Build Your Small Business’ Brand.
What’s in a name? Actually, quite a lot. Unfortunately for poor doomed Juliet, her outlook on names would have equally doomed any of her potential business ventures. In business, “branding” is an essential and perpetual process. Your business’ brand is critical to developing long-term success.
What a brand is
Let’s first begin with what a brand is not: a brand is NOT a logo. A logo is a symbol for your business and is integral in developing your business’ overall “brand.” I’ll address logos in a subsequent post. A brand is also not a product. The concept of a brand is far reaching. When a person hears about your business or sees its logo, it should evoke a positive feeling. That is what a brand is. A brand should trigger a person’s feelings about your company. Branding is a simple idea, but difficult to properly execute.
Define your brand
Decide on your products and services and the related qualities. Incorporate core values when thinking about your brand and stay true to those values. Think about your potential customers and what they want in a product, service, and company. Think about a good tagline and logo that communicate your brand to your potential customers. Spend some time on this and do it right. It is difficult to change a brand, especially one that is well entrenched.
Cultivate your brand
Once you have figured out how to define your brand, you need to develop and cultivate your brand. Exposure is key here. The Internet is more relevant than ever. Make sure that your marketing campaign includes a website and steps to increase its presence on search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Blogs are just one example of an excellent tool that informs customers and showcases your brand. Be observant and take advantage of opportunities to cultivate your brand.
Protect your brand
Your brand is your company’s personality and identity. Creating and cultivating a great brand is a lot of work. Don’t allow someone to damage or hijack your brand to your business’ detriment. This is where having your own in-house small business lawyer can be valuable. An attorney can take the necessary steps to protect your business’ brand and intellectual property, including utilizing: copyrights, trademarks, and trade secret protection.