Anyone who comes up with ideas for businesses has more than one they can use.…
Knowing how to talk about your business and consistently communicate your brand will attract more profitable customers. Hee’s how to make brand communication a seamless part of every conversation.
Do People Give You a Blank Stare When You Talk About Your Business or Brand?
Picture this: You’re at an event, someone walks up to you, and introduces themselves. Then, they ask you what you do. You mumble something about your business and they sort of nod.
Not the reaction you were hoping for. You need to learn how to talk about your business with a consistent brand communication strategy.
The reaction you want is for their eyes to widen and for them to say, “Wow! That’s interesting!” and then ask some questions. Maybe, they say they’d love something like that or know someone who would. Even better, they request a business card (instead of you shoving one in their hand).
Is Your Branding Only Word-of-Mouth?
85% of small business owners say that they get new customers from word-of-mouth. This isn’t surprising, and it’s a great bonus for your business.
Here’s the surprise no one talks about: 85% of small business owners are counting on what other people say to get new customers for their branding strategy.
At first, you might think that this is a good thing.
It means that other people control your business reputation. Other people control your business brand and what you want to be known for.
You need to control your business, your brand, and your reputation. You have to be the one who controls your marketing and branding services.
In this article, you’ll get everything you need to build a brand communication strategy and branding kit for your business.
We’ll go over three things:
- Clearly articulate what your business and brand is all about.
- Crafting a powerful business branding message that attracts and connects you to your ideal customer.
- Applying your brand communication and marketing message to your sales and marketing materials with brochures, websites, social media, and more.
What Defines a Business’ Brand?
Your brand is simply the answer to the question, “What can people expect from you?”
Sometimes, it’s a simple as “the best white pizza,” “timely delivery,” or “attention to detail.” But often, it’s a muddied mess of differing opinions. And that is a problem.
Brands are recognizable in look, feel and language. It’s called brand positioning.
What Affects Your Brand Positioning?
There are three elements that drive the look, feel and language of your business brand. These are:
- Personality: This is the overall look and feel of your marketing plan for business. You notice it most in website design and marketing materials.
- Images: This includes your company’s logo and any images, such as fonts, types, photos, or illustrations.
- Words and messages: The language you use in both written and verbal communications. This includes how you describe your business, your products, and services. It’s even the style of writing you use in your articles and blog posts.
Brand communication means that you take these three elements and then decide how you’ll market yourself when compared to competitors. It’s important to know who your business competitors are so that you can take your marketing one step further.
What is Brand Communication?
Brand communication is how you’ll influence your customers’ perceptions of you. It’s using a combination of techniques (like social media, customer experience, and more) to create a better opinion from the customers’ point of view.
Why is Brand Communication Important?
Brand communication is important because it shifts your product or service away from your competitors and puts the focus squarely on the benefits, value, and transformation that you provide your ideal customer.
In other words, you’ll never compete on price again. Your customers will know what you provide them is worth more than the other brands that you compete with. But can a branding strategy really make this happen?
Yes, it can! Businesses with clearly communicated brands have customers who are extremely loyal and far less price sensitive.
How Branding Affects Pricing
How often do your customers complain about the price of your product or service?
Do your customers always ask you to adjust your offer or to give them the same mix of products and services for a lower price?
Is there a competitor in your industry who doesn’t offer the level of quality that you do, but simply looks better, or maybe has a better-looking website and snazzier marketing copy?
These are all signals that your business doesn’t have an effective brand and you need to do something. Think of some of the priciest and largest brands in your business. Do people complain that they are expensive? Probably not.
When high-end branding is created from the start, customers know they can expect high-end products, and therefore, they’re willing to pay more.
Why is defining a brand for your business so hard?
Defining your brand seems hard because you think that you’re selling a product or service. In fact, you’re selling a transformation, a benefit, and a feeling.
The biggest hurdle you have to overcome is your mindset. Shift your focus from the actual product or service you sell to the experience that your business delivers. Is it worth your customers’ time and money?
A clearly communicated brand equals more profits. This is a physical law of marketing.
- Brands with strong reputations offer 31% higher shareholder return. Even for small business branding — this matters because you, your employees, and community are shareholders.
- Strong brands have more engaged employees who can help their company grow profits 3x faster than competitors.
The most profitable businesses (including your competitors) know this. They don’t skimp on branding or marketing. They know that for every minute and dollar investment, the return is exponential.
If you want those same results, you’ll do the same.
How to create an instantly recognizable brand
Creating an instantly recognizable brand isn’t as difficult as you might think. There is a process for that. And, it’s actually a lot of fun!
