Brand awareness could seem like the latest buzzword floating around, but understanding what it is and why it is important will make a huge difference to marketing your small business.
Brand awareness describes how recognisable your business or product/service is simply through your name. The aim is to build trust in your brand so that people will easily recognise it, therefore generating long term benefits to your business.
To provide examples think of Woolworths, with their colours, logo, slogan and all the information they aim to provide customers. Another example is Nike, the logo stands out on its own to remind us who they are. These brands have built over a long period of time to get this recognition, which is largely built on trust.
It is important to understand that brand awareness is a perception based concept. While perception is personal from one person to the next, there are steps you can take to ensure a positive image.
Put simply there is strategy associated with brand awareness, chitsuk provide a simplified version, each of these will be discussed in detail.
Visual Identity and Small Business
Every single thing a person can see about your business or product/service forms part of your visual identity. When you think of the brands like Woolworths and Nike, one of the things that comes to mind is visual cues. It is important.
Visual Identity – Colours and Fonts Matter
The first step in forming a visual identity is to have a logo and slogan with carefully thought out fonts and colours. Careful thought is needed because this will form an image of your business and considering your target market is important. Simple considerations like colour and font can have a huge impact.
When working out which colour and font stands out to you, consider the service provided. Consider the industry you are in and the message the audience needs to receive. If it is professional, for example, then a standard font with colour combinations that include a darker colour would assist to invoke trust. However if the industry is a trade, as an example, trust can still be built but a sense of fun can be added so using a comic font, with some bright colours could provide the message you are after.
The colours and fonts are used throughout your business and particularly in logo design and business correspondence.
Small Business Logo
Logos leave a lasting positive impression of your business, and therefore one of the most important investments a small business can make. With font and colours chosen, a unique design that promotes your small business is created. A logo shows everyone who your business is, so it should give a clear and honest impression of your small business and what it stands for. Graphic designers will discuss your business with you, to get an understanding, in order to create a design to match.
Small Business Slogan
A business slogan is short and gets to the point with the aim of grabbing people’s attention very quickly. An example, who do you think of when “The Fresh Food People” are mentioned? A slogan should be short and honest and very quickly tell a story of your business with the aim of attracting people and giving them a reminder of who you are. Graphic designers will incorporate your slogan into your logo.
At every stage of your visual presence your fonts, colours, logo and slogan are important. These can be placed and used in everything visual your business represents. Examples being product packaging, promotional material, business cards, stationery, social media marketing, uniforms, a storefront (if you have one), vehicles (if required), business documents and letters can use the fonts and colours in headings, and have the logo placed either in a corner or a title page. These are simply examples the use is endless. Anything visual about your business should use your logo and branding fonts and colours, as it aids in people remembering your brand, and creates a flow in the information you are sending out.
We all understand and have seen a lot how logos and slogans are used in a variety of ways, but have you carefully considered its impact on social media?
Visual Identity and Social Media
Social media networks are very visual by nature so taking the time to consider your visual identity on social media is important. An effective way of branding is to ensure every image you post has your logo presented, this could be through your product or store front, or placing your logo onto the image. If you feel it takes away from the image too much, there are ways to make it a little transparent, so it is still there and can be noticed but doesn’t take away from the image. If you add writing to the image, then ensure the fonts and colours you have used in your logo are used. These are gentle reminders but it adds greatly to how you are viewed and helps to build trust. Also, for you, it showcases your pride in your small business.
Positive Visuals for Small Business
This then leads to positive visuals. Ensure that every single message you send out through your small business is positive or portrays the message you want to send out. If a topic is not a positive one, take the time to make the message be customer focused with images to match. An example could be at an indoor playcentre with a ball pit, with the problem of the balls constantly out of the ball pit, a sign might help warn parents. An example of a negative message could read “Don’t throw the balls out of the pit” and a positive message could read “Please leave the balls in the pit”. They say exactly the same thing, but one is providing a positive tone, the same can be done with the imagery you use. Make sure it matches what you want to say and comes across as positive. This images used on social media help to provide a customer service experience, and provide a lot of information about your business. Added they leave a lasting impression, as someone might like one post then want to know more, therefore everything you post has an impact. Make sure it counts.
