Your brand identity is what makes your business unique. More than just a logo, it’s how the world, or more specifically your customers, see your business. A strong brand identity gives your business power and a way to differentiate itself from your competition. Without one, well, let’s just say, things may not go that well …

Part of our job is to help businesses discover what makes them tick, what makes them unique and what makes them successful. While we don’t offer graphic design services, we do help you identify the specifics as to what you want your brand identity to be and help you achieve it. So, today we’re sharing just a snippet of what you can expect from our business planning, development and coaching services.

What is a Brand Identity & Why is it Important?

Your brand identity is your business’ face to the world. It’s what it looks like (colours, logo), what it says (emotions, values, words, trademark) and even what it smells, tastes and sounds like, depending on your business type. In essence, it is the personality of your business and what you promise your customers or clients.

A great brand identity helps:

  • Build credibility and trust with your target market
  • Develop instant recognition of your brand
  • Bring in new customers and keep existing ones
  • Get your business noticed

If you have a logo, awesome: you are on the way. If you are just getting started, that’s awesome too. Read on and we’ll explain what you need to do to create a stellar brand identity.

Steps for Creating a Strong Brand Identity

To create a strong brand identity, even if you already have a brand, start right back at the beginning.

  1. Do your research – find out who your target audience is and what they like, and who your competition is and what they offer.
  2. Focus on your brand – be specific in what your brand will offer and why customers should choose you over your competitors. Write a mission statement which states your goals and vision. Identify the personality your brand will have, the language and colours it will use and any taglines.
  3. Work with a graphic designer – now is the time to get your logo created or reassessed if you already have one. From the colours, shapes and fonts, they can help you choose the best ones to fit with your identified brand identity. Your GD can also help with suggestions for branding your stationery, website and product packaging too.
  4. Use it – once you’ve got a brand, use it and we mean everywhere. Having a document which you can share with others within your business, as well as referring to it yourself, ensures you remain focused. It should say what graphics to use where, the types of images and language to use, and where you can share information about your business.

We’d love to help you create or reassess your brand identity. Get in touch with our team today to explore the many ways in which our business services can grow your business.

It is 9pm on a Monday and it is raining.  Lots.  The roof in our new house starts to leak. My husband and I look at each other and decide to get onto this right away.  First stop Google – searching for “roofers Whangarei”.  There are a few websites, most built years ago, some that do not respond to the screen on my mobile phone so we have to zoom in to read it.  Next stop – local Facebook group for recommendations.  Top two recommended companies have no website.  I don’t know anything about them, who they are, or how to contact them.  I now need to go searching directories for phone numbers and cold call them tomorrow.  Roll on Tuesday, I am running around with kids and work – and I forget to call during business hours… It is frustrating that I couldn’t just make contact last night and get things underway.

I get a lot of people tell me that they don’t need a website – they are run off their feet, and all their business is word-of-mouth.  Here is the thing… you do.

Why do I need a website when my business is word-of-mouth?

When someone is referred to use another business, many people will still want to pre-check that they offer suitable products or services before making contact.  If you don’t have a website, it makes this process very difficult.  It looks unprofessional – are you not established enough to have a website?  Do you not care enough about your business?

In the past, people may have given someone a business card when referring you. More and more they share links to websites via social media.  If they can’t find your contact details, how will they put their friends in touch with you?

Even if it is a basic website that is a couple of pages explaining what products or services you offer, who you are, and how to get in contact – this is plenty.  Think of it as your online business card or store front.  This is your opportunity to make a great first impression to those people who have already heard you are worth talking to.  Make it EASY for them to see that you are awesome and get your most up-to-date contact details.  If you have a contact form or appointment booking function and they can get themselves into your sales funnel at 9pm on a Monday night – even better! Capture those word-of-mouth leads when they are hot!

But I have an ad in the Yellow Pages…

I don’t know if you have noticed, but these books are getting smaller and smaller… that is because people have moved on.  The number of these books that get delivered in my neighbourhood and get left by the letterbox or go straight in the recycling bin reflects the relevance and usefulness to many.

The number of my friends, family and clients who no longer even have a landline at all is also worth considering here.

I am sure that some people do still use them, but do you want to ignore the huge majority of the population who turn to Google instead?

The opportunity to have YOUR say

In a world of social media – there are a lot of opportunities for people to spread the word about your business.  Good and bad.  Your website is the one piece of the online world that you can take ownership of.  Your website is a true business asset and you should ensure that it reflects the level of professionalism that your business has, rather than relying on the word of others.

It is your opportunity to put forward the best view of your business.  To say what you are about, give the truth about what you do or sell.

I have a website already

Great!  A few basic things to check to make sure it is doing what it needs to do…

  • Does it reflect the branding of the rest of your company still?
  • Is it mobile-friendly?
  • Are the contact details up to date?
  • Does the contact form work?
  • Are the photos recent?
  • Do all of the links go to pages that still exist?

Old, dated and broken websites can be a poor reflection on the quality of your services or products.  Take care of this as you would other public-facing brand assets (such as signage, vehicles or staff uniforms).

Once the basics are covered, then steps can be made to help your website rank higher than your competitors too.

Ensure that you make engaging with you as easy as possible

Basically, yes you are busy, and that is awesome – but if you put your best foot forward online and make contacting you easy, imagine the quality of clients you could be attracting.  Are you busy with the second tier ones, when you could be attracting even better customers?

