Personal Branding for the 21st Century Small Business Owner
By Jon Michail
Personal branding isn’t something that is only for the big-name, multi-national corporations; small businesses deserve a branding initiative of their own, as they can benefit immensely from doing so, the caveat being it must be focused on Client Attraction and less flying the brand flag.
Owners and branding
All too many small business owners disregard the importance of branding, and whilst there is an increasing amount of owners out there who are catching on to the notion of branding, there are still those who believe branding isn’t a necessary part of a small business’s operation.
If you’re running a business, where customers are associating your business name with the service you provide: you have a brand. Capitalising on this means developing a strong brand, so the connection between the service and the business is strengthened, and so customers can grow a stronger understanding of what the business is about.
Branding encompasses more than just logos, and finds itself apart of everything in the business: uniforms, mottos, greeting phrases, websites, decor of business premises, etc.
Branding is how customers feel
It doesn’t matter how good you make your service, how many hours you put into your business, or how well thought out the model is, if customers aren’t feeling good about your business, then you won’t have a very strong brand name, and in turn, a business that is meeting its potential.
Branding is essentially a feeling: what customers feel when they think of your business (and that includes all your individual team members). The aim with branding is to evoke a particular feeling within the customer. To achieve this, one must realise that at every transaction, and at every customer interaction, the brand is on display.
Most small business owners cringe at the thought of this, but in fact, exposure to the brand is crucial to the business’s development, and maximising this exposure is a task of paramount importance.
Without sounding cliché, One of the numerous ways to maximise exposure, and at the same time build a new platform for customer engagement, is to create the right social media presence. According to one study, only 26.1% of small businesses have a social media account of any kind — evidence that there are still those out there who don’t understand the power these kinds of modern tools for business may hold.
A social media presence builds a platform for engagement with customers, proves that your business is catering to the demands of the modern consumer, and in turn improves the relationship between the brand and the consumer through the increase of positive feelings.
The end goal
Everything a company does and everything the customers experience with the business, all impact how the brand grows and develops. Understanding how to maximise every contributing factor is essential for every small business owner — it’ll all pay off in the long run, if well planned.
Realising that branding is more than merely a catchy, modern phrase is something that not everybody is yet accustomed to, but the effects a conscious eye on branding can have on a business’s prosperity is undeniable. The 21st Century Small Business Owner owes it to themselves and their business to utilise branding for the betterment of their business, to reach new grounds of success, and to posture their business (brand) above their competitors in the marketplace.
Let me know how your business is profiting from branding.
Jon Michail is Group CEO of Image Group International, an award winning author and recognised Australasia’s No 1 image coach. Image Group International supports executives, entrepreneurs and their organisations to become iconic and monetised leadership brands.
He has been a regular commentator in international media including ABC, CNN, NBC, Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Success, The Financial Review and Vogue.