The best advice you can give anyone starting out in business is, “to start the way you’d like to end”.
What do we mean by this? It simply means no matter how new or small your business is, you need to look and operate like a great brand right from the start. We meet motivated, passionate small business owners daily, wanting to grow their business, generate more leads, sales and website traffic. But, often they share another common trait, namely the failure to grasp the importance of having a great brand and everything it entails.
Yes, it’s your logo and visuals – a great brand deserves a great logo, graphic design and visuals. This often determines whether customers select, remember and refer you, or not. No business can afford to lose out on business simply because they have a poor looking brand and visuals.
But, a great logo, design and visuals alone won’t make your brand great. Your brand is everything you are and do every day.
It’s your strategy
If you and your staff don’t know where you’re going or how you’re going to get there, then that misdirection becomes your brand – no matter how impressive your logo or company name.
It’s your people
Your people and the way they represent you is your brand. Having good people that have bought into your strategy and that are qualified, passionate and committed to the company’s goals is critical. If they aren’t, then more often than not, they won’t care less about the job they’re doing, and this will become the way in which your brand is perceived.
It’s your call to action
The reason and message you portray to customers as to why they should buy from you and not somebody else. Remember if you don’t deliver what you promise, this will create a disconnect with your brand and that is how people will see your brand and what they will share with others
It’s the way you speak and sell to customers
People are tired of being bombarded with sales calls and being forced into buying things. Today it’s all about the customer journey; how you can help your clients solve their problems and overcome their challenges, how you will treat them and what value will you continue to add to their lives. If you really care and deliver then that is how people will see your brand.
It’s your customer service
It’s the way you talk and listen to people, it’s the time you take to respond and resolve their problems, it’s the knowledge you impart in this process. If you treat clients with respect and show that you really want to help them and fix their problems and demonstrate to them, that at that moment it is the most important priority in your business, then that is how they will see your brand.
It’s how you communicate with people.
It’s the way you answer the phone, it’s the time it takes to answer the phone, get to speak to the right person or you have to wait for people to get back to you. If your execution is poor, then that is how people will see your brand.
In this digital day and age your interface online is your brand
Your brand and how people perceive it, is defined by every touch point you have with them, be it on your website, your email or mobile.
Your website interface
If it is not engaging or incomplete, looks old, takes long to load, is not up to date and the navigation is not intuitive, then that is how people will experience your brand.
Your Email interface
Every email you send is an opportunity to build your brand, add value, drive traffic to your website and impress the recipient. If your email is just blank, or doesn’t enhance your brand, or is inconsistent with staff using different background colours, icons and fonts, then that is how people will see your brand
Your mobile interface
If your website is not optimized for mobile and people has to zoom and scroll when using their mobile to browse your website, then this poor experience becomes they way they see your brand.
Embedding QR codes on all your print and marketing materials not only makes your brand more interactive and accessible but show that you are innovative – resulting in a positive experience with your brand. Even every document you send digitally is a reflection of your brand.
Ultimately, your brand is about caring about your business and customers at every level and in every detail, from your mission to every interaction you have with every client, no matter how big or small.
Whether you know it or not, like it or not . . . you have a brand. The question simply is: Is the brand you currently have the one you really want?