By Saul McGoveran
Branding that gives prospects and current customers the warm fuzzies will give any small business marketing campaign an edge on the competitors. We're talking about customers who couldn't imagine supporting any other product or service because they are so loyal and pleased with their experience at your business. Think sunshine and rainbows—is your small business brand making people that happy? Need a few tips to get there? Here are a few strategies for entrepreneurs looking to help people fall in love with your brand:
Be memorable, not modern
Most people are creatures of habit and are most comfortable using things they recognize and are familiar with. Not convinced? Think back to Gap's rebranding attempt—and epic fail—circa 2010. The company took its tried and true, 20-year-old logo and changed it to something they hoped would appeal to potential customers. Unfortunately, existing customers weren't pleased. They wanted their memorable logo back!
Thankfully, Gap decided to ditch the new logo in an effort to keep customers happy after gauging reactions on social media sites. But there's an important lesson to be learned here: Be memorable, not modern. If people recognize the current company's branding and are comfortable with the product, why mess with a good thing?
Consistency is key
There may be no greater indicator that a company is trustworthy than its track record of consistency. This is tough for businesses that specialize in a single product, but it can become exponentially more challenging when trying to create consistency over multiple product lines and services.
Small business owners who offer customers multiple product options must first guarantee that every offering passes the company's test, meaning all are reflective of the business in a really great way. Start by doing some deep thinking to decide what it is that people will get from every single product—will they make their lives easier or save them time?—then run with it. Send consistent marketing messages to make the transition easier for people who love one product to move to another product.
Find a niche without overextending or limiting the company
Remember when we said people love what they are familiar with? It really could not be more true, and it's key for brands to be recognizable. Imagine how people would react if Purina—a popular pet food brand—started making snacks for people? Even if the snacks were bacon flavored and delicious, it's likely customers would react negatively and the company would suffer because it's so far from what Purina really does.
Small businesses shouldn't feel limited to a certain product or offering, but it may be in their best interest to build on what they're good at rather than trying to delve into completely uncharted waters.