Think of it as a journey of self-discovery…but for your business. You’ll be surprised at what you hear. And, you’ll find out that things you’ve taken for granted are a reason why customers choose you over a competitor.
1. Create your marketing message
Your goal is to understand how your customers view your brand and if that is consistent with how you want your brand to be perceived as.
You only need to ask them one simple question. “What was it about my business that made us the ideal choice for you?” Then, sit back and listen.
2. Choose and define your ideal customer profile (ICP)
You already know who your favorite customers are. Typically, they’re the people who are easy to work with. They value what you provide and they don’t complain about your price.
Make a list of your favorite customers and ask yourself “What is it about these people that makes them my favorite people to work with?” Look for patterns and then convert those patterns into a guideline or target of how to find more of these people. This becomes your ideal customer profile (ICP), which then allows you to find and attract more of these customers.
3. Create your marketing message
You might get to this point and be very clear about your marketing message — or if you’re still not sure, you can go through this simple branding exercise:
- Describe your ideal customer.
- What is the problem that they are trying to solve?
- How do they think that the problem is solved? Or, how have they tried to solve the problem in the past?
- How does everyone else tell them this problem is solved?
- How does your business solve this problem?
4. Create or update your logo to match your message
Your logo does a significant amount of “talking about your business.” In fact, it’s one of the main things that people remember.
Big brands have millions of dollars to promote their vague logos. You don’t have that luxury. This is why your logo has to do the heavy lifting and communicate your brand clearly and intuitively.
If your logo is “typographic,” meaning that it’s your name or company name written out, look for opportunities to choose a font and color that communicates the personality of your brand.
To communicate a brand that is classic or traditional, choose a traditional serif font, such as Times, Georgia, or Garamond.
If you want to communicate confidence, solidity or a bold attitude, use a slab-serif font, such as Currier, Rockwell, or Museo.
To feature simplicity, go with a sans-serif font, like Roboto or Open Sans.
If you have a logo with an image, make sure your visual element matches and coordinates with the rest of your brand. For example, a dog washing service isn’t going to use a cat as their logo. So, think about your business and what you want to put forward. Then, choose colors for your logo.
Everyone responds differently to color, but a few colors evoke nearly the same reaction across customers. Red is known to be powerful and dramatic. Orange can be motivating and positive, yellow is happiness, and green portrays health. Use a color scheme that is in line with your branding, and you’ll be set!
5. Design or update your website to clearly communicate your brand and sales message
Today, everything is online. Hardly anyone goes to a storefront for the first time without knowing something about the brand that they have googled. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business, you need a marketing plan.
However, since everything is online, that means you need to have a killer website. Google and other search engines are constantly searching for websites that people can trust. Having an updated website that communicates your brand and regularly posts shows that your business is a trustworthy one, and more people will end up looking at it.
6. Simplify your marketing message.
Whether you’re looking for a small business marketing message or a large one, marketing messages are one of the most important pieces to a solid brand.
Many businesses use a mission statement to communicate their brand. This might be okay for internal communication, but it’s often too wordy for your ideal customers.
Whittle down your marketing message to a 5-7 word sentence that can pass as your company’s slogan. A slogan is easy to remember–just think, “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” or Nike’s, “Just do it.”
7. Update marketing materials
Once you’ve defined your brand, you should update your marketing materials. Make sure that your website, social media, marketing materials, and anything else that a customer sees is seamless. You should be using the same typography and color scheme, but also the same tone throughout all posts.
Your marketing materials will include things like your business cards and brochures, but your most important marketing tool is coming up next.
8. Create a social media profile and post templates
Today, you have to have a social media account. You should be on the main social media accounts, like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Post to these accounts regularly, and have set guidelines (or templates) that you use to create your posts.
9. Define your social media branding
Social media branding is important for your brand to look and feel seamless. You can’t be cute and fun on social media, but business-like in your website. This leaves your customers confused about what your company and business can provide.
When you come up with brand style guidelines, ensure that this includes your social media account. Use colors that resonate with your message, and be sure to include these in the templates that you create.
10. Social media brand guidelines
You may have someone doing your social media for you, and if that’s true, they should have a good understanding of your social media brand guidelines. This includes everything from what you’ll share on your business page to the hashtags and images that you use.
If you’re planning on doing this work yourself, set guidelines for you to follow. Without these guidelines, you could easily stray from the core message that your brand provides, which is something that could be detrimental to your business. Set up these brand guidelines to encompass everything from your color palette to your target audience.
How can you communicate your brand?
