Many small businesses struggle to find an audience, often because they haven’t been able to create a brand. If you fall into this category, here are 5 tips for creating a distinctive brand from Entrepreneur.com:
Start with a vision, not a product.
Customers want to invest in a culture rather than simply buy a product. “Focus on your attitude, not just your products,” advises Moorea Seal, creator of Moorea Seal (mooreaseal.com), a lifestyle brand that curates handmade designers from across the U.S. Your unique story will quickly differentiate your business. Seal initially had no money. Her story and approach were all she had to stand out, so she shared her vision through social media rather than advertising. “People are smart and see through classic marketing easily.”
Interact with your customers. Constantly.
Two-way interaction with customers, however many, is the key to building a brand quickly. Hint Water’s customers constantly express why they love the product -- reasons CEO Kara Goldin may never have known about, such as helping them cope with diabetes or cancer. “People want to engage, and there is real value in actually listening to them. They’ll tell you how and where they use the product, what they care about, and why they buy it,” says Goldin. “If you want to be more than a flash-in-the-pan, a sticky brand needs true customer interaction.” In fact, Hint recently launched a direct-to-consumer channel just to get closer to their customers. (drinkhint.com)
Seal feels the same way. “Our investment in social media is key. Our customers want to be invited in and welcomed, so we constantly share personal stories and curate items they love. We can give them what they want.” Founded as an Etsy jewelry shop and blog, this approach grew the company to one million Pinterest followers, which spawned an online store and, in 2014, a retail location.
Find your own voice and tribe.
For KURA, the brand-building process was an evolution (kurastrength.com). “We developed organically as a collective,” says Melissa Guitron, founder and owner. “Initially, we ran our sessions at a local track, in a client’s garage.” This collective mindset of everyone pitching in is at the heart of KURA’s brand and informs all aspects, from the copy to the colors to the programming. “It’s easy to lose sight of your message when there’s so much competition. That confusion makes you do crazy things! But we found our own voice and identified our ideal clients so we could make smart decisions that stretched our start-up budget further.” Find out who your customers really are and what they want and stick to that rather than trying to position all over the place.”