Small businesses often find themselves competing against large brands with a developed niche in the market. This is why it’s so important to differentiate yourself with a solid brand building process of your very own.

When most people think about “brand” they think about logos or advertisements. But real branding is so much more and goes so much deeper. The most important thing to remember is that brand isn’t how you see yourself, but rather how your customer perceives your business.

Regardless of whether you are a brick and mortar location, or an online business, the first step is determine what kind of brand you are.

  • Service Brand: this is a brand that is based and built on knowledge, experience and the culture surrounding it, such as Geek Squad and Molly Maid.
  • Retail Brand: this is a brand that is based and built on both products and services, such as fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and other retail locations.
  • Product Brand: this is a brand that is based and built only on their products, such as Sony, Ford, and Nike.

Once you’ve determined the type of brand you are, consistency in communication and experience across many platforms is key:

  • Sales and customer service
  • Social media and content marketing
  • Website and online advertising
  • All prints, signs, packages, etc…
  • Storefront, office, or any other environment you do business in

There are many steps you can take to increase your brand awareness. But, here are 6 Brand Strategies You’re Probably Forgetting to Implement:

  1. Unique Consumer Engagement. Doing what everyone else is doing to engage with your consumers will get you the same results they do. However, if they’re a big brand, you’re likely to lose out in the race. So, stand out with your brand by doing something different and eye catching. Release a product using a creative social media announcement, or through an inspiring and purposeful organization that will help you promote it to their loyal customers.
  2. Establish A Relatable Identity. The most common mistake brands make is confusing their unique value to get attention. A brand’s identity is the most powerful when it evolves and strengthens in alignment with the changing lifestyle demands, as opposed to going against its values and causing a split in its dynamics. The best thing a brand can do to attract consumers is to be deliberate with their identity in a simple yet forward-thinking approach.
  3. A Platform that Inspires and Gives Hope. The best brand platforms influence a lifestyle that inspires and gives hope to those who embrace it. Successful brand platforms recognize the importance of inspiring customers to learn, communicate and grow with the brand, who begin to represent what the stands for, and thus perpetuating a loyal consumer base. This is why it’s so important to stay true to your values, even as you are growing and changing with trends, because consumers what your consistency to impact and influence their lifestyle.
  4. Timely and Flawless Execution of Continuous Innovation. Changing with the times and trends may seem like an obvious thing. Unfortunately many brands are too late or fall short in that department, thus resulting a loss of their customer base. Consumers need their favorite brand to be ready when they are to move on, evolve and change with the trends. Even customers who are not trendsetters will eventually leave a brand if it means keeping up with what’s popular. It’s also not wise to implement a change if you and/or your consumers are not ready to full embrace it.
  5. Promote Giving Back. It is often said that the more you give back, the more you get. Everyone enjoys being charitable, and consumers are more likely to associate with your brand if you proudly promote the spirit of giving by donating a percentage of your profits to a charity that aligns with your brand. For example, if you are in the pet industry, consider giving back to a local humane society or pet rescue organization. Your customers will appreciate it and love you even more.
  6. Plan Your Legacy. Every brand leaves a legacy for others to remember them by, and it starts from the very first day. So, the real question here is how do you want your business to be remembered? What experience or product do you most want to be associated with? How do you want to enter and impact your consumers’ lives? It may seem like a lot to think about, but that is one of the reasons why brands make such a difference in people’s lives. In some ways, a brand is like it’s own entity or being, and once we are affected by it, we remember the experience, and associate it with positive or negative circumstances. This is why brands need to focus on innovations that are continuously genuine and true to who they are, as well as are focused on what really matters to their consumers.

Doing just one of these things will significantly improve your brand. However, all six of these ideas really work together, complimenting each other, and building on each other, to maintain the ultimate consumer experience.

With so many brands to choose from in any given industry, we are living in a consumer market. This means businesses need to step up their game, and give a meaningful and relatable awareness to their brand. It’s really the only way to not only compete, but also succeed.

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