Branding for Success


What does it mean to ‘brand’ your business? What does ‘branding’ entail? How can you successfully build a brand to leverage your business? Are branding and marketing two different concepts?

These are the FAQs that we love to hear from our customers! Why? Because branding is one of the most important, if not the most important aspect to small business success! Success and unified branding are directly correlated.

Over the course of this article, I plan to answer our FAQs about ‘branding’ your small business. Hopefully you find the answers you were looking for and get inspired along the way.

What does it mean to brand your business?

Let me preface my answer to this question by stating an important fact: branding is not the same for every business. There are no ‘blanket’ branding strategies, there are simply fundamental principles that should guide your branding strategy. It is up to you, as the brand manager or small business owner to build upon these principles to create a healthy, engaging brand!

To brand your business means to give your business a purpose. Think of branding as the third dimension of a three-dimensional image. You exist as a brand, and you sell products and services, of course, but how do you make your business pop?

You pursue a branding strategy, that’s how. Branding adds depth to your business.

A Quick Lesson in Branding

Think about your favorite brand for a minute, and write it down on a sticky note… What did you put down?

I chose Free People.

On that same sticky note, write down your favorite part about the brand.

Favorite Part

I wrote: “They don’t just try to sell me clothes, rather, they encourage the ‘free people’ lifestyle with lookbooks, tutorials, and more…”

What was your favorite part about your favorite brand?

Chances are, your favorite part about your favorite brand has to do with their brand strategy rather than just their products. If you think your answer doesn’t have to do with branding, think again!

I received the following answers when I asked ‘What is your favorite part about your favorite brand?’

  • They send helpful emails about their products and services, so I can apply their use to my daily life
  • They post funny Facebook memes about their products or services
  • Their products and services are very chic
  • Their support team is very helpful and considerate
  • They always have a very helpful discount on their products and services

Think these bullet points have nothing to do with branding? Think again! All of these answers are actually the direct result of a branding strategy.

Let’s learn more…

What does ‘branding’ entail?

A branding strategy is very different from a marketing strategy in that it encompasses every aspect of your business, not just lead generation.

Your brand is your company’s voice.

If your marketing department has a fun, engaging voice, but your customer service department is dry and unengaging, your branding strategy is off.

Successful branding is when your sales, customer service, training, marketing, and finance departments operate with a unified voice. branding, Trade Only

Think of branding as a healthy body.

When all of your body’s systems are in sync, you have a perfectly healthy body. If, however, you suffer from swollen lymph nodes, your body’s immune system is weak, and you are more likely to suffer from a condition or a disease which will affect your body’s overall functionality.

A healthy brand is a direct result of high functionality among all departments.

Branding includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Customer service/support
  • Digital marketing
  • Traditional marketing
  • Sales efforts
  • Training and education
  • Data functionality
  • Disaster preparation
  • Employee presentation
  • Networking efforts
  • And more…

Every miniscule movement your business makes contributes to your overall branding efforts, whether directed to the public or completed in the confinements of your office.

Sound a bit exaggerated?

Most likely, but it’s the truth.

A Quick Lesson in Branding

Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to speak with two friends about their work life. Here is the result of both conversations:

Conversation #1: 

Me- How is work going?

Friend #1- It’s great! I love my job.

M- That’s great to hear! Anything in particular that makes you feel so strongly about your company?

F1- I have only been working for The Company for 4 months, and they have recently given me more responsibility on my accounts. It allowed me to have the opportunity to speak directly with my clients, whether out to lunch or over a conference call. It has helped me feel more connected to both my clients and my company. The people I work with are great and inspiring; I just love the vibe in the office.

M- How amazing! Congratulations on your responsibility promotion. Your company sounds great! I look forward to hearing more about The Company in the future.

Result: I left the conversation with a great taste in my mouth about The Company. If I run into a situation where I need PR representation, I will most definitely keep The Company in mind.

Conversation #2

Me- How is work going for you? I know last time we spoke, you had some issues with your manager at The Business; has that been mediated?

Friend #2- It has been awful. I am in constant conflict with my new manager, and it creates a really hostile workplace. I don’t think I can work in that sort of environment for much longer; if I’m miserable showing up to work every day, it really isn’t worth it.

