Celebrating the people behind British small businesses

How to effectively build your business into a brand

Written by Naomi Webb

Ask people to tell you their favourite brand name and you’ll not only gain a name, but also most likely a window into their psychology. Brands hit different buttons for different people; they talk to us and tell us what their business is about, and how they achieve this. There’s a huge amount of emotion and anecdote and story invested in successful brands, and that takes time to build. With this in mind, here are a few pointers to help you on your way to turning your business into a brand:

Define your brand

Before you start, stand still and really define what it is that you stand for. You don’t need to exactly mimic an aspirational big brand that is similar, but you can use one as a template. What are its values and attitudes? What is important to senior staff and employees? How would it respond in a given situation? Where does it source its products?

Be consistent with your brand image

A stark, stern tone of voice for a child’s entertainer or a ‘happy-go-lucky’ voice for an accountancy firm might each seem strangely incoherent. That said, if these are the personas that you always adhere to, and they always work, then stay with them. Customers will know what to expect from say, a florist specialising in funeral flowers or a leasing company dealing with Volkswagen vehicles and what these brands stand for. Part of this package is creating a website that looks the part, with strong SEO; a layout, font and design that ‘works’; a call-to-action for any big offers; and contact details.

Be yourself

Don’t try to mimic big brands, or downright copy them. You are your own brand and have your own customers and expectations, which will surely be different from high street giants or global multinationals. Talk to people as you would expect they want to be spoken to.

Utilise social media 

A swift way of gaining a huge network of supporters and devotees, who can spread the message about your brand; its stock, its ethos, its services and its way of dealing with clients. All posts should follow that consistent voice and respond to any queries in a similar vein. Similarly, don’t post irrelevant or jarring content; instead, tweet about industry matters, new stock and offers, local or national news affecting your industry, and other important information.

Brand as a publisher

This phrase has been around for a while, but in 2017 expect it to really take off. Essentially, big brands have now become content producing titans, telling and producing fantastic stories in digital form. For example, Red Bull has been described as “a publishing empire that also happens to sell a beverage”, creating mindblowing productions such as people throwing themselves from space and diving boards that grab your attention.

The upshot for your business is that production can enhance and build your brand name through what you create as much as you sell, and what it means. Looking at yourself as a publisher translates to a certain shift in mindset, and perhaps a reallocation of resources (or using a content marketing company). Above all, go for quality over q