Crafting a well-defined brand for your small business can make your marketing efforts more productive. People often use the terms “marketing” and “branding” interchangeably, but they’re separate pillars of a strong sales strategy. Branding sums up your value and identity as a business, while marketing helps you reach customers who like the unique qualities you offer.
“Marketing” is a broad term to define all the activities you perform to promote your business. Marketing occurs any time you try to get people interested in your products, even through passive means, such as sharing content on social media. Learning how to use resources wisely is vital in entrepreneurship, and it’s costly to target a broad audience of people who may never like your product. At the same time, retail industries are packed with new businesses and copycat resellers. Customers need a way to compare your business and products to competitors. If customers don’t have any connection to your brand beyond price, they aren’t likely to become repeat buyers unless you offer steep discounts.
Good branding helps you navigate marketing decisions. A brand is the sum of your visual identity, business values and customer perceptions. It’s not enough to tell people you’re an eco-friendly furniture company that cares about fair pay for global artisans. Your customers have to believe in your brand identity and communicate the same values to others when they talk about your products. To build loyalty, you have to know what your customers want, what they value in a retailer, and what they expect from your products.
Developing a brand helps you answer key questions, such as:
- What solution does my business provide for customers?
- How does my business solve problems differently than competitors?
By combining marketing and branding, you can focus your time and effort on learning about your target audience. As you research customer needs and refine your brand, you create a clear, consistent message that speaks to consumers who share your business values. Along the way, you learn which marketing channels are most effective for reaching your core customers, streamlining your outreach strategy.