About the Author

Leah Harold runs Little Biz Online – a web design business that focuses on ensuring that small business owners get to put their best foot forward online.  Professional, modern websites at an affordable price.  Leah also has a strong focus on training clients (young and old) to manage their websites for more simple tasks – so that they stay current and relevant, without huge maintenance costs.

 

Note: MBP will only be responsible for the terms and conditions for an engagement undertaken directly with MBP. If you undertake a new engagement with a separate firm or a related entity you will need to enter into your own contractual arrangements directly with that firm or entity. We will not accept any liability in respect to any work they may undertake for you.

It’s the word small we’re talking about today when discussing small business marketing ideas. Small in cost, small in time spent, and small in quantity. You could be forgiven for thinking we’re only going to help out small businesses by sharing these fab marketing ideas – and you’d be right!

There’s a big difference in not only the quantity, but also the type of marketing a small business needs to do. Sure, the big guys do it well (think McDonald’s and The Warehouse), but if smaller businesses copied them, things could go poorly rather quickly.

So, being the helpful bunch of accountants and business advisors we are, we’ve put together a great list of twelve marketing ideas specifically for small businesses, like yours!

12 Exceptional Small Business Marketing Ideas

You won’t have to blow your budget or head out of your comfort zone to try these top 12 marketing ideas:

  1. Create great content for your website – you could pay for advertising to send traffic to your site, or you could write such awesome content search engines ranked highly and people shared with their friends. Ads will only send you website traffic when they are turned on; turn them off and the traffic stops too. Great website content is there 24/7, even years later.
  2. Hunt out the ad promos – often major advertisers such as Bing and Google offer discounts or promotions for their services. If you’re going to pay for ads, you might as well get them with a discount.
  3. Host contests – there’s nothing like giving something away to draw in the crowds. You can run the competition via social media and use it to attract the type of customers or clients you want to attract. Be warned that you may attract the professional competition enterers, who are just in to win and not to learn about your business.
  4. Email marketing – some people swear by it, and others avoid it like the plague. Research shows that it does work well to make sales and keep your business at the forefront of a customer’s mind though.
  5. Give out branded balloons – find a suitable event and then give out balloons filled with helium, which are branded with your business details — cheap and unusual
  6. Keep active on social media – if you’re a social butterfly, this will probably be easy for you. If not, then it can be like pulling teeth. On the same platforms your target audience are using, publish regular content including blogs, promotions, and photos of your business.
  7. Push your USP – your unique selling proposition or USP is what sets you apart from your competition. Make sure everyone knows it.
  8. Join online networking groups – yes, it’s mixing with other business owners, but as you build relationships with them, they are more likely to recommend your business to others, or purchase from you directly.
  9. Set up a referral system – target your existing customers or clients by offering them a discount if they refer someone new to you. It’s a win-win.
  10. Create videos – be they unboxing of your products, an instructional video or showing a product’s features, videos are always well received.
  11. Host a webinar – there are many webinar platforms you can do this free through. Use it as a time to demonstrate your skills and knowledge, not a sales pitch.
  12. Partner up – it may not make sense to partner with your competition, but why not join forces with businesses who offer complementary products or services? By promoting each other’s stuff, you increase your visibility.

Remember that if you get stuck, asking for help is one of the best things you can do! Our friendly team are here to help, and if we don’t know the answer, we’ll find someone who does for you. Don’t be shy, get in touch with the team at MBP today.

As a business owner, using social media is vital in helping your business get noticed and be remembered by your customers. Long gone are the days when print, TV and radio advertising was your only option to market your products or services. Nowadays, most people are active on at least one social media platform and it’s your job to reach them. If you’re a total novice at using social media, relax because we’ve written this guide just for you.

Using Social Media to Promote Your Business

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have changed the way businesses can market to their customers. It allows us the opportunity to reach large numbers of people with minimum effort and at a low cost. Social media can help:

  • Build your brand
  • Send traffic to your website
  • Increase your online presence
  • Connect and engage with your target market
  • Make sales
  • Establish your expertise amongst your audience

Are you ready to get started? Let’s go!

How to Get Started Using Social Media

Your first step in using social media for your business is to choose the platforms you are going to be active on. This means finding out where your target audience spending their time. Often this depends on their demographic and interests. In New Zealand, the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat, so check these ones out first.

Next, establish your business presence on your chosen platforms. It’s best if you are active on a regular basis, so factor the number of accounts you’ll have verses the time it will take you to keep them up to date. Information to include on your account profiles are your business name, website, contact details and a blurb about what your business does.

Your third step is to decide what you want to achieve from social media. Are you using it as a way of engaging with customers, sending them to your website, recruit new staff, create a fan base or build an email list?

Once you know your goals, then your fourth step is to create a plan of how you are going to achieve them. This involves detailing:

  • When will you post?
  • How often will you post?
  • What content will you post?
  • How much time you do have to post?
  • When will you handle comments and messages?

Once you’ve been posting for a while, make sure you take the time to analyse where you had success with and where you need to do some tweaking to meet your goals.

Creating Social Media Content

One of the most common questions business owners ask, is what type of content should they post? Here’s a list of some ideas to get you started:

  • Testimonials
  • Photos of your office and staff
  • Contests
  • Surveys
  • Memes
  • Giveaways
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Product reviews
  • Motivational quotes

For more great ideas on using social media, join an active online business networking group! Business Network NZ have both a Facebook networking group, plus a free business directory where you can list your business and receive a great SEO friendly backlink.