“For many business owners, worrying about ‘brand’ sounds like something that should be purely the domain of bearded hipsters in one of those cereal-only cafes. Or relegated to those huge corporate giants like Coca-Cola, Apple and Amazon with millions of retail customers to worry about (and hungry shareholders to keep happy.)…” begins our expert partner, Kim Arnold, in answer to this very question.
Kim’s our favourite small business marketing expert, with extensive experience of growing startups and small businesses into UK-wide and international enterprises. It’s why we asked her to collaborate with us on this guide too (we collaborate a lot – check out Farillio’s marketing content to access more of her guidance content).
Branding often doesn’t seem that important for the average small business, while it juggles tight budgets and so many competing needs for that finite pot of money.
But brand matters more than most of us appreciate. Indeed, in our quests for investors, customers, suppliers and the brightest talent at the most affordable rates, for example, the strength of our brand – which is, in many ways, the very core of our identity and our credibility, holds all those opportunities hostage, unless we invest in it properly.
Why you should care about brand
Kim puts it best: “Every single business needs to think about their brand. Why? It’s pretty noisy out there. Your customers, whoever they are, are being bombarded by thousands and thousands of businesses who are trying to sell them something. They’ve got less and less time to make decisions and more and more choice to choose from.
“Your brand is a way to cut through this noise and to make it easier for customers to choose you and not someone else.”
What is brand anyway?
Again, here’s Kim’s no nonsense take:
3 key traits of a great brand
1. Make you FEEL something Comforted. Reassured. Excited. Entertained. Relieved. Understood. Whatever it is, they strike that chord and become memorable, recognisable and engaging.
2. Are original
They aren’t copied from a competitor. They aren’t bland or dull. They immediately set themselves apart from the competition. They surprise and delight with their clear personality.
3. Are consistent
From the packaging of their products, to their voicemail messages, website, signage, uniforms, flyers, invoices, email signatures, business cards and social media. Consistency is reassuring for customers and critical for successful brands if they want to be instantly recognisable as well as memorable. Be front of mind when your customers are choosing where to spend their money, on what, and with whom.
Make it you. Make it always you.
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