Defining a strong brand is a really vital step in marketing your small business online. That is because it helps to build trust and credibility with your target audience, and increases consumer confidence in your business.
That is why it is critically important to first of all define your brand before you can successfully market your busines online.
Your brand is what lets people know you’re a real business: a legitimate, functioning business with a real and unique identity.
And a brand with a crystal clear identity is what is going to make you more likeable, credible, trusted and ultimately, more successful.
If you do not have a comprehensive, well-defined brand identity, your target audience is not going to be engaged with you or with your business.
Whatever type of business you run, your brand needs to be the epicentre of your entire online marketing campaign, and it needs to be solid, clear, well-defined and consistent.
What is a brand?
When most people think about branding, they immediately think: name, logo, slogan, color scheme.
Yes all of these things, especially your logo, are a big part of your brand and your brand’s identity.
However, these are just visual representations of your brand.
But your brand is a lot more than the visual elements that represent your business.
Your brand is your reputation. It is the perception that people have of your business. Essentially, your brand is the thoughts that come into people’s heads when they think of your company. The image of your business. It is a mix of your personality, your values, your reputation and more.
As the CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos said, “Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
Your brand is what sets you apart from your competition and every other business in the world that does the same thing that you do. No other business in the world can do what you do in the same way that you do it.
That is what makes your brand unique. That is what makes you stand out and gives you that competitive edge.
That competitive advantage.
One of the most essential ingredients that you need to succeed online is a solid brand identity.
Without a consistent, well-defined brand identity, your audience will not get who you are. They will not understand who you are, what you stand for or what to expect from you.
And if they don’t understand who you are, they will never build a relationship with you or become loyal customers.
According to 64% of consumers, shared values are the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand.
The fact of the matter is, if you want to be successful online, your customers need to like and trust you.
They need to have a relationship with you.
Most importantly, they need to have an emotional connection with your brand.
That is why it is critically important for you to have a well-defined brand.
And to have a well-defined brand, you need to have a solid and consistent brand identity that resonates with your target audience.
This means you need to have a crystal clear picture of exactly what your business stands for, what makes your brand unique, and how your business differs from your competitors.
Essentially, you need to focus on defining your brand before you try to market your business online, especially on social media.
Branding is fundamentally important to the success of any business, especially online.
Now, social media presents the most powerful platform that you can leverage to successfully build your brand online. It has the power to take your business to the next level.
However, for social media to work for your business, you need to have a well-defined brand.
Understanding Brand identity
Brand identity is an aggregate of all of the distinguishing attributes of your business including the visual elements of your brand such as your logo and your color scheme. It also includes your brand personality, your value proposition, your mission and your emotional appeal.
When you have a strong and consistent brand with a strong brand identity, you’re going to stand out and differentiate your business from your competitors. Consistency is the most important aspect of building a strong brand because it helps to build familiarity which in turn builds trust and loyalty for your brand.
And that brand needs to be communicated through everything you say on social media, on your website, in your ads and in your email marketing campaigns,etc.
Now, you don’t have to be an established brand for social media to work for your business.
However, you do need to be a well-defined brand, and ultimately, your customers need to have an emotional connection with your business.
The truth is, we rely heavily on our emotions, especially when we’re making buying decisions. It’s a natural thing. In fact, when it comes down to it, logic plays a minor role when we’re spending money and buying things. And because of this, we need to connect with our target audience on an emotional level if we want them to buy from us, and become our loyal customers.
Tools like, the like button, shares, comments, online reviews, upvotes, testimonials. All of these things tie into the concept of social proof.
And social proof has had a profound impact on consumer behaviour over the years. In fact, social proof plays a major role in buying decisions online.
In business, you cannot underestimate the power of emotions. Most consumers buy for emotional reasons rather than for logical reasons. It really doesn’t matter whether your prices are much cheaper than those of your competitors. If your prospective customers are not emotionally connected with your business, then they are never going to become customers.
Now, I’m not talking about few sales here and there when you slash the prices of your products or services. Using pricing to generate sales from your customers is a very bad strategy. You want people to have an emotional connection with your brand. You want them to be loyal customers and advocates who think about your business first when they need a product or service that you sell without thinking about price. If your customers are only buying from you because of price, then they don’t have an emotional connection with your brand and you will struggle on the long term.
And this happens in real life, not just online.
For example, take Tesco. Tesco is one of the most expensive supermarkets in the UK. But it is the no 1 supermarket with most British consumers despite the fact that many other supermarkets are cheaper than Tesco. It’s all about emotions. British consumers have an emotional connection with Tesco that they don’t have with other cheaper supermarkets.
And that’s why they are number one.
If you want to have a successful online business, you need to tap into the psychology behind why people make buying decisions today. In short, you need to tap into their emotions.
Emotions is why people translate from followers into leads and from leads into customers. That is why you need to really focus on building that that essential emotional connection with your target audience, and it all begins with building and defining your brand.
The bottom line is, if you’re not able to develop that essential, elusive emotional connection with oyur target audience, then your followers are never going to become customers or advocates for our brand.
Now, once you understand this, you need to incorporate that fundamental concept into your online marketing strategy.
No matter the size of your business, whether you’re a one person small business or a large corporation. Your brand is the most important attribute of your business.
And building a strong online brand with powerful social proof is the only way you’re going to get people to buy from your business and be loyal to your business. It is the only way people will consider becoming loyal customers.
Now, logic is behind why a lot of people become followers on social media. If you have a nice social media profile and you post content that people generally find relevant or interesting, most people are going to follow you.
That’s the way it works.
However, becoming a follower is a very different prospect from becoming a paying customer.
For those followers to translate from being followers into leads and from leads into customers, those followers need to have an emotional connection with your brand.
Now, social media has provided a powerful platform for businesses of all types and businesses of all sizes, to build a strong, solid brand online. Never before has there been a better opportunity for businesses to communicate their brand message than through social media.
In fact, social media is the most powerful tool that you can use to market your business online today.
And that is because it provides the opportunity for you to get into the hearts and into the minds of your target audience. Essentially, it presents the ideal opportunity for you to develop that elusive, that essential emotional connection with your customers and with your prospective customers.
And you need to be ready to take advantage by using social media to define your brand and build relationships with your customers and with your prospects.
However, the thing with social media is that it is only going to work for you if you use it the way it is DESIGNED to be used. And make no mistake. Social media can really hurt your brand if your approach is all wrong.
For example, if you don’t have a consistent brand identity, your target audience are not going to be engaged with your brand. And they won’t be engaged with your brand because they don’t trust you or know what to expect from you.
Another thing is, if your conversations on social media are completely one-sided, meaning you are just broadcasting marketing messages at your target audience, you will turn people off. When that happens, your momentum will be dead in the water because it will be almost impossible to recover your brand’s image.
And many small businesses have found this out the hard way.
You need to understand that social media is NOT a broadcast channel. It is a social engagement channel. There’s a massive difference between the two. OK?
Now, in the next video, you’re going to begin the process of building your brand by defining your brand’s personality.
But I hope that you now have a clear understanding of why branding needs to be a fundamental component of your online marketing strategy. Essentially, it is the only way that you can have any chance of being successful online.