Business leaders and managers seeking to make a difference to their companies were gathered at NETPark this morning.
Trevor and I were on hand to deliver their ‘Building Your Brand’ presentation, aimed at helping SMEs find new ways to better engage with their customers.
The busy breakfast session focused on the importance of branding, with advice and guidance based on many years spent growing healthcare businesses, large and small, local and international.
One of the key messages was about understanding the basic do’s and don’ts of branding. Here are 8 useful pointers for small businesses embarking on their first branding exercise:
To make your brand a success:
• Set brand guidelines - One of the essential values to a small business brand is that it’s familiar. Without defined guidelines for your logo, colour palette, typography, imagery or voice, your branding efforts will lack consistency and direction.
• Understand your brand’s power - Branding is a way of defining your business and your identity. A well-defined brand will ensure you and your staff stay on message and embody the personality that your customers can relate to.
• Connect and intrigue - Quality graphic design in your marketing materials will demonstrate your professionalism and create a sense of trust and value for your brand. If you’re sharing a message, make sure it’s branded and easily recognisable as being from your business. If your customers enjoy your messages, they will share them with others and reinforce your brand.
• Be original - If you’re an SME, don’t feel you have to imitate your larger competitors. Carve out your own identity. Be innovative, bold and stand for what you believe in. If your ambition is growth, can your brand be up-scaled to look investable?
Remember not to:
• Create a vague or overly complex brand - First impressions set the standard for every future interaction with a brand. How effectively you communicate your brand can have more impact on your success than the product itself. Clean, simple elements are often more recognised and remembered, so move away from over-complicating branded imagery and messages.
• Make the brand about you - It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of creating a brand image or identity that is all about you and the things that are personal to you and your journey up to that point. Keep the end user or purchaser in mind. What speaks to those people? Is your image saying the right thing about your product, or is it alienating the age range or professionals you’re targeting? Your branding should appeal to them and not necessarily to you.
• Be afraid to protect the way your brand is used - After developing brand guidelines, be proactive about monitoring how your branded elements are being used. Place your marketing collateral on the table and see if it is aligned. Consistency gives companies the opportunity to become sustainable brands, build trust, recognition and greater profits, and generate an emotional response from customers.
• Do it all by yourself – Taking the step to organise and plan your branding while your business is still small is very wise, but make sure you seek advice and support. Poorly executed branding can cost you sales and turn off potential investors and employees. Investing in quality support for your branding could offer big rewards in the future.
Is your branding on track? If you’re entering or seeking growth within the healthcare market, Onyx Health are perfectly placed to support you and guide you through the branding process.
The ‘Building Your Brand’ presentation is available in full from Onyx Health, or you can register your interest in their free training sessions, held at their Hoults Yard office in Newcastle. Simply call the team on 0191 640 3638 or email email@example.com for more information.
See you again soon for more breakfast and networking!