Branding 101 for Small Businesses

Branding 101 for Small Businesses
Jacqueline Puga
Jacqueline Puga
March 23, 2018
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Today, more than ever, branding is an essential part of any social media strategy for hotels. As our use of technology grows to an almost dependency, we continue to produce content at an incredible rate. With so much content, standing out from the crowd seems nearly impossible. The availability of easily accessible tools used to produce content has sprung competition on every social media channels at an alarming rate. With so many curators on all channels, branding has become more important than ever to distinguish you from your competitors.

Branding sets you apart. Branding is your customer’s view of your company based on every aspect of your company. Every piece of content you produce, every interaction a customer has with your employees, every piece of promotional material that lands in their hands or inbox, it all counts. Basically, anything associated with your company plays a role as a piece of the branding puzzle, no matter how big or how small. With that as our base, lets probe some of the basic concepts of branding that you should consider when creating or maintaining an image for an new or existing business.

First and foremost, the thing to keep in mind is that your image should be a transparent reflection of who you are as a brand. Be transparent in everything you do because sooner or later, the truth will come out. Your brand should correlate closely with your business creating your image is not an opportunity to “make up” who you are, it’s more about dressing up the assets that your already have and to convey them to the public in a clear & digestible way that shows your values. Any message that you put out, whether it be on your website, on your packaging or anything associated with your name, should be a reflection of your core beliefs. Your mission statement should resonate through everything associated with your brand. Even with collaborations, the people and companies you choose to associate themselves with reflects the values of your company. As the rise of influencers continues to skyrocket, many companies may opt for collaborations with influencers or they send brand ambassadors or representatives them at tradeshows and networking event; these collaborators in turn become a part of the brand because they are now associates with your image.

Another aspect of branding is your position in the marketplace. Who are your competitors? What niche in your product a part of? Are you luxury or economic? Geared towards one demographic based on gender, or age? Delve deep into this and figure out as many specifics as you can. The more details you have, the more clarity you will have about your brand!

In addition to creating a strong message, your visual branding should be easily recognizable as well. Choose a color scheme,  fonts, and other visual specifics for your brand. Uniformity in your visual branding allows your message to be delivered in the same visual package on any platform. Consider a style guide, including fonts, colors and specific guidelines, the visual bible of your brand.  Having consistency across all the visuals produced will create a sense of trust with consumers because you will create and meet the same expectations each time. Social media is just one of the ways which you can convey your visual brand, but remember that anything related to your brand can be shaped in a way that unifies your visuals and messages to the values and goals of your company.

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