Brand this. Brand that. Personal branding. Brand development. Brand research. Brand awareness.

YOUR small business isn’t Apple, it isn’t Levi’s and it isn’t Coke. You have to stand out in ways that don’t use old-school advertising and before you even start marketing you must know

what makes your business unique?

Do you accommodate customers with flexible or unique hours? Do you have specialists on-site? Have you received any particular awards or accolades? Do you have a high percentage of repeat customers? Has the business been family owned and operated since its inception? Is your location super convenient? Do your customer service representatives wear funny hats?

Something about your company IS different

Getting a cool logo is nice and you want a logo that represents your business. Buying billboard space is 100% passive. You need to get customers in the door or on your e-commerce site and you need to do it now! Brand awareness will not do this! Even Coke encourages buyers to interact via Coke Rewards Points (tiny hard-to-read codes on the inside of bottle caps are saved up and redeemed for products or sweepstakes entry). That’s a Call to Action, folks. You want your potential customers to DO something. But before you ask a potential customer to do anything

you have to be able to tell them WHY they should do business with YOU and NOT your competitor!

Branding is your letterhead, your packaging, your advertising. It is not the reason people sign up, come in, call, and PURCHASE, though it can inform customers of your USP and who you are as a company. Branding helps create an image of your company in the consumer’s mind but it doesn’t tell them why they should give you their money.

If you haven’t already, sit down and brainstorm 10+ reasons you would honestly recommend your company or your services to a potential buyer. Then ask your employees and your best customers for things you might have overlooked. Know your USP. Let it inform your brand because it will always be the thing your customer cares about.

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by Steven Schlagel