Turning Your Small Business Into A Recognizable Brand

You’ve devoted time and energy to developing a killer product or service that you know your target customers will love. There’s just one problem: Those customers have no idea who you are.

Whether you’re an experienced entrepreneur or new to the hustle, getting your small business off the ground is no easy task. Even once your business is up and running, there’s little time to celebrate since you need to get to work on turning your small business into a recognizable brand. While your small business may never have the global recognition of Nike’s swoosh or McDonald’s golden arches, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve sweeping awareness in your niche. Owning your niche is the key to the long-term success of your small business.

If you’re serious about growing your business to greater heights, you need a plan in place. First, you must understand the struggles your small business is likely to encounter while you’re trying to establish its reputation. With the challenges in mind, you can then explore the tools and technology you can utilize to overcome them. Finally, you will brainstorm how best to sprinkle in the two most important ingredients for a recognizable brand: creativity and personalization.

Are you ready to take the first step on your journey to turning your small business into a recognizable brand?

The Struggles Your Small Business Might Encounter

Before going any further, there’s something very important you must understand. You can’t treat your small business like a little big business. This well-known piece of advice came from Harvard Business Review contributors John. A. Welsh and Jerry F. White back in 1981, and it still rings true today. The misguided mindset that small businesses should operate under the same principles (albeit scaled-down) as big businesses can cause a litany of problems.

For example, you can’t follow a big business’s marketing strategy to the tee and expect to duplicate their success. As a small business, your advertising budget is likely significantly less, and therefore, you’ll need to adapt your approach accordingly and possibly look for alternative financing options. Unlike a big business that has room in their budget for mistakes, the limitation of a small business budget means there’s pressure to get things right on the first try.

That’s why a well thought out plan for turning your small business into a recognizable brand is essential. Creating a strong business plan is one of the fundamental strategies that helps avoid small business failure. Face it: You just don’t have the capital to simply throw various marketing ploys at the wall and see what sticks.

If you haven’t already, you will learn soon enough that while important, having a great product or service isn’t enough. In today’s oversaturated market, there are a lot of great products and services. As a small business, it can be a struggle to make yourself heard over the fracas of other small businesses vying for consumers’ attention.

Fortunately, there are tools and technology that you can utilize to help your small business stand out from the crowd without breaking your budget.

Tools and Technology for Building Your Brand

Since you’re likely working with a small marketing budget and a small marketing team (perhaps just you), you need to take advantage of widely-available tools and technology to help you turn your small business into a recognizable brand.

First, you must establish an online presence. One of the essential tools every business needs is a professional-looking website. You may have heard that, in order to build a recognizable brand, you need to open new locations. Those new locations can be virtual like adding an online store to your website.

Like incorporating an online store, investing in a strong, secure mobile app for your business is another opportunity to expand virtually. This time, the new location is your target customer’s pocket. With 81% of Americans now owning smartphones, a mobile app for your business can heighten brand awareness through easy access to your product or service.

Beyond your website (which could also include a blog), your online presence must include social media. Rather than trying to be everywhere at once, focus your social media efforts on the platforms where your target audience spends the most time. For example, if your ideal customers are millennials, concentrate on Instagram. Whichever platforms you choose, develop a strategy for engaging with your target audience. If customers contact you, make an effort to respond quickly. Whether it’s a shoutout or negative feedback, you want your customers to know you hear them and value their opinions. This is essential for making trust a part of your brand.

At a minimum, your small business should have a page on both Facebook and Yelp. Across all your social media pages and profiles, you should create and share content with the goal of building your brand. Remember, social media isn’t just for fun. It is a powerful tool to help your business tell its story.

If your social media strategy is failing to produce results, Biz Catalyst 360 contributor Amit Kothiyal suggests checking in with analytics. You might think you know where and how your target audience spends time on social media, but the data could reveal something different. Don’t stop at simply tracking the analytics. Make sure you use the insights to adjust your social media strategy.

The Secret to a Recognizable Brand

Sharing your small business’s unique story is the secret to building a recognizable brand. When it comes to standing out from the crowd, a little creativity and personalization can go a long way.

In an ideal world, you could count on satisfied customers to spread the word about your fabulous product and incredible customer service. Unfortunately, your small business doesn’t exist in an ideal world. If you want attention in the market, you need to go out and grab it.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos knows a thing or two about grabbing consumers’ attention through branding. Forbes contributor William Aruda reminds entrepreneurs that Bezos described it as “what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” You might think it’s impossible to control what people say about you, but in fact, you can greatly influence the feelings and emotions people associate with your business through branding.

When you think of branding, your mind likely jumps to your logo and website. While that’s a good place to start, it’s not your only opportunity to cultivate strong brand recognition. As a small business, you should invest time and energy in establishing yourself within the community. Consider creating personalized items to share at local events. Think of it as a next-level business card.

From the items you decide to personalize to the content you share on social media, the creativity you inject into your brand is the secret sauce for building your small business’s reputation. With your product or service, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Through branding, you just need to showcase why your wheel is special. Whether you are running a business with a niche service, like air conditioning, or something more diverse, like eCommerce, you can use HVAC marketing techniques or approaches that can still provide a personalized service to guarantee dedicated custom. This is the key to building a brand that people will come back to again and again.

As you move forward with your plan to turn your small business into a recognizable brand, keep in mind that Apple wasn’t built in a day. With a targeted approach and consistent effort, you will see growth over time.


Jori Hamilton
Jori Hamilton
Jori Hamilton is a writer from the pacific northwest who enjoys covering topics related to social justice, the changing workplace, and technology.

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