Guest post from Neal Rohrbach (@nrohrbach), Owner – Dixie Design.us, Marketing Zealot, Graphic Designer and Entrepreneur. I think outside the box, not off the shelf.
I was recently asked by a small business owner in our hometown, “Should we be concerned with branding? That sounds so corporate!” I forwarded the question on for the #sbbuzz chat to let the group toss it around a bit, and everyone really hit the nail on the head. @BeckyMcCray put it best, “branding = reputation.”
I’ve seen branding make and break companies big and small. Regardless of the size of your town, branding is essential. Whether your branding campaign involves a logo, a slogan or ethic, you need to be consistent. Don’t have a business card that doesn’t match your letterhead and treat every customer like they’re the most important. You want your clients and consumers to start to know you and your business, catch a piece of that advertisement, catch a glimpse of your logo on a sign, t-shirt or program and remember exactly who you are and what you’re about.
It’s sometimes even MORE important to brand in a small town than in a big city. I lived and worked in a a very rural town for a couple years. Houses and businesses were built on a handshake, not signed away through a stack of papers at a lawfirm. There’s the old cliche, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” and that brings us to the importance of trust. Certainly your business reputation had better involve “trust” as part of you and your company’s character set, even more important in a small town where the “good ol’ boy” system is still in tact. Consistency in a company’s “mark” is crucial. People but a name to a face, a logo or slogan to a business and the familiarity is sparked.
Don’t limit your consistency to just your logo, carry that over to your work ethic and customer service. @desireescales touched on the importance in “word of mouth” advertising. Build that reputable company with stellar customer service and timely presentation of product. Your customers are going to pass that experience along to their friends and family who are your future customers. Many people stereotype “branding” as your logo or “corporate identity” but the best logo in the world won’t support a poor product or inadequet customer service!
Continuing the Conversation is a series of articles that will help us continue some of the great discussions that begin at one of our weekly #sbbuzz chats. While the fast paced weekly Tweetchat is a quick way to share tips and insights, it can also inspire deeper and broader discussions on a particular topic. We invite participants in the #sbbuzz chats to contact us with a direct message at @sbbuzz if you would like to contribute a guest article to continue an #sbbuzz conversation.