Your small business brand is important because it represents a promise to your customers. Your small business brand is the mental image your customers form whenever they encounter your name or logo. Your brand is what customers believe about you based on everything they’ve ever seen or heard — whether good or bad, true or false.
Keep in mind two facts about what brands are and aren’t:
- A brand is a set of beliefs. It’s a promise customers believe.
- A brand isn’t a logo. A logo is a symbol that identifies a brand. When people see your small business logo or hear your business’ name, a set of images arises. Those images define your brand in their minds.
If you make impressions in your small business marketplace, whether proactively or unconsciously, you’re building your brand. In fact, you’re likely building two brands at once — a business brand for your company and a personal brand for yourself.
Something as basic as your street or online address contributes to how people perceive your brand. For that matter, customers, prospective customers, job applicants, reporters, bankers, suppliers, and those who refer people to you and your business form impressions every time they walk through your front door, visit your website, meet an employee, see your ad, or scan an online review or search results.
All those impressions accumulate to become your brand image in your customer’s mind, which is where brands live.
With a well-managed brand, your company hardly needs to introduce itself. Within your target market, people will already know your business, its personality, and the promise it makes to customers — all based on the positive set of impressions you’ve made and they’ve stored in their minds.
Without a well-managed brand, you’ll spend a good part of every sales opportunity trying to introduce your business, while some well-known brand down the street can spend that time actually making the sale.