As a small business, one of your best selling points is the fact that you can provide a personal touch. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not recognize this point of difference and waste the opportunity to stand out from the competition.
Is it time for you to give some life to your brand?
Tips for Humanizing Your Brand
Each company approaches the brand image from a unique perspective. Some companies have large brand budgets and experienced marketing experts who know how to handle all the different challenges that small businesses face on this front. Other companies are totally new to the idea of branding and take things as they come – making their way through the various obstacles.
Despite different circumstances and experiences, there is an error that seems to be made again and again. Regardless of other factors, many small businesses are investing in a lifeless brand that is generic and unreliable.
If you want your business to stand out, you need to consider the trend of marketed branding and humanize your business. In other words, start treating your brand as if it was a living and breathing individual with unique talents, preferences and opinions. In doing so, you will develop a brand that people can connect to – not just a brand whose customers buy items.
You do not know where to start? Here are some practical suggestions to bring your brand to life.
Introducing the people behind the mark
There are a lot of brand gurus and so-called marketing experts who will not like this statement, but the fact is nobody cares about your mission statement, your logo or your core values.
On the surface, these elements really do not add value to your brand. What really interests your customers is the people you lead behind the scenes. They want to know who is part of the company and what their stories, passions and experiences are.
One way to appeal to your audience is to show your team on your website. It's something that Elevated, a digital marketing agency, does exceptionally well. Each member of the team has a page – like this one with Danny DeMichele, the founder and CEO – who explains who they are and what interests they have.
Have a sense of humor
Do you know what most customers find really unattractive? The branding of the company is highly regulated and goes through dozens of hands before it is finally approved and passed on to the consumer. It's cold and unrealistic.
Your customers want to see your brand have a sense of humor, even if it means following the line (and sometimes even crossing the line). Brands like Old Spice, Denny's and Charmin are good examples.
Directly Engage Your Audience
With social networking, blogging, online chat support, e-mail, and a handful of other touchpoints, brands can interact with their customers in real time with little effort. Yet even with the infrastructure already established for individual engagement, it's amazing how many brands are still reluctant to interact directly with customers.
You must respond to comments from blogs, handle complaints on social networks, write personalized emails to customers and respond quickly to requests for assistance. While this may seem like a customer service obligation, it has as much to do with branding.
Treat your brand as a person
At first, it may sound a little strange, but once you start treating your brand as a person, you'll have a hard time imagining it differently. People want to connect with people, and your goal should be to establish a brand that resonates on a very human level.
Author: 1945911 Jenna Cyprus is a freelance writer from Renton, WA, who regularly covers the fields of technology, business, marketing, and communication . media. Follow her on Twitter.