Last night, Miho was invited to speak at the Santander Business Breakthrough event for small businesses. I have included the talk below for any small businesses looking for a few tips in branding their enterprises.
Who am I?
Hi everyone, my name is Miho Aishima. I am an award-winning graphic designer with over 13 years experience. I run Aishima, a brand and design studio which works with small businesses and start-ups
When I set up on my own three years ago, I did a lot of networking. I wanted to meet potential clients but I also wanted to chat to other business owners and to hear their stories. I was amazed by the number of new, exciting ideas that people shared with me. During the networking events, I would collect everyone’s contact details and when I returned home I would search for their businesses online and read about them. I often discovered that those wonderful, inspirational ideas were not always reflected in the online presence of the brand. This experience made me realise that it wasn’t that businesses needed better ideas, they just needed a better way of communicating their ideas.
What is branding and why is it important for small businesses?
I have realised that the businesses that need support the most are not the big, multi-national monoliths with their mega budgets, but the small businesses who are starting-up - businesses with an idea to create change and to make a difference in the world but who are unable to get their message across and can’t access the appropriate support. Branding helps you to get the word out quickly and effectively, and it attracts people to your business during those crucial initial stages, allowing you to grow and continue on to the next stage. Without it, great ideas can easily be quashed before they have had their chance to make a difference in the world.
When I talk about branding I am referring not only to the logo on your website, but also to the practice of effectively communicating your core idea and values, your positioning and experiences, and then interpreting them into an appealing and relevant visual identity. This identity can include items such as a logo, your brand colours, typography and imagery, and it can be presented across a variety of applications such as your website, publications, stationery, social media, signage etc. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this really matters to your audiences.
6 Tips for Building Your Brand for Small Businesses
1 Know your audience. Getting the right people to connect with your brand is the key to building and growing your business. You could have the best product in the world, but without connecting it to the right audience it will go nowhere.
Understand demographics as well as the softer stuff. Consider the needs and preferences of your audience and the problems that they face.
2 Create brilliant experiences for your audience. There are so many similar products and services out there. Brands win by providing a good experience. An example of this is Amazon. Sometimes brands compete on prices, but lowering prices can often lead to downward competitive spiral. Even though your product might just be online, you can achieve high rates of loyalty and greater satisfaction by providing a better experience. Map out how someone will interact with your brand from the initial research stage to purchase and beyond and this will help you to build a better experience.
3 Think multi-sensory People don't experience life in 2D, so think about all of the five senses available. Much of the branding that I have seen used by smaller organisations tends to cover sight, but it is worth noting that the addition of another sense or two to an experience can really give you an edge. This is not as complicated as it sounds. An example is the cosmetic subscription site, Beauty Pie, which offers a luxurious parcel and personalised card with each delivery. This type of experience triggers responses in your brain (this is not just a low cost, delivery service) and makes you feel more engaged.
4 Name Having a memorable and unique name can help you stand out from the crowd. Like it or not, the name of your company is one of the first things that people find out about you, and you want that first impression to be a positive one. A generic name might imply that there is nothing unique or special about your brand. A wacky name might put people off even before they find out more.
Once you find a name that you and your consumers love, make sure that you carry out the required checks and trademark it. You don’t want someone else claiming the name months or years after you have worked so hard to build a brand behind it. I am sure the legal beagles can help you with that but it is certainly something to consider.
5 Logos and visual A strong visual identity and logo is a great way to emphasise the quality and service that you provide. More than ever in this insta-happy/visually-led world, first impressions matter. Your website, business card and logo can go a long way in helping to create that good impression. Also, you want to ensure that the visual identity will appeal to your target audience and not just reflect your personal preferences.
6 Stories Remember, every business has its own unique story. You are the key to your business and you have a unique take on your market and product. Sharing stories about the what, why and how of your business will help people to remember your brand. It is easiest way for you to engage with people and for people to connect with your business.
A special thank you to Priti Surti, Business Relationship Manager at Santander for the invite. The Business Breakthrough events are organised by Priti and occur throughout the year.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about our branding services, please contact us here.