Resources are available to help your Hispanic business develop its branding strategy, which is an integral element of any marketing strategy
In a world of short attention spans, a great product or first-class service is rarely enough to sustain a lasting impression among your customers. A sound branding strategy will help ensure that customers remember your business as the go-to source for their needs, especially in todays competitive marketplace.
A branding strategy includes your companys name, logo, symbols, website and other tools that define your small business in the minds of consumers and, perhaps more importantly, differentiates it from others providing the same products or services in your target market. According to marketing experts such as Laura Ries, president of the Atlanta-based Ries & Ries marketing firm, branding and marketing go hand-in-hand.
If you can build a powerful brand you will have a powerful marketing program, Ries says. If you cant, then all the advertising, fancy packaging, sales promotions and PR in the world wont help you succeed.
Almost anything can be branded, including you. But branding is complex and involves the customers total experience with you, your product or your service. The most effective branding combines both online and off-line elements. The Web offers tremendous opportunities for promoting your brand, through low-cost search engine ads or interactive features on your website.
Keep in mind that the best brands tend to tap emotions and appeal to a persons natural need for involvement. Be original in identifying your brand identitythe thing that truly sets your small business apart. Everybody touts quality and service, for example, so look for something thats really different. If you are having trouble pinpointing a branding message, try asking your customers what they need from you the most. Then base your brand on that.
Your brand should also last a long time, so avoid elements or catch phrases linked to trends likely to disappear or become outdated. Simplicity is also a virtue in your branding message. Buyers are overwhelmed by excess information. Too much information confuses your brand message.
A number of resources can help you understand and craft a sound branding strategy, including The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding. Written by market guru Al Ries and daughter, Laura, this smart and accessible book includes 11 immutable laws of Internet branding. Peter Montoyas The Brand Called You offers ideas and advice on how entrepreneurs can promote themselves, personally, as a brand. Australian branding expert Martin Lindstrom also offers an extensive library of branding articles on his website, www.martinlindstrom.com.
To learn more about branding and other marketing matters for your small business, contact SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business." SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you, or find a counselor online, www.score.org.