Why is a Strong Brand Identity Important for Small Retailers?
Why Your Small Business Needs a Brand (Identity)
If you are running a business or are involved in one, chances are you have come across the term “branding.” The first thing many people think of when they hear that word are giant multinational corporations with iconic logos like Nike, Apple, or Google. But you do not need to be big to have a brand.
If you are still unsure if your business needs a brand, we are here to let you know that yes, it does.
What Exactly Is a Brand?
Whether you like it or not, your business most likely already has a brand identity. A brand identity is the “personality” behind your business. Essentially, it is the impression a consumer gets when interacting with your business.
Your company name? Branding. The way you decided to style your online shop? Branding. Your refund and shipping policies? Also branding. Even if you do not have a fancy logo, your brand exists, and it is important to be aware of it.
A brand is not something only big corporations have or need. It is the identity of your business. Having one is vital for succeeding in today’s market climate. There is a good reason why 82% of investors view strong brands as an important factor when making investment decisions.
The Benefits of a Strong Brand
In today’s demand-driven markets, consumers are almost overwhelmed with choices. Within just a couple of minutes, anyone can browse hundreds of different products by many different brands. So how do people even decide on what to buy?
It is quite simple actually – they buy from the brand (or company) that they personally feel the closest to. Around 64% of consumers believe that shared values help them build a relationship with a brand. If you manage to communicate your values accurately toward your customers, chances are they would accept it and form a bond with your brand.
This is important because loyal customers are worth 10 times more than a single purchase. What’s more, returning customers spend 67% more than during their first purchase.
How to Determine Your Brand Identity
To figure out what your brand identity is, take a step back and look at your business through the eyes of one of your customers. Look at your business card or website – what image are you projecting? Does this image reflect your personal values and beliefs? And, most importantly, is it consistent across every aspect of your business?
Because you are directly involved in the business, you are inherently biased. The best way to accurately determine your brand identity is the traditional customer survey. One way to go about this is to ask them what is the first word that crosses their minds when thinking about your company. If the answers are consistent and in alignment with how you see your business, then you already have a developed brand.
If you have never considered your brand identity, however, chances are there will be some inconsistencies within your message, which can confuse and alienate potential customers. Imagine someone hands you a fancy business card, but upon visiting the URL mentioned on the card, you are greeted with a website that looks like it has not been updated in the last decade.
This is an inconsistency in your brand image, and you can probably tell why that is not a good thing. You want your (potential) customers to immediately know what they are getting. This is a fact, as it has been proven that a consistent brand image can boost revenue by up to 33%.
Consistency Is Key
Should you find that customers are confused by your brand identity, work on strengthening it. Make sure that every contact a customer has with your business feels the same to them, whether it be via your email newsletter, homepage, or even physical store. Stay consistent!
If you are unsure about where to get started, here are a few steps that will get the ball rolling into the right direction:
- Update your social media presence. Unify your brand message across platforms so that customers will know exactly what they are getting from you. Having inconsistent brand messages will lead to consumer confusion and alienate potential customers.
- Engage your audience through content. Long before any customer will ever contact you, they will do their personal research. If you are able to provide them with informative content, they will immediately perceive your brand as more professional.
- Obtain social proof. Try to encourage reviews from happy customers and proudly display them on your website and social media. If you can not find any usable reviews, ask happy customers directly for a testimonial. These things go a long way in building trust and establishing the credibility of your brand.
Taking It to the Next Level
Should you find that you already have a fairly consistent brand, it is important to keep your image as your brand matures. As your business grows, your brand should, too. This does not mean that you should develop a whole new image. Instead, try tweaking it as you go along.
Haven’t changed your logo in years? Maybe talk to a designer and see how it could be modernized without losing the original feeling of it.
The key is to stay true to the brand you create. Once you have built a brand, your customers will start identifying with it. Do not alienate them by suddenly switching it. Keep your messaging and values consistent so that customers can form a strong bond with your brand. The more your customers identify with your brand, the more loyal they become, and the more money they will spend with you.