In the first part of this blog series, we looked at what branding is, its roll in client acquisition and a smidgen of why its’ important for you, the solopreneur. (If you missed it, click here to catch up.) Let’s look in part 2 at why branding is important for the solopreneur.

Why should you focus on branding?

Branding can, ultimately, save time if you’re just starting your business. As a solopreneur, you are going into business as a one man band. Because of this, you need to maximize efficiency in everything you do, especially marketing. Branding will give you:

  • Instant recognition
  • Trust
  • Word of mouth marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization for free traffic
  • The chance to build an email list
  • The chance to gain affiliates and joint venture partnerships

What can a solopreneur learn from and Starbucks?

branding amazonFor example, let’s take a look at The folks at Amazon achieve 15% conversion rates and one of the core reasons is their branding. As you may know, the brand only started in 1997 and only online, never a brick and mortar business. They have been so effective in building their brand that many physical bookstores, such as Barnes and Noble, Borders and countless other independent bookstores have closed their doors. This is all because they couldn’t compete with the brand.

Amazon started out just selling books but soon became a publishing house in both digital and print. In recent years, it has become the equivalent of an online department store. It is also an entertainment company, producing its own TV shows, and movies.

Why did Amazon become such a trusted brand in such a relatively short space of time? Good customer service, value, and weaving itself into the fabric of people’s daily lives are what did the trick.

branding starbucksStarbucks’ chain of coffee houses is another huge success story out of Seattle. From one small shop, it has gone global. Is its coffee REALLY better than other brands? No, it’s a question of taste, but as with other top franchises like McDonald’s, branding took them exactly where they wanted to go. The atmosphere, décor, food, and drinks are the same in any Starbucks you go to, so you know exactly what to expect and how far your money will go.

The coffee is a good deal more expensive than that at Dunkin’ Donuts. Some might argue it isn’t as good so why would people pay twice as much? The reason is so much more than price. It is what the brand represents, convenience and a certain ambiance. Starbucks is for coffee lovers, not donut lovers.

These two examples, clearly demonstrate that even a small startup can achieve huge things if they pay attention to branding. A bit of research would help you dig up what these old logos for Amazon and Starbucks looked like, and how they tracked and tested new designs until they hit on just the right one that they felt best represented their brand and made it instantly recognizable.

branding amazon & starbucks

A solopreneur can also accomplish the same level of branding, as in, instant recognition, by learning more about effective branding and putting it at the head of their to-do list. It can also be accomplished by thinking about any major new initiative, product, or service in relation to the brand.

  • What would it add?
  • What impression would it create?
  • And would it take away from the brand in any way, or cause people to feel it was moving away from its core values?

A strong, unified brand can make all the difference between sales and starvation. It opens doors and creates endless opportunities. Imagine that someone from Google called you. Would you pick up the phone? Now imagine that John Smith called you. Would you pick up the phone? Who would you more likely say “yes” to if they said they wanted to do a deal with you?

Having a great brand helps generate word of mouth traffic.

People chat about brands all the time. They share experiences, make recommendations, and complain about bad experiences. In fact, statistics show that 1 happy customer will tell 1 other person about their great experience, but 1 unhappy customer will tell 7.

This being the case, every business owner should make building a strong, credible brand their #1 priority from the moment they launch. In this way even if someone does start to complain and badmouth their brand, the negative feedback will look like an isolated incident compared to a positive pattern of praise for your products and services.

Top brands will get lots of free traffic because happy customers will be more likely to link to them than to less prominent websites, and will share content on social networks more often too. More links and shares mean more brand awareness, and willingness to try the brand to see if they like it.

Branding is something you will need to work on a little every day from the moment you launch your business. There are several challenges that you, as a sole entrepreneur, should keep in mind before you start. Let’s look at them in the next blog post.

A Solopreneur’s Guide to Business Branding Checklist

Branding is all about creating instant recognition in the minds of your target audience. There are a number of steps to building and growing a successful brand. As a solo entrepreneur, there will be a lot to do. Download this checklist so you don’t leave out anything.