Branding. Consistency pays off!
Tiny businesses struggle with advertising. Terms like “target audience,” and “share of voice” hardly seem applicable when you’re focused on keeping the lights on. Dollars are at a minimum for mom and pop shops. That’s reason enough to use “branding” as a simple way to stretch those coins further. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Heck, sometimes it’s free. (Uh oh, I used the “F” word. My partners are coming for me now. )
Branding requires consistency. Using common elements to express your businesses’ identity and using them religiously is key. Uniformity bolsters recognition. Here’s some common faux pas we see each and every day.
“Smiling Dentistry” hires us to build a website.
- We register the domain “smilingdentistry.com”
- But they answer the phone “dentist”
- Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s free to make them all match. People are more likely to remember the consistent reinforcement. That’s “brand recognition.”
A chiropractic firm spends big bucks on a beautiful lawn sign.
- It says “acme chiropractic”
- On the bottom is a URL spelling “springfieldchiro.com”
A better use of signage is to match the two.
Small firms often spend money on business cards and websites based on what they think looks attractive. These decisions rarely include a brand through-line. Typically, the print shop knows nothing about the sign maker’s mission. This classic case of “the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing” wastes valuable marketing opportunities. A businesses’ need to reinforce who they are and what they do is critical to success. Small budgets increase the importance of making every single web page and social media post clear, concise and consistent. Branding is your shop’s image so make it dependable. When consumers know your look they’ll trust it and be more likely to walk in the door.
Marketing guru John Williams puts it this way, “Branding extends to every aspect of your business — how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.”
Essentially, be consistent. It seems obvious right? Tell your audience what they can expect from you. It builds a picture of your offerings and how they are different from your competitors’.
At Stout we use our experience to offer cohesion. Our value is delivered by defining small brands then communicating their value via a single, relentless strategy. The art of copy-writing joins graphic design proficiency to make an impact that seeps into the local community.
We recommend a simple inventory to boost awareness and increase word-of-mouth (W.O.M.). Make sure your social media looks and feels like your website. Ditch those cute holiday cards for something that reinforces the sign in front of your business or as Napoleon Hill put it, “Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.”