Blogging’s role in Branding your Small Business

Blogging can be one of the most powerful tools your small business can use to build your business’ brand equity.

This statement might be a bit confusing to anyone who thinks that “branding” begins and ends with logos, colors and images used on signage and in advertising.   Sure – those visual design elements are crucial elements in building your brand- but in and of themselves – these elements NOT your brand.

Rather – the careful creation and execution of those elements will help consumers identify your business – and help guide them on their journey to “branding” your business.

See -it is not your marketing team or advertising agency that builds your “brand” – but rather it’s your employees – the ones who have direct consumer contact – who are the “brand builders” of your business.

United Airlines learned this important lesson in 2009 when a social media shit storm arose from some exceptionally bad customer service – by not just one employee but many.  Social media is really great at telling customer service stories -and the root of “branding” is customer service.

You may THINK that your “brand” is a shiny logo, carefully chosen font and a tag line assembled in a committee meeting – but in reality – your “brand” is truly in the hands of your customers.

Just as the cattle who are branded are not wielding the  hot metal rod which marks their flesh – a business must accept that consumers are the ultimate “branders”.

Consumers have ALWAYS had the power of “branding” a company – but it’s only been since the web got “social” did businesses begin to sit up and take notice of that power.

So when you view “branding” and building “brand equity” through that lens – through the brutal lens of “we’re only as good as our last customer service transaction” – then and only then does blogging’s role become clear.

So often, business owners tend to look to blogging as a way to generate sales leads instead of a way to build trust with prospective customers.   Capturing sales leads is best done with a squeeze page – building trust is best done via a conversation.  Of course, the IDEAL situation is if you could sit down and talk with each and every prospective customer.  You could then explain in person why the customer should choose to do business with you and your company.  Even if you are able to do that today – count on the fact that you won’t be able to do that 5 years from now.   Your business blog posts can provide that information in a timeless manner.

Even better – those trust building business blog posts are doing double duty for your business.  Not only are they educating consumers to help build the trust needed to close the sale- they are also working hard to build your brand – a.k.a. your online authority if you’re a consultant or other independent service provider.

Whether you’re blogging for your business or not – your customers/clients/patients are sharing their tales of their interactions with you.  Good – bad – or indifferent – they are the ones “branding” your small business.

In the end – your business blog can act to support the good – upgrade the indifferent – and mitigate the bad.   So why aren’t your blogging for your business yet?

Comments

  1. Richard says

    I differ with you on the value of blogging to brand a small business. You need a following of readers to make blogging of value and most people have no following. For the most part if your a small business you will be preaching to the choir, your own customers. They are best reached with an email or text message if you have something new to say or want to reinforce a prior message.

  2. Kathy says

    Richard – Hi! Welcome. Nice to meet you virtually here in the comments section of this small business blog.

    I’ve got to say – you’ve kind of proven my point by posting your comment here. See, you’re not my client. I didn’t know you or your company existed until you left a comment here.

    Yet – you’re here and you’ve obviously found this blog – which is published with my clients and prospective clients in mind. Chances are – you found this post because you were searching for information about branding your business – because that’s what the post is about.

    When you’re “branding” your business – you want to get your message out to consumers – consumers who don’t know you or your business – yet – but who might find it when they’re searching for solutions to problems they’re having online.

    Email – text messaging – blogging – they’re all just communication tools you can use to communicate your marketing messages to consumers. The “problem” with trying to talk to consumers via email or text messaging is that when you do so without their permission – it’s not well received on the consumer’s end. That’s where a business blog can come in handy. You blog about the benefits of your product or service. People find those posts – and while they’re there – they also have the option to “opt in” to your email list or your text messaging service.

    When people “opt in” it’s called “email marketing”. When they don’t it’s called spam.

    Your business blog is just one piece of a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle on building a successful brand for your small business – but it’s an important one.

    Thanks for adding your comments here.

  3. Mari says

    Hi there, I actually had the same thought as Richard as I read this. But then your comments afterwards kind of swayed me too….hmmm, I’m on the fence.

  4. Kathy says

    Thanks for adding to the conversation Mari.

    There’s no doubt – email is a GREAT way to communicate with your customers. But it’s just ONE way to do so.

    Why not post your email communications with your current customers to your business blog? Email communications don’t have any “legs”. The message lands in the consumer’s inbox and then it’s gone. If the consumer doesn’t forward it – if it lands in the spam folder – or if for a variety of reasons the consumer doesn’t read it – it’s lost forever.

    However, when you publish that information to your blog – not only can you communicate with current customers – but prospective customers can see the information they’ll be getting when they become a customer.

    I’m definitely not saying abandon email communications and start blogging. But I really don’t see this as an “either or” proposition either. Blog AND communicate with your customers via EVERY other channel you can use to reach them.