Small Business Reputation
Reputation is so important for business success. It defines how people see your small business, and how they feel about it. In today’s business environment, with large corporations having let down customers so badly, people now more than ever will turn to small businesses over purchasing through larger ones. It is important to note, that with greater access to the internet people are more inclined to research your small business before purchasing from you.
Everything you put out helps to build your business reputation. The easiest way to think of reputation, no matter the format used is CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Customer Service and Small Business
Customer service refers to any communication from your small business. This could be directly selling to a customer, business correspondence, your website, your social media marketing, the way your present yourself at sales pitches, any networking, discussions with suppliers and freight companies. In fact every single time you engage with people about your business.
If you consider every time you engage with people a customer service opportunity then it simplifies the importance of everything you do with your small business.
Websites are a great form of communicating and providing customer service, and you may never need to talk directly to your customer. A website provides information, educates about the product/service and business and provides avenues for customers to get all their needs met quickly and easily. In fact, search engines, look Google, put a lot of value into essentially the customer service you provide on your website, as it shows that you are a business of quality and it can assist to increase your rankings on search engines.
Social Media is another form of direct customer service, as you have a means to communicate with both current and potential customers. This engagement can lead to conversations, and the main aim is conversion of interest into leads. Therefore everything you post on social media helps gain reputation for your small business. Make every post and comment on others count.
Customer service efforts to consider at every opportunity, include:-
- Help other people reach their goals or fulfil their needs
- Do your best to make others look good
- Always go a little bit beyond what’s expected or requested
- Ensure professional approach taken to your website, office layout, business documents, social media, anything that represents the business.
- Be mindful of body language
- Be positive in your approach
- Readily provide information and educate others
- Understand your industry to provide expert advice
- Act with integrity
- Be consistent through all avenues of communication
- Be engaged in communities you are a part of
Small Business Marketing and Influence
Brand awareness makes up the majority of your marketing campaigns and it takes time to see the effects because it is about building trust long term.
Well designed marketing campaigns and promotions won’t have any impact if no one knows who you are.
Small Business Marketing Educates and Informs
Marketing and influence provides quality information and educates people as to who your small business is and what products/services you sell. It is this education that allows your small business to stand out from the crowd, and establish relationships with your audience.This is why brand awareness is so important.
Today brand awareness is done through so many ways, some small and some bigger, and it all adds to the marketing efforts you put into place. For many small and micro businesses, money is a factor in marketing budgets, and people turn to social media and Google My Business in order to attract customers. It is effective.
Every marketing effort should be designed to showcase your business personality and what it stands for, the industry knowledge you have, an understanding of the product/service you provide and how to fulfil the needs of your customers. Marketing in every sense portrays who your small business is to your audience.
Content Writing for Small Business
Today, with information being readily available content writing is increasingly important and adds to marketing efforts. So what is content writing? Content writing refers to anything written for the internet, so it includes information provided on websites, blogs, social media posts, even comments made to others posts can be considered content.
Content writing should provide customer service skills at every opportunity, as it is directly communicating with customers. Therefore ensuring the best customer service is really important.
Blogs for Small Business
Blog writing is considered important to any social media marketing campaign, and it provides quality information, and educates people. Creating a story around the brand helps to ensure that the blogs written flow. They can be used to introduce your business, help when rebranding, provide product knowledge and information, updated industry information, introduce new products/services or ranges as examples.
Important Content Writing Considerations
Content writing has some elements that require careful consideration.
Content writing for websites and blogs assist with Search Engine Optimisation (seo) which means it helps your business rank higher when searched for in places like Google and Bing. Therefore researching keywords and using them naturally into what is written is very important. These may not just be words but small sentences, and when done right, you would never know the writer took the time to research and write using them.
The length of sentences should be short. The reason for this is that snapshots of information can be used when you research online and it has more impact if an entire sentence or paragraph is used rather than a part out of context. It ensures wherever used the message can’t get mixed up. Short sentences also aid in creating headings and website, where bits of information can be used in more than one place, and it always the web designer greater use in terms of design.
Projecting the personality of the business is important, because this helps with brand awareness. It helps to build trust around your brand, and so what is written should reflect your small business.
Ensuring the message you want said is said and including these things can seem rather difficult, and if unsure accessing a content writing or digital marketer will help to achieve this.
