When it comes to running a small business, one of the persistent challenges is differentiating your brand from the competition. Because a brand can sometimes be confused with a logo or a company slogan, some retailers miss out on opportunities to connect with their customers as more than just another store.
Simply put, your brand is usually first the thing that comes to mind when a customer thinks about your store. And if your brand is strong enough, it has the ability to create an incredible amount of support, retention and loyalty. Here are five simple and affordable tips to build your company’s brand awareness and stand out from the crowd.
- The power of visuals is so strong that some brands that don’t even need an introduction. Having a unique logo and eye-catching artwork is the first step in creating a brand that’s both recognizable and memorable. With all the competition out there, things like business cards, pamphlets, flyers and website graphics are a great way to stand out and burning your brand into the subconscious of customers. If you’re not overly creative or artistic, hiring a graphic designer to hep define your image could be a worthwhile one-time investment.
- In order to differentiate your paint store from the competition, you need to hone in on your main core values. Whether you want to be known for carrying the newest products, offering the best prices or providing top-notch customer service, having clear values will help distinguish your brand. When customers come to your store, they’ll know exactly what to expect – and get it every time.
- Because the sign of a good brand is the feeling your customers get when they see or hear about your business, you should try to find a way to connect with the community whenever possible. If done in person, you will add a human element to your brand and form relationships with customers. If done online, you’ll have to find a distinct voice that your customers will recognize and trust. The goal is to form a loyal connection with people so they’ll be proud to say that they’re one of your customers, and that your store is their store.
- In the initial stages of distinguishing your brand from the competition, you should figure out who your target market is; you can’t be everything to everyone. Are the majority of your customers in the 40 to 60 age bracket, or will they be younger couples buying paint and decorating products for their first home? While it’s entirely possible to serve both groups of people, having a clear demographic will help you create targeted branding and marketing tools so you can figure out how to serve your customers better in the long run.
- Once you figure out your brand, be sure to remain on brand. If your marketing messages and content are conservative and formal but your social media voice is playful and humorous, you’ll be sending mixed messages to the public while skewing their view of what your company is all about. If you don’t stay on brand, your customers won’t be able to differentiate you from the competition – and you’ll be just another paint store.