Branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for big names. Indeed, many corporate brands try to look more like small firms in order to appeal to consumers that prefer to support independent brands.

Branding is a way of defining your business to yourself, your team and your external audiences. It could be called the business’ “identity,” but only on the understanding that it embodies the core of what the business is and its values, not just what it looks and sounds like. Customers of all sorts of businesses are so savvy today that they can see through most attempts by companies to gloss, spin or charm their way to sales.

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares these 10 tips for building a brand for your small business.

1. Start by defining your brand. Review the product or service your business offers, pinpoint the space in the market it occupies and research the emotional and rational needs and concerns of your customers. Your brand character should promote your business, connect with your customer base and differentiate you in the market.

2 . When building your brand, think of it as a person. Every one of us is an individual whose character is made up of beliefs, values and purposes that define who we are and who we connect with. Our personality determines how we behave in different situations, how we dress and what we say. Of course, for people it’s intuitive and it’s rare that you even consider what your own character is, but when you’re building a brand it’s vital to have that understanding.

3. Consider what is driving your business. What does it believe in, what is its purpose and who are its brand heroes? These things can help establish your emotive brand positioning and inform the identity and character for brand communications.

4. Aim to build long-term relationships with your customers. Don’t dress up your offering and raise expectations that result in broken promises, create trust with honest branding-be clear who your company is and be true to the values that drive it every day.

5. Speak to your customers with a consistent tone of voice. It will help reinforce the business’ character and clarify its offering so customers are aware of exactly what to expect from the product or service.

Ready for more branding tips? Read PCT again tomorrow.

Source: Dan Einzig is with Mystery, the agency that helped develop brands for clients including the growing café chain Giraffe, Caffé Italia, Ponti’s Italian Kitchen, Caffé Ritazza, Masala Masala, Gino Gelato, Monkey Nuts and Za Za Bazaar, the largest restaurant in Britain.