Value and Price for Small Business
Every single person will purchase according to value.
Value is the means by which people measure whether a product/service is worth purchasing or not. Value and price are often linked, however they are times when other elements affect value more than price. Having the right price set on products and services can have a positive impact on brand awareness because people will associate your brand as being of good value. Brand awareness, by providing quality information and education about your small business and product/service helps to increase the value to the customer. This in turn adds to justifying the prices set. Price can be seen as a measure of value.
Small Business Performance
Customers will look for reviews before purchasing from your small business and the reviews given have a huge impact on your small business success.
People are more inclined to go to businesses that have been referred to, because it proves the business has gained trust and can deliver what they say they can.
Did you know that word of mouth marketing results in 5 times more sales and people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from someone recommending a brand, this information is provided by invespcro.
Added to that, today is much easier for customers to provide feedback and reviews through social media and online forums. With information readily available, 97% of customers will look online for reviews, according to brightlocal in 2017.
This means that the performance of your business is extremely important, with the majority of your customers having researched you before doing business with you.
While these reviews are perception based they do have a huge impact and the customer service you provide at every stage of communication can leave a lasting impression, therefore make each encounter matter.
Small Business Promotion and Networking
Small Business Promotion
Brand awareness is not about bringing in direct sales but keeping your small business in the minds of your target customer. Promotion is the direct marketing you do to promote your business and products/services. This should be in line with all brand awareness strategies you are using to ensure consistency. Promotion itself is a form of brand awareness because it promotes your small business. Therefore being mindful is key.
Small Business Networking
Community engagement is important in business today. There are a few reasons for this, loss of trust in bigger corporations, access to social media networks and society trends are amongst the reasons. This variety shows there is a wide range of reasons associated with this.
Therefore creating a community around your brand is extremely important, as it provides a sense of belonging, professional growth, mutual support, access to resources, increased customer rate and valuable information about what your customers are after for future growth.
Networking can also come in the form of professional networking with other businesses, this also leads to brand awareness and people understanding who your business is. This is also community engagement. Some tips for networking:-
- Have fun – let people get to know who you are and enjoy engaging with them
- Don’t be afraid of controversy – the aim isn’t to agree with everyone but for people to get to know you, it allows you to stand out from the crowd
- Use social media on a regular basis, this helps to connect with communities and networks and to create your own based on your brand
- Share your passion – there is no better marketing than being passionate about what you do!
- Don’t sell – instead provide information and educate
- Connect on LinkedIn – this is great for not only connecting with those interests in what you offer but connecting with professionals in your industry
- Create a Facebook group – this gives those in your community the opportunity to engage and interact and to feel part of the community, like a secret club almost, and adds to the sense of belonging
Continuous Business Improvement
Businesses always have the opportunity to improve. Listening is vital to ensure that the improvements are in line with customer expectations and industry standards and improvements.
Staying current and continuous improvement assists brand awareness because it shows those associated with your small business that staying current is important, and the ability to follow what is required is of value to you.
This is done by listening, as mentioned. By listening to your customers and brand community you can better understand how to expand your business or make changes that are in line with fulfilling their needs. This will help to ensure that they feel that sense of belonging and valued that comes with being in a community, and that your business growth is a success.
Within your industry, paying attention to what your competitors are doing, and what advances are happening within your industry can ensure you provide your customers with the most current information and products/services and can adjust as required.
Staying current with your industry also means that you are able to meet industry standards, and
whilst not important for all industries, it can be vital for others.
Improvement is understanding what is happening around the business and the ability to respond to it, in order to best suit the needs of those interacting with it. When you are able to listen and respond, you are showing you customers that you are current with all trends and adaptable.
What Brand Awareness Means for Small Business
Brand awareness is the perception people have of your small business and providing the best customer services at every opportunity can help to ensure that your brand grows into one that people trust. It is this trust in a brand that generates leads that convert to sales and is important in today’s business world.
Taking into account your visual identity, reputation, marketing and influence, value and price, performance, promotion and networking and continuous improvement you will go a long way in creating a long term positive brand awareness around your small business.
Brand awareness is about attracting people to you and your business and therefore it is applicable to small and micro businesses as well as big businesses.