Whether you’re starting your own business or you’re a successful small business owner, here’s something to think about when branding your small business.
Remember, branding is a process — a process in which a company, product or service creates a perception in the minds of its target audiences: their thoughts, feelings, associations, and expectations. It is also how you position yourself to the public and how you position yourself differently from the competitors. The success of branding doesn’t depend on the quality of the product/service alone. Rather it depends on the strength of the relationship that the brand has with its audience. The strength of the relationship lies in an emotional connection that has been established between the brand and its audience. This is where art comes into play.
Branding needs an artistic side. Unlike advertising, art doesn’t tell you what to think and its objective isn’t to sell. Art creates a space of creativity and imagination. Art allows you to reconnect with yourself and your memory and take you to a place beyond reality. As a result, branding uses art to connect with its audience on an emotional level. Branding uses art to communicate with your audiences on an emotional level. It is not about providing accurate information. It aims to create a relationship on a deeper level (conscious and subconscious). Since our memory about information fades away, the emotional connection is an important and powerful way to stay connected and remain top of mind with people.
Different strokes for different folks.
It’s also important to ensure that your set of verbal messages are consistent with and aligned with the visual messages. Since branding is about engaging and connecting with your audience, you want to ensure that you are sending the accurate messages on multiple levels. The combination of your verbal messages and visual cues, must interact with people such that the message is clear and meaningful in the minds of the people to whom you’re communicating. Remember that everyone has different perceptions of the world. Your brand will be interpreted in a multiplicity of ways with different audiences.
So, the true of art of branding is influencing perception while managing existing perceptions.
Here are questions you can ask prospects or clients to gain better insight into the landscape of existing perceptions:
01. What are their current perceptions of the industry or profession you’re in?
For example, what are their perceptions of the “coaching” industry? Or the “event planning” industry? Or, the “real estate” industry?
02. What are their current perceptions of the people who work in those industries?
For example, what do they think of “health or business coaches”? What do they think of “event planners”? What do they think of “real estate brokers”?
03. What are their current perceptions of your business or brand?
04. How do they perceive you?
Then, collect all this information and take a look at identifying the positive and negative perceptions people have, as well as any misconceptions people have about you, your industry or your profession. Within this set of data, you will notice some themes that you want to address in building your brand.