In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence and branding is essential for small businesses to succeed. With so much competition in the online space, it’s important for small businesses to differentiate themselves from others in their industry. This is where branding comes in and is the first pillar in the eCommerce Growth Framework™. It is one of the most important factors in establishing a strong online presence and growing your business.
Did you know that it takes approximately 50 milliseconds for the brain to process a website or a social page to form an opinion? Today, in digital, you don’t get a second chance to create a first impression, particularly when customers can find new brands just a click away.
We are going to go through the key brand fundamentals to help you identify how robust your brand is for digital growth. I will also use the example of a small business that sells handmade candles to show how we can apply these fundamentals to a small business.
1. Core values
Core values are the guiding principles that shape a brand’s identity and messaging. They represent what the brand stands for and what it believes in. For small businesses, it’s important to establish core values that align with your target audience, as this can influence consumer behavior. According to a study by Accenture, an average of 70% of consumers buy from brands who share the same values as they do. This is even more important for millennials, as 83% of this demographic stress the importance of values alignment when choosing a brand to purchase products or services from.
Take the outdoor apparel brand Patagonia, for example. Their core values include a commitment to environmental sustainability and ethical manufacturing practices. This has resonated with their target audience of outdoor enthusiasts who prioritize environmental responsibility. By emphasizing their core values, Patagonia has been able to establish a strong brand identity and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Small business core values example: The small business values natural ingredients and environmentally-friendly production methods. They believe in providing their customers with high-quality, non-toxic candles that are safe for both the environment and the people using them.
2. Purpose statement, mission statement, and vision statement
Purpose, mission, and vision statements are all important components of your brand’s identity. A purpose statement communicates why a brand exists, a mission statement outlines what the brand does, and a vision statement communicates the desired end state of the brand being a success.
A strong purpose, mission, and vision statement can help a small business establish a clear and consistent message to your target audience. This can lead to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and ultimately, business growth. One example of a company with a strong purpose statement is TOMS Shoes, whose purpose is “to improve lives through business.” This purpose is reflected in their “one for one” business model, where for every pair of shoes purchased, they donate a pair to a child in need.
Small business purpose example: The small business’s purpose is to create a relaxing and calming atmosphere in their customers’ homes through their natural, non-toxic candles.
Small business mission statement example: The small business’s mission is to provide their customers with high-quality, handcrafted candles made with natural and sustainable ingredients.
Small business vision statement example: The small business’s vision is to become a leader in the natural candle market, providing their customers with an environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional candles.
3. Brand personality and archetype
Brand personality and archetype are key components of a brand’s identity that help to establish an emotional connection with customers. Brand personality is the set of human characteristics associated with a brand, while brand archetype is a symbolic representation of the brand’s personality.
There are 12 different brand archetypes, each with its own associated personality type. For example, the hero archetype is associated with strength, courage, and determination, while the magician archetype is associated with transformation and magic. By identifying a brand archetype and personality, small businesses can create a consistent and relatable brand identity that resonates with their target audience.
One example of a company with a strong brand personality and archetype is Nike, whose brand personality is associated with strength, determination, and achievement, while their brand archetype is the hero. This is reflected in their “just do it” slogan, which emphasizes the importance of pushing oneself to achieve greatness.
Small business brand personality example: The small business’s brand personality is warm, welcoming, and cozy. They want their customers to feel like they’re coming home when they light one of their candles.
Small business brand archetype example: “The Caregiver”.
The Caregiver archetype is focused on nurturing and providing for others, and is often associated with warmth, compassion, and a desire to make the world a better place. This archetype is well-suited to a business that values natural and sustainable ingredients, and prioritizes the well-being of their customers and the environment.
The small business’s emphasis on creating a relaxing and calming atmosphere in their customers’ homes also aligns well with the Caregiver archetype, as this archetype is often associated with providing comfort and care. By embodying the Caregiver archetype, the small business can establish themselves as a trustworthy and caring brand that is focused on providing high-quality, non-toxic candles to their customers.
4. Ideal customers
Identifying your ideal customer is a crucial step in building a successful brand. By understanding your target audience, you can tailor your messaging and branding to better resonate with them. This can lead to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and ultimately, business growth.
For example, if your small business sells organic, non-toxic skincare products, your ideal customers may be health-conscious individuals who prioritize environmental responsibility. By tailoring your branding to appeal to this audience, you can establish a strong connection and increase customer loyalty.
Small business ideal customer example: They are environmentally-conscious individuals who value natural and sustainable products. They may be interested in health and wellness, and seek out natural products for their homes and bodies.
5. Authentic brand promise
An authentic brand promise is a clear and concise statement
of the value proposition that a brand offers to its customers. It’s important for small businesses to have a unique selling proposition (USP) that differentiates them from their competitors. This can be achieved by identifying a specific problem that your product or service solves, and communicating that effectively to your target audience.
For example, Dollar Shave Club’s USP is their affordable, high-quality razors delivered right to your door. By focusing on the convenience and affordability of their product, they were able to establish a strong brand identity and grow their business rapidly.
Small business authentic brand promise example: The small business’s authentic brand promise is to provide their customers with high-quality, handcrafted candles made with natural and sustainable ingredients. They promise to prioritize the health and well-being of their customers and the environment.
6. Tone of voice
Tone of voice is the way a brand communicates its messaging to its target audience. It’s important to establish a consistent tone of voice that reflects your brand’s personality and messaging. This can help to establish a strong brand identity and build customer trust and loyalty.
For example, if your small business is a health and wellness brand, your tone of voice may be calm, reassuring, and educational. This can help to establish your brand as a trusted source of information and resources for your target audience.
Small business tone of voice example: Is warm and friendly, with an emphasis on natural and sustainable ingredients. They want their customers to feel like they’re part of a community that cares about the environment and their personal well-being.
Once a small business has established a strong brand identity and online presence, it’s important to maintain that consistency and brand management. This includes monitoring customer feedback and adjusting messaging and branding as needed.
Additionally, it’s important to establish guidelines for all aspects of your brand identity, from core values to tone of voice. This can help to ensure consistency across all channels and build customer trust and loyalty.
In conclusion, branding is a vital component of small business success online. By focusing on the brand fundamentals, small businesses can establish a strong brand identity and differentiate themselves from competitors. This can lead to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and ultimately, business growth.
With a strong brand identity and online presence, small businesses can establish themselves as leaders in their industry as well as being a brand that their audience loves and is committed to supporting. If you need further help with your brand fundamentals, you can sign up to our growth membership which has a ‘branding for growth’ toolkit with templates and detailed instructions to fast-track your brand, ready for online growth.