As the Wisconsin business climate improves after the great recession we see many companies evaluating and investing more heavily in what their brand communicates. Branding is often one of the most mis-understood and under-utilized tools for small and medium size businesses. Even as a small business, it’s important to focus on branding, but doing so very carefully so it grows your business and doesn’t break the bank.
To think about branding, we need to really understand what branding is, why we need it, and how to make it as effective as possible (especially with limited budgets). The American Marketing Association defines a brand as: a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”
For the purposes of small and mid-size businesses, at Vertz Marketing, we talk to business owners in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin all the time about their brand and we simplify this even further. As a business owner or manager think to yourself: “What do I want my target market to think of my product or service? What perception do I want my ideal customer to have of what I’m selling?” These are the questions to ask yourself to see if your current brand messaging is really aligned with your marketing.
Too many times we see business owners, marketing professionals, and paid ad agencies trying to over-complicate a company’s brand messaging. We see examples all the time of long, drawn out stories trying to explain away what a company’s name, logo, and elements of a company’s history means. For small and medium size businesses, in order to have effective brand messaging, you need to keep it simple so it’s memorable. This is even more true as these businesses don’ t have the budgets to complete against large competitors.
Consumers are inundated with brands constantly every single day. When you think of your own brand messaging for your company, think about what perception you want your customers to have of you. This is your starting point. Now, you can focus every other aspect of your marketing plan around this so that everything that your company does reinforces this messaging.
A few easy tips to know if your brand messaging is working?
- Does your marketing, logo, website, even typography reinforce the perception you want consumers to have of your company?
- Are your employees able to effectively evangelize your brand?
- Are you making it easy for consumers to understand your brand messaging immediately?
- Can consumers easily communicate your brand messaging to other people?
Branding tactics for small and mid-size businesses are very different as these companies need to be much more nimble and efficient with marketing dollars to make a difference and effectively compete against larger companies. If you would like to learn more about our brand messaging strategies for small and mid-size businesses, contact Vertz Marketing in Milwaukee at 414-379-1677.