talking about your product, the less you have to invest in traditional marketing tactics. Be authentic and consistent with your brand and you can leverage this free content. And the more word of mouth goodness you find around your brand, the more sales you will rake in off people’s genuine excitement over your business.
6. Branding Gives Your Employees A Platform to Stand For
Do the employees at your company know the deep-down details of your brand? Are they aware of your values and do they believe in them too? Investing in branding (both internally and externally) gives your employees something to root for and spread the word about.
Consider Trader Joe’s employees, those people are happy. Why? Because it’s an awesome place to work and the company has prioritized branding in their employee culture.
For example, a huge aspect of their brand is the connections they make between employees and customers. Employees are allowed to open bags on a shelf to let customers try a product. They can stop what they’re working on and chat with a customer for a second, getting to know them and creating a relationship. Trader Joe’s encourages their people to ask others about their day and develop deeper connections with regulars. The brand values conversation and connection, which are basic human needs, and both employees and customers know what to expect.
Let’s Build You A Brand
So are you ready to build that brand and boost your sales? We can help. Buy us a Beer to discover where you stand with your brand and find where you could use some support. Then we can use branding to create that foundation for loyal, satisfied customers and drive your revenue through the roof.