A lot of small business owners might not give much thought to branding. It seems like an abstract concept that’s only applicable to widely distributed products backed by big marketing budgets from large corporations. But if you want to grow your business over the long term, then you should start seeding your brand into your customers’ minds even when you are still small.
Where should you start? Before we explore ways to build your brand, let’s start by looking at the question, “what is a brand, anyway?”
From Wikipedia, “A brand is a collection of images and ideas representing an economic producer; more specifically, it refers to the descriptive verbal attributes and concrete symbols such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme that convey the essence of a company, product or service.” This might be a really good textbook answer, but chances are you won’t remember it in a week.
In essence, a brand is the images and ideas that people remember you by. The images are visual, like your logo, color scheme, mascot, etc. For example, you might remember Nike’s “swoosh” logo. For Fedex, you might remember the purple/orange/white color scheme. The ideas can be as simple as a single word. What do you think when you hear Wal-mart? Cheap! How about a Volvo car? Safety!
If you are able to get those images and ideas into your customers’ heads, everytime they see the images or think about those ideas, they will automatically think about your company and your products. Next time, we’ll look at some general guidelines on building your brand.