Branding is a keystone to success for any business. Your brand communicates what your company offers to potential and current consumers. Unfortunately many SMEs misunderstand the true meaning of branding. There is so much more to branding than a logo and slogan. You need to look at the values, intellect and culture of the business to fully develop a brand.
Brand development can be difficult for SMEs as they lack the resources that their more well-established rivals can direct towards marketing efforts.
The marketing efforts of a company can be described by the ‘Branding Iceberg’. This is an amalgamation of attributes, with the name and logo being the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Underneath that is the relationships developed by the company as well as the company’s brand values.
Developing relationships with your customers is a crucial part of building your brand. In fact it’s probably fair to say that customer relationships are the foundation of your company’s brand. In reality this is one area that SMEs usually excel in.
Speak to an owner of a SME and they may tell you they have no specific ‘brand vision’ but there are usually a couple of key values that they in their staff and great customer service is probably one of them. This is ‘Accidental Branding’. Building good relationships with your customers is a good start to building your brand.
Appealing to your customer
Positive customer interactions help to improve your brand reputation. A firm’s brand image is affected by staff behaviour and customer service. Customers rely on brand and service. Developing a brand is about output, longevity and success.
Brand values are becoming increasingly more important in developing relationships with customers. Customers buy the brand, not the parts or the manufacturers. Companies must appeal to the emotional, logical and physical wants and needs of the consumer.
The SEO Angle
It is becoming increasingly clear that brand signals have a strong impact on search engine results, in particular Google. While search engines like Bing and DuckDuckGo still rank websites on traditional SEO values (i.e backlinks, content relevancy, mobile friendliness) Google’s artificial intelligence puts a far higher importance on brand signals. Of course where Google goes, the others follow so expect this to continue across all search engines.
Google takes things like social media engagement, online advertising and online mentions into account when ranking your company website. This is very important for SMEs. Developing your brand will have positive knock-on effects for your company across the board.