Some thoughts on branding your business
I have attended several networking events in the past few months and had a couple of experiences which seem appropriate to share with small, local businesses and entrepreneurs who are trying to find success in a sometimes crowded field.
The first event was one where a lot of business cards were exchanged. I came back to my office and started sorting through them and looking at notes I had made. I discovered I had what I thought were two identical cards. Funny, I didn’t remember talking to the same person twice.
A closer examination revealed two identical cards with two different names on them. And a quick search of a popular online printer revealed the business card template they had both used to create their business card. Distinguishing your business from the competition is difficult. Let alone trying to distinguish your business from people who aren’t even your competitors.
The second event was a less formal networking opportunity with a room full of sole proprietors hopeful of finding connections in their community. I once again collected a small stack of business cards. Several of them featured clip art which their owners thought was representative of their business.
As a small business owner I understand the need to do-it-yourself to help keep costs down. But if I recognized your clip art so does your customer and you have once again failed to make a stand-out impression on your customer or distinguish yourself from your competition.
Your brand is your most direct link to your customer. If you are an emerging small business your card may be the only contact your customers have—particularly for service businesses—and it should be memorable. How can you ensure that you and your business are remembered the way you’d like your customers to remember you? Will you use your brand to expand and communicate with your customers in other ways?
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:
Caitlin makes jewelry. For years she wore her creations and often when people asked if she could make something for them she would literally sell them the necklace from around her neck. Then she got the attention of a couple of shop owners. All of a sudden she needed business cards and hang tags! Images and colors evocative of the jewelry she makes communicate competence and professionalism.
Dan is an agricultural writer who wanted to expand his business to add marketing and consulting activities. What is the most memorable thing about Dan in a sea of marketing consultants? The “Z” in his name stood out to me. The Z also distinguishes him from other agricultural writers who use wheat or corn stalk clip art!
Alexis is a busy mom who started making cupcakes for her kid’s birthday parties. She was soon being asked by other moms and then friends of friends to make cupcakes as well. She needed to be able to hand them a card for quick contact information and a link to her Facebook page with photos of her creations. See more Kurthcakes.
The clipart and the boring typesetting just didn’t convey the spirit of her creations.
I started with ideation:
We decided to stick with the bright pink Alexis liked from her clip art:A new logo, and a bright pop of color, distinguishes her and communicates a fun and vibrant business.
Some things to think about as you begin to brand your business
Who are you?
Who are your customers?
How do your customers like to be communicated with?
How will you stand out from the competition?
What will you do to be authentic and meet expectations?
If you’d like to set up a free meeting to talk about how you can begin to brand your business please give me a call or text at 971-218-3647. Or send off an email to LouJean@Q.com. I’d be happy to explore with you and see if we can find ways to help you stand out.