The world today is absolutely filled with small businesses, and in many cases the competition your business faces isn’t even limited by location. With so many services and products available to anyone online, you have to find a way to get your business to stand out amongst a market that often seems completely saturated.
So how do you do that? How do you get your business to stand out? Well, that’s exactly what branding is for.
Branding is how you demonstrate what makes your business different. It’s a big part of what helps you to stand out from your competition. And in order to use branding well, it has to be authentic. That is, it needs to be true to your brand values and promises.
Also, remember that your brand is about more than just the visuals. Your brand is how your business is perceived. This is influenced by many aspects of your business, which culminate in the experience your customers or clients have when they come to you. Here are some ways to make sure your business stands out using authentic branding.
Nothing is as off-putting as that feeling that a brand is being insincere. Maybe they seem to be trying a bit too hard to pull off a certain style or personality, and it rings fake.
Don’t try to be something you aren’t, and instead stay true to the heart of what your business is about. And show your business’s human side! These days, a lot of business transactions happen entirely online, and you might be delivering your products and services to people without ever seeing them. Don’t let that stop you from being friendly, and speak to customers in a tone of voice that you would if you were face-to-face with them. Make opportunities to show your gratitude, and the care and thoughtfulness that goes into your business.
Still working out your brand’s personality? Click here to take the brand personality quiz!
Find your unique selling proposition
Some advice you’ll no doubt be familiar with is: find the thing that makes your business unique. It’s easy to say, but I know many business owners struggle to pinpoint their “thing”, their selling point.
Well, here’s an idea. The one simple thing that your business has, that no other business has?
As the person building your business, there’s almost certainly a lot of your personal goals, values and personality that will be reflected in the goals, values and personality of your business. The things that you find important, and the way that you choose to run your business will have a deep effect on how your business is portrayed to the market. My advice is to embrace it!
Instead of falling into the trap of mimicking your competitors and following their lead, create your own path. Don’t be afraid to do something different. There’s no guarantees that every bold new marketing tactic or brand strategy you come up with will result in success, but if you never try anything exciting and different, you’ll never stand out and show how you make your business is unique.
Related post: How to find the USP for your service-based business
Empathise with your customers
Acknowledge the real-life problems that your customers or clients face, and address how your product or service can help them out. This means researching your target marketing and keeping on top of their current situations and difficulties. The best brands have niche markets and have solutions for problems that are unique to that group.
Make your business customer-centric. People aren’t interested in what you do. They want to know how it helps them, and they’re sold on the “why”. There might be half a dozen businesses who could help your target market with what they need, but if you’re the one who has a story that resonates with them, then you’re the one they’ll go with.
You’ve got to be putting in a consistent effort with your visual branding. In order to build a strong reputation with a sense of familiarity and professionalism, you need a solid brand identity that you can use well in your marketing efforts.
To stand out, your branding has to be unique to your business. Many industries tend to follow trends together, so logos, colours, images become almost interchangeable from brand to brand. Don’t feel the need to follow the herd — instead, think about what would be authentic for your business and your target market. And once you have a strong identity in place, use it consistently — at every step of your business — to create something that becomes instantly recognisable by your users.
I think a lot of small business owners can get caught up in the idea of how to stand out. What you’ve got to realise is that it’s not about finding some gimmick, or even about finding something that no one else has done in the history of forever. It’s about staying true to your values and being authentic — this is what resonates with people, and turns them into lifelong clients.
Looking for more content? Try these:
- What is branding, and why is it so important?
- Discovering your “why” and how it drives your business to success
- What is brand strategy and why is it necessary for your business?
- Why logo templates can’t stand up to professionally-made, custom brand identities
- Should you hire a graphic designer for your small business?
- How to use consistent branding to grow your business
- 5 essential elements your visual brand identity needs
- Consider these 8 key points when designing an awesome logo