What Will Be Your New Small Business’s Brand?

 

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Hey future badass business owners, it’s time for another episode of the start a local small business podcast.  Today I want to talk about something that you need to think about prior to starting your local small business and that is you and your businesses brand.

Now please understand there is a difference between marketing, advertising, and branding. While all 3 have similarities, they will each accomplish something different within your business plan.

Think of your Marketing Plan as how you will get the word out about your company and the services and products that you provide. Marketing can be free and paid. Marketing can be anything from word of mouth, social media and in print. Think of marketing as your plan to yell it from the roof tops.

Advertising on the other hand, is more like the paid pieces you put out to encourage people to use your products or service. Normally you are telling folks about what you are selling, maybe come coupons. Now you can advertise in a variety of means both online and in the physical worlds.

 

Now today, I want to talk about a 3rd item…Branding.

You and your business will have a brand. Think of your brand as what your stand for and how you make people feel.  Your brand is what you are telling your community. Well, sort of. Please understand, your brand is what the community tells you it is, not what you tell them.

For example, you might think that your brand is all about customer service. But let’s say the community does not see customer service as a strength of yours but rather they only think of poor customer service when they think of you and your business. So, you might think you have a brand of service, yet the community says otherwise. As you can see, sometimes you can have a disconnect. And that isn’t good.

 

The Brand Test

Let’s take a look at some popular branding that drives this point home.

What comes to mind when you think of the golden arches?  More than likely, McDonald’s popped into your head. For some of you, more than the word McDonalds popped into your head, a childhood favorite might have mad you smile or crave a Big Mac. Maybe you have the opposite reaction and thought or “oh my God that place will kill you!”

In both cases, you had an emotional attachment to the business.  For some of you, you have associated the brand of the golden arches to a positive one and some of you saw the brand in a negative way. But either way, those golden arches caused you to associated them with McDonald’s and some emotional feeling. That was their brand to you.

Another example of this would be the Nike swish. When you see the Nike swish for most of you, you automatically know it is Nike. For some of you it’s going to bring up happy thoughts because you believe in the Nike product, you have associated good thoughts to the brand. Now if for some reason you thought overpriced tennis shoes, then you associate negative thought about their brand. Once again, an emotional reaction.

By the way, it isn’t just about the logo. There are companies that you hear their name and have thoughts that pop to mind. You don’t have to see that swish or see the golden arches to have those same thoughts. Just hearing McDonalds or Nike will bring the same thoughts.

So, part of your mission is to think now what you want your brand to be. What do you want your community to have come to mind when they hear your company name? Will it be positive thoughts and emotions or will they instantly think why they will never use you?

You hold the cards now and you get to set the stage for what you want to come to mind when folks think of your business.

 

Your Brand / Your Mission / Your Story

Now, I want to toss out one more thing that you want to keep in mind about your brand.

Your brand begins with your mission and what your story is. Your why if you will. Why are you doing this business? What is your mission?

For example, your mission, your story, might be about your mission to serve your community. Maybe you have a connection to your town. Maybe people know who you are and your love for the community.

We have this mechanic who started up his business. He was from our town and was working for a big company but wanted to break out and become more local and help his community to stop getting ripped off. As word spread on facebook and word of mouth, he became this local hero giving back. He offers free stuff to local vetrens and a few other things that benefit the community. He has a cool story of going from nothing to the most popular mechanic in town now. He has created a great brand in the community.

Think of your town, is there anyone that comes to mind for example?

Think about businesses in your area, that have been there for 25 – 40 years. They have become a staple of your area. But I bet they also have a brand around them.

Another example are family businesses. Especially those that have been in business a long time. Maybe you have the grandfather, son and grandson.  Maybe it was grandma’s famous apple pie. They have built a brand around this family dynamic.

Think about something that might make you and your business, special and stand out.

Hopefully you can see the value to thinking of your brand early on in your business. You want to make sure all the steps you take, add to this brand. You want to check in with your clients and customers with what comes to mind when they think of you.

 

Don’t Forget Your Brand in Your Advertising and Marketing Plans

Your brand builds over time. Each step you take, each month of business, adds a little more to it. But here is how you speed it along. Make sure you include the branding you want in your advertising and marketing plans.

You’ve seen business’s put stuff in their advertising like…”Your home town plumber” or “Serving Springfield for 25 years”   What is something catchy that you can add to your advertising to start planting the seed of the brand you are building. This actually helps keep you focused on delivering this promise.

Take advantage of social media as well. Maybe it is a catch phrase or slogan. Take ownership of your brand.

 

Best Place in Town

Wow, I just thought of another great example of local branding. Think about that little ice cream shop with the line around the corner.  Or maybe in your town it is a donut shop. Most places have some little mom and pop place they claim as their own.  These are the types of branding you want.  They have a story and the community eats it up and better yet, the community is the one that continues to build it for them.

Another thing that you can strive for is winning best in town. Most local papers will run a contest for best of.  Best pizza place, best ice cream, best carpet cleaners, stuff like that. Try and see if you can snag one of these places early on. It will give you some great momentum. I’ve seen many 1st year businesses get on this list and pick up a lot of steam.

Ok, so you get the point. You want to build the brand from day one. Know what you want and what type of reputation you want to build.

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Before we go, don’t forget to get your free Start Up Guide that will help walk your through how to get your new local small business up and running.

Also, feel free to shoot me your questions at tammy@localsmallbusinesscoach.com and I’ll try and answer your questions. Who knows, your question could end up on either this podcast or on my Local Small Business Coach Podcast depending on when I get it.

By the way, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast, so you don’t miss any of the future episodes and if you haven’t already, download all the previous episodes so you can catch up.  And if you are wanting even more, don’t forget to subscribe to my other podcast, the Local Small Business Coach.

Next week, we will pick another tip for you opening your new local small business.

See you next time

Bye for now

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