Communicating your brand gives you more recognition, which can lead to more loyal customers. So, where can you communicate your brand?
Your brand needs to be communicated through your storefront (if you have one), your website, your offerings, and your social media. However, when it comes to communicating your brand to new or considering customers, it’s all about social media.
Social media is growing exponentially. Currently, there are 3.5 billion people that are active on social media. If you’re not communicating your brand on social media, you’re missing out on a huge target market! Here’s what you need to do to effectively communicate your brand on social media:
- Be authentic in what you’re putting out and who you are
- Use visual content with text rather than text alone
- Post regularly so people can count on your brand
- Engage with other social media accounts
- Build relationships with top influencers in your brand
What’s the best social media platform to promote your brand?
With so many social media platforms, how can you choose? Well, the answer is a bit more complicated than that. If you want to truly build a credible and reliable brand, you should be promoting your brand on all social media platforms.
That may sound overwhelming, but really, you just need to focus on the top social media platforms. These include:
There are also other, smaller social media platforms that may be great for you to use depending on your brand. These are:
- Tik Tok
The biggest mistakes small businesses make
Mistake: Marketing materials look completely different from each other and from your website.
How to fix it: Create a style guide that lays out your branded colors, fonts, and logos. Then, use it. Share your style guide with any designers you work with.
Mistake: Focusing all of your marketing on selling instead of educating, informing, and helping potential customers use your company to solve their problem.
How to fix it: Start every conversation with your ideal customer in mind. What questions are they asking? What problems are they looking to solve? What’s missing?
Look at how content marketing platform, CoSchedule, knows exactly who their customer is and how they’ve created a tool to help their users “make the case” for choosing CoSchedule.
Here is an image of an email CoSchedule sends to their users that shows exactly how much time users save by using their platform.
3 creative ways to consistently communicate your brand
- Use Canva or Adobe Spark to create branded templates that include your logo, brand colors, and fonts to easily create images to share on social media
- Schedule your posts ahead of time so you don’t forget to regularly post
- Use a social media scheduling software that will allow you to send out the same images across all social media platforms.
- Use personalized branding to appeal to each customer and solve their problems
What software helps you have consistent brand communication?
Consistent brand communication is the key to business brand success.
In this section, I’m going to share the tools you need to manage your brand communications:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM). This is the hub of your contacts. It’s critical that your contacts and leads are tagged and segmented based on their product and service interests. Each customer is different, and the right CRM helps you to manage these different relationships.
- Email marketing system. Take the info that’s in the CRM and use it to send newsletters, coupons, and special offers targeted to your customers.
- Marketing automation. Marketing automation platforms guide prospects and leads toward a customized solution.
- Social media scheduling and tracking. Scheduling and tracking apps help you to run your social media analytics. This is how often your brand is being viewed, how often those interact with you, and how you can turn those analytics into sales. You can also pre-schedule your posts, which will help you get across a better brand message.
Tips for maintaining your business brand message
Look, customers don’t want to feel like they’re being tugged back and forth with your brand. They need to know what to expect. And maintaining a consistent brand message is a great way to get new customers and build brand ambassadors.
Here’s what to do:
- Create a master list of talking points. You can start your list with the following:
- Reasons why you should choose us
- What you believe in and why
- What people can count on your for — and what the payoff is
- Create brand message guideline templates. These come in handy for posts that closely match your brand promise. For example, if your business and brand is all about health and wellness, then everything you share has to help your customers achieve health and wellness by using:
- Tell your story. Your customers want to hear why you created the brand and what you stand for. Your backstory is a great way to do this.
How to create your business brand
When it comes to finding different apps for your social media, it can be a little discouraging. Between scheduling apps, CRM software, email marketing, visual image editors, your logo, brand guidelines, and more, you’re overwhelmed. You may not know where to start.
Even when you have great information, it can be impossible to figure out how to seamlessly run all of these apps. This is especially true when it comes to branding for small businesses. If you’re struggling trying to keep up, you’re not alone. Thankfully, there’s a solution to all your stress that you’re feeling.
Zoho One is a tool that helps you integrate everything from your marketing into one platform. With the ability to customize apps and mix-and-match for a perfect fit, your frustrations and worries about branding your business become seamless and, possibly, even fun. Zoho works with your marketing and can increase your sales, support your customers, do your accounting, and help with your operations and HR.
Final Thoughts Communicating Your Business Brand
When it comes to consistently communicating your business brand, don’t just wing it. Take the time to think through what you want to be known for. Then translate those points into your logo, images and colors. Outline your talking points and then put it all together in one integrated software that will help you manage all of it.