The determined ones who continue to keep small businesses running often times get caught up in everyday operations and life in general. Between juggling roles in leadership, sales, marketing, finance, and everything else on the ever-growing checklist of business development tasks, taking the time to try something new and different can feel not only impossible sometimes, but it can also feel a bit risky and uncomfortable.
The truth is, most small businesses don’t need a giant budget and team of brand strategists to build an effective plan and get results.
In this blog post, we cover five effective strategies that you can implement right away for no cost to help you feel the satisfaction of achieving business goals, winning back your time, and doing more of what you love.
Define Your Value Proposition
One of the most powerful tools that businesses can leverage is having a clear and memorable value proposition. Your value prop is the promise that your organization makes about the value you give and the experience your customers have. Value propositions tell potential customers why they should do business with you rather than the competition and make those points clear from the beginning. Your value prop should solve deeper than surface-level problems and explain on an emotional level how customers’ lives or situations are improved by choosing your business.
If I asked you or some of your team members to recite the most important value that your organization delivers to customers, would everyone have clear and concise responses? If you answered no or unsure, then I encourage your team to explore the company value proposition further to determine what that is and how you will communicate that value in each customer interaction.
Your value proposition is intended for humans to connect with. It shouldn’t be filled with fancy buzzwords and meaningless jargon. When crafting the value proposition for your small business, ensure that you are using appropriate language that allows you to be clearly understood and connect on a deeper level in your messaging and brand communications.
Get to Know Your Audience
It may seem obvious to small businesses who their audience and customers are. Some have regulars and long time supporters, but that’s not always the case. Nevertheless, it’s always powerful to understand the reasons why people connect with your business and what influences them to support, return, and even share your business with others. When you understand the lens that your target customers see the world through, you’ll be able to make a real difference.
Some organizations have a challenging time identifying who their ideal customers are and they try to target everyone. The notion of trying to satisfy everyone tends to get uninteresting and can leave an empty feeling where the heart of your brand should be alive and well.
One helpful exercise that your company can implement right away to get a better understanding of customers is to create personas and user journeys for (either real or make-believe) ideal customers. Documenting their demographics, psychographics, expectations, obstacles, loves, interests, and understanding what compels them to engage gives you information that helps you turn a regular customer into a loyal advocate of your brand. When you have a collection of these personas and user journeys, you can analyze the information to find common ground between all of your customers and learn how they are all delighted by brands.
Create Your Brand Positioning
Unless the problems that your business solve are extremely specialized, chances are there is a market for the products you sell or the services you provide. If you want to stand out, earn trust, and thrive in your competitive market, you need to be conscious of your position in that space. Are you the largest company, a smaller player, or a newcomer? Where does your company strive to be? How much current awareness is there of your business in that market? All of these questions will help create clarity for your team and help position your brand to communicate in an appropriate way. The objective is to enable your brand archetype, voice, and personality to speak in a relatable language as your ideal customers communicate. When they know you, and like you, it will be easier for them to trust you.
We can’t talk about brand positioning without analyzing competing businesses. In order to disrupt and differentiate, you need to understand who your competitors are and how they are branding. Are there certain colors or visual styles you need to avoid using because they are used by competitors? Small businesses that build customer loyalty define what sets them apart and makes them the preferred choice.
Communicate Your Mission, Vision, Purpose, & One-Liner
In the early development of your business, in times of transition, and over extended periods of time, it’s important to define (or re-define) the values of your organization. In other words, pinpoint and document the reasons why your organization exists, what you stand for, what makes you special, who you connect with, and so on. The result of answering these questions creates a strong foundation and offers clarity and confidence when it’s time to make important business decisions. It enables you to align your business’s goals with the needs of the people you serve.
When your team and your customers both clearly understand what it is that you stand for and can clearly communicate that message, it creates memorable experiences and lasting connections. Many brand strategists and brand identity designers offer free resources and discovery calls to help you define these areas of your business. Remember, the more understanding and self-awareness your company has, the more you can immerse that identity into your branding.
As your company evolves over time, so may your values, but initially, it is vital to create a baseline that defines who you are and what you represent.
What Story are You Telling?
Since the beginning of humankind, we have been captivated by communication and the art of storytelling. So why wouldn’t you take advantage of the power of storytelling in your business? When it comes to building a brand that people love, brand stories should have their own special place in the spotlight.
A brand story is a compelling narrative that positions your business in a unique way and creates emotional connections with customers. It offers your audience a look into the heart and soul of the brand you are working to build. The idea of your brand story should be simple while enabling the brand personality to shine. It needs to express the reason why the company exists on a deeper level than just making money. Do you solve a specific problem? Do you support a social cause or have a giveback campaign?
When you can clearly express why, how, and what you do showcasing your purpose and aspirations, you showcase the humility of your brand and build more meaningful connections. A great brand story doesn’t just discuss brand history, it inspires change and calls for an emotional response.
If you or your team feels lost trying to grow your business, there might not be a better time than right now to take a step back and assess some important foundational details about your business. After all, you can’t expect to get the results you seek doing the same things that have gotten you to where you are now.
If you feel like these brand strategies can help you get your small business to the next level, feel free to start implementing them either on your own or seek a creative partner or branding specialist to help guide you through more specialized solutions.
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