Me- Wow. I’m sorry to hear that. I agree with you, it most certainly isn’t worth it. Say ‘Bye’ to The Business!

Result: I trust the judgment and opinion of my dear Friend #2. If they are in direct conflict with management at their workplace, I have immediately lost trust in The Business. Whether subconsciously or consciously, I developed a resentment towards The Business, and if I need to purchase top-of-the-line artwork for my future home, I will most certainly be looking elsewhere.

I included this example in ‘Branding for Success’ because branding your business is more than just the face your business presents to the public. Your brand commences with your employees, your work environment, and the efforts of your departments as a whole. 

One irked employee can ruin your brand reputation. 

If you think that Friend #2’s simple vent stopped with me, you’re sadly mistaken. Whenever The Business is mentioned in conversation, I will surely mention my indirect experience with The Business and ensure that my friends and family purchase art from a gallery that treats their employees and customers with respect and sincerity. 

How do you build a successful brand?

Building a successful brand is a step-by-step process.

As I have mentioned earlier in the article, branding differs from business to business, but certain fundamental principles create a healthy foundation with which to build your brand.

That being said, here is a brief, step-by-step guide to building your brand. Note: Each step could be an article in itself. So remember, this is a brief review that should be used as the cornerstone to your new, successful brand strategy.

Step 1: Determine your tone of voice as a company.

  • How do you want your business to be remembered if it were to crumble tomorrow?
  • Brainstorm how your products and services would best be marketed, this will help you determine a tone.
  • Determine your audience. Generally speaking, what are some of their favorite brands? Mimic their tone.

Step 2: Gather your departments, and determine a POA.

  • Every department must attend. No department is ‘too small’ to have an impact on the company as a whole.
  • POA= Plan of Action; how can each department best promote the tone of voice established in Step 1?
  • Each department should play off the other departments. A highly functioning brand works like a healthy body, all systems interact and work together to promote a healthy function.

Step 3: Create a content marketing strategy that falls in line with your tone of voice. Stick with this, no matter what.

  • Your company’s marketing is typically your customer’s first interaction with your business. Is your current content marketing strategy in line with your business’ tone of voice?
  • What are the major topics that fall in line with your industry? Make a list and keep this handy for content ideas.
  • Every blog, post, Tweet, status update, and eblast should have the same tone.
  • This doesn’t mean you post the same thing every day, simply that you speak to your online audience in the same tone every day.

Step 4: Assure that your customer service department and sales team speak with customers and potential customers, as a representative of the brand as a whole rather than simply their respective teams.

  • Your customer service and sales managers should be best friends.

Step 5: Get your employee social media front under control. Monitor if necessary.

  • Your employees are a huge part of your brand, are they in direct conflict with your brand voice? If so, you need to have a chat.
  • Unified employee branding does not mean unified personality branding. Individuality is a huge factor to business success! You should, however, monitor your employee’s social media profiles and ensure that they ‘hold off’ posting that photo or this controversial status update if it directly conflicts with your business’ brand. This is not an unreasonable request.

Step 6: Hold monthly ‘All Hands on Deck’ meetings to make sure your branding efforts are continuously unified.

  • Maintenance in any aspect of life is a crucial element to long-term success. The more ‘check-ins’ you have, the more efficient your branding strategy.

Key Branding-for-Success Takeaways

  • Branding adds depth to your business
  • Branding and marketing are not one in the same; marketing is a component of branding and branding is the target destination of marketing.
  • Branding is a unified voice among all of your company’s departments
  • Branding your business includes your employees; your employees should exemplify the same principles as your business, or your efforts are wasted. Everyone is searchable online.
  • Word of mouth is powerful; create a likeable work environment
  • Maintenance is the key to long-term success.

Now get to branding!

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Impress Your Audience in 45 Seconds: 6 Content Marketing Tips | Trade Only :

    […] Your blog needs personality. The only way to successfully engage your audience is to integrate your personality into your content, within reason. Ensure that your writing personality lines up with your branding tone in order to unify your brand (addressed in Branding for Success). […]

    7 years ago

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.