BRANDING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
Mofolusade Sonaike popularly referred to, as the Mumpreneur is an entrepreneurship advocate, coach, and trainer.
She is currently the CEO of branded.ng and Creative Director of Mumpreneur.ng, a networking, support, and capacity building platform for women juggling motherhood and business.
This is a topic I am extremely passionate about because a lot of small business owners leave it till later based on the belief that it is expensive and not necessary. However, as the saying goes, People normally do business with people they know, like and trust.
If you are not running your business as a brand you can hardly get to the trust stage. The businesses that are still thriving in this pandemic are mostly those who have built trust over the years.
So, you would ask,
What exactly is a BRAND?
A brand is what people say about you, your product or service when you are not there to speak for it.
Whether you are actively building this or not, people will form an opinion about your business based on their own experiences.
There are three perspectives to a business:
– Who you say you are
– Who people say you are
– Who you actually are
You want to ensure that all three are aligned and you can only achieve this to a large extent through branding and branding communication
Branding helps you control the narrative. It is important to be deliberate about it because whether you project your business personality or not, over time the market will form an opinion and help you propagate it.
We know how bad news travels fast. One bad experience and one person can decide to ruin your business reputation by calling you out on social media. Its such a common thing now. But strong brands with a community of loyal followers, who know like and trust them would pull through a lot faster and easier than an unknown struggling business.
Branding makes your business stand out.
Let us quickly run an exercise
1. When you think of milk, which brand comes to your mind first and why?
Answer: Peak, It’s pervasive, courtesy of publicity
2. If you’re thinking of a more affordable brand of milk which would that be?
Answer: Cowbell, Dano, Hollandia.
Branding helps create an impression about something in your mind
So, whenever you are faced with making a decision around their offering that brand comes to mind and they positioned themselves that way.
Branding is never accidental; it is a deliberate activity.
Cowbell knew they couldn’t compete with peak based on quality, so they decide to tackle it with price They projected a mass appeal and broke the barrier and impression that milk was only for the rich
Branding is something you work on right from the beginning
- How memorable is your brand?
- What are the elements that you use to project your brand?
Name – is it easy to spell, is it SEO friendly?
Logo – is it simple and memorable
Colour – Do your brand colours resonate with your target audience or do they put them off?
Brand voice – How does your messaging in ads, on social media, in physical interaction come across?
Once you sit down to ask yourself all these questions and decide how you want to show up, consistency is the next important thing. You have to consistently show up using the elements as you have defined them.
Question: Is brand colour associated with logo?
Answer: I will be using my mumpreneur brand as the case study so you see a typical example of building a brand from scratch. Not just the logo. There is something known as your brand elements. For instance, the colour scheme on your website, the colours you use when you post infographics on social media and so on.
Every brand has a colour scheme or let me rephrase that, “Every serious brand has a colour scheme”
This is why when you see a GTBank building for example from a couple of miles away, you know it is a GTB building without being told. Their colour schemes, shapes, and styles are consistent
FCMB as well. Every FCMB building has those two white pillars.
Question: I’m a photographer. My color use is dynamic depending on my products. How do I remain consistent with color.
This image is an example
For you to see the mumpreneur colour scheme. My base colours are light pink and red. You can play with colours in your brand, but you must have base colours. For instance, a clothing brand can create clothes in any design and style but those elements are always there. How do you spot a polo Ralph even if the shirt is blue, black, red or green. They have base elements that must feature in any piece they out.
So, my mumpreneur logo for instance is red but I have a white version for placing on t-shirts without. The whole idea is to make your brand consistent and memorable. Such that anywhere it shows up it is recognized
Why do you think some people are successful with running Facebook ads while some struggle?
People respond based on recognition. You see an ad pop up on your screen and your reaction is either hmm let me see or you scroll past fast-thinking scammer!
Question: But does that mean logo or color rebranding is outta place? Especially logo rebranding
Answer: Absolutely not, Skye rebranded to Polaris; A total overhaul and most of us moved with them. Dangote in 2009 unveiled a new logo. People grew to recognize and stick with the brand. Rebranding if handled properly is not bad especially when necessary.
First bank wanted to ditch their old perception as an old people’s bank. They did this with rebranding. So, the First bank example is one. They wanted to attract a new market segment.
Another time when it becomes necessary is when a brand has become associated with something negative and you want to step away from that. Sometimes a brand has outlived its cycle and needs to be refreshed. You know like an announcement to say we are back and better
FIVE STEPS TO BUILDING A BRAND AS A SMALL BUSINESS
1. Research your target audience deeply: Who are they, what do they like, where do they hang out, what are their habits? Your brand must be built around your findings. If you’re targeting young hip millennials, for instance, your colours and logo must be vibrant and fun. Not too serious. This must always be the first step. The foundation for a successful brand is in on point targeting. Even if you have gone ahead and launched, step back and do this thoroughly.
2. Imagine your brand as a person: Who would you want that person to be? What would be the person’s personality? Give that personality a name, a face, and a voice that aligns with this personality. Create a logo that represents this personality.
If you were to define the personality of your brand who would that person be? Think if an actual person. My mumpreneur brand takes on my own personality. Fun, vibrant, goal getting mother. My first business was Tina Turner – Fierce, strong and cool
Do this exercise for your business and pin point an actual person
This will set the tone for the voice, the energy etc for that brand
3. Claim your name across board: This is very important. In this digital age, the first thing a lot of people do when they come in contact with your brand is search for you online. You want to ensure that the name is consistent across platforms. Buy the domain, register it on key platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You want to own this personality in totality.
This also protects you from impersonation. There are wolves out there waiting for brands who have ignored this step, holding on to their names online so they can milk you. They look out for brands that are going somewhere and go and claim their names. Don’t be a victim
4. Determine the colours and fonts that your brand will be known for: Branding is about consistency. Everywhere you show up, it has to be in line with who you are.
Fonts! In all your designs keep this consistent. Many people assume it doesn’t make a difference but these little things matter. You can have two or three that are associated with your brand. Remember, we are trying to be memorable
There are some peoples designs that can hardly be stolen. They have their little fingerprints all over. Fingerprints like your logo, the font associated with you, your colours etc. The moment it shows up anywhere its even people that will be tagging you. That’s where you want to get to
5. Develop your underlying message and project it consistently across platforms: Ensure that the brand has its own unique voice and this must be consistent. Now, this underlying message is what you want to be known for. The essence of the brand in a simple sentenced
Mumpreneur.ng – Helping mothers thrive in business and life without sacrificing family
So look at your business. What is your core message? What are you about? How do you make people feel when they come in contact with you?
Don’t forget, you are not for everybody. So, it’s okay if some people are not interested
Face your lane
On a final note let me say this
if you try to talk to everybody, you end up talking to nobody
KNOW YOUR TARGET!!
Session moderated by:
Oluwatomisin Olowoyo, Principal, CSA Academy