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August 10, 2012

Building your small business brand is just as important as building a massive corporate reputation. With the right brand message, your business has a competitive advantage and added online brand presence. So, ask yourself the following questions to begin the process of building a successful brand:

  1. Who is your customer? The first thing you need to do is understand your target market. Describe the person who you view needing your product or service. Is your perfect customer a male or female, a person with or without a full time job, or someone in a particular income bracket? Does s/he have kids? Where does s/he live? Identify the customers who you want to deal with, and then begin building your brand around that person. It's important to know who your content will be aimed at online. Increasing your online brand presence needs to be targeted and focussed.
  2. What are your customer’s needs? Once you know who your perfect customer is, you need to list all of their needs, including all of the reasons why your product or service will help satisfy their needs. For example, if you have a home daycare business, does your perfect customer need detailed feedback on what their child did that day, do they need extended hours for late meetings or a long commute, or do they need to know that their children are in a learning environment? Understanding your customers’ needs will help you build your small business brand in a way that makes you the obvious choice for your customers.
  3. What makes you remarkable? What can you say about your business that’s different from your competitors? In order to be remarkable, you need to do something really special. In the same home daycare example, could you consider offering a more flexible schedule? Most institutional daycare centers are open from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. What if you offered customers a fee based on the number of hours they actually need? So, families who need care from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM would pay less than those who need care from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM. What if you offered evening or weekend care? Would that make you remarkable? Think about what do that’s special and different and your brand will stand out.
  4. What messaging targets your customer’s needs and highlights what makes you remarkable? Once you describe your perfect customer and identify your competitive advantage, you need to develop messaging that focuses on how you can meet your customers’ needs in a unique way. You need to do something different and more valuable than what every other business in the industry is doing, or your business will just fade into the background. Maintaining your online brand presence on the internet needs constant work.
  5. What is your company’s voice? Is your company fun and whimsical, or is it serious, professional and knowledgeable? It’s a good idea to make a list of 5 adjectives that describe how you want your business to be viewed and then make sure your messaging and brand (including your writing style) is portrayed in a tone that reflects those adjectives.

The exercise above should take you just a few hours, but it will be invaluable as you build your small business brand to make sure that your online brand presence is working for you. 



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