Smarter Marketing Blog

How To Nurture A Strong Brand Voice That Stands Out From The Crowd

girl stands out from crowd waving

image credit: Pexels

Once again, we have teamed up with Kayleigh Alexandra, a content writer for Micro Startups, to collaborate on this post. If you’re a small business owner, you will probably have already established a brand voice. But how much have you really considered the impact that a brand voice has?

It’s not enough to just write as yourself, or in a ‘similar-ish’ tone when you’re doing any marketing. As an SME business owner, having a strong brand voice is crucial. It makes you stand out from the crowd, whether it’s on social media or in a search.

A consistent voice gives your company a unique personality and clear, comprehensible values that consumers can recognise and understand.

In the post below, we’re going to cover some of the things that you can do to nurture your brand, make it strong, and stand out from the crowd.

Read on for our smarter top brand voice tips.

Define your brand voice basics from the start.

Think about the big brands that you use or follow on social media. Aside from having awesome products, they also have strong branding; their voices are distinctive and interesting. You can instantly recognise their writing style. You can probably also associate them with the product or service.

This is because the brand voice describes their company’s personality.

It’s the same for your business. Your brand voice represents you in the marketplace. It can also ensure that the customers know who you are and what you’re offering.

There are many tools to help you establish the “dos and don’ts” of your brand voice. This chart from the Content Marketing Institute is a good example:

Brand Voice Table

You can list your characteristics, which should align with your brand values and marketing anyway, and think about what this means for your tone, language and references.

Be as clear on what you want to avoid as the traits that you do want to include.

Set guidelines to stay consistent.

Once you’ve established your voice basics, you need to ensure that this stays in place across all marketing materials.

A brand voice is best nurtured when there are guidelines in place to maintain it. Especially, if your business is growing and you’re taking on more employees. Be careful to avoid an untrained intern getting their hands on a social media account and unwittingly posting something completely off-brand.

Come up with a set of brand voice guidelines that your team can adhere to easily. These should include requirements and things to avoid, and how to write in various scenarios. Whether it’s an email, a product description, a social media post or a response to a customer complaint, this will ensure that your brand voice remains consistent.

Document these guidelines clearly and ensure that they are enforced (and easily accessible). Your team should be able to refer back to them if they need help. They should also be able to use them to streamline training when you have new arrivals within the company.

Consistency is key when it comes to your brand voice; anything less will put off potential customers from checking out your business and drive existing customers away.

laptop with BRAND on screen

Be conscious about visual elements too.

A strong brand voice isn’t just about the words you use; it’s about the imagery that accompanies your words i.e. how your branding is visually perceived as much as heard.

All the different elements of your brand should come together to form a clear picture of your business — one that customers recognise, admire and trust. Having guidelines for your brand voice isn’t enough — you also need to think about the aesthetic aspects associated with it.

For example, the fonts you use to portray your brand are as important as the tone you write in.

Brand fonts bring the voice and personality of your company alive; they communicate messages to your audience and allow them to visualise your business.

You should pick one primary font, a secondary font, and a clear body copy font to make your brand voice heard in the right way. If you don’t know which fonts to select, check out this handy font post by 99designs.

You also need to think about the imagery you will use to illustrate your work. Depending on your budget, you can pick up free, high-quality stock images online, or create your own imagery using a decent smartphone and a graphic design tool like Canva.

Make sure you fulfil your brand promises.

Delivering on your brand promise is crucial if you want to have happy, and returning, customers.

You can develop a strong brand voice and professional image, but if you don’t make good on your brand promise once the customer has committed and purchased your product or service, then it will have all been for nought.

Being reliable and delivering as expected will build trust between your business and your customers. It will also result in a loyal brand community that is not only happy to buy your products themselves but are also willing to recommend your brand to other consumers.

You can also use this promise-fulfilment to feedback into your brand voice and brand message; tell prospective customers what you can offer and what they can expect.


Don’t be afraid to evolve.

Building and nurturing a brand voice doesn’t stop once you’ve established your tone and message. A strong brand voice is much more than that — it’s as much about being fresh and relevant as it is maintaining a consistent and professional tone.

It’s healthy to evolve and respond to changes along the way. Keep your brand voice consistent, but, respond and evolve according to changes in what your market wants and needs.

There are a number of ways you can analyse and improve how your brand voice is being received by your target audience:

  • With opinion polls and surveys, you can find out what your market thinks about your brand voice and whether they feel it aligns with your values — you can easily create a simple poll using Survey Monkey
  • Social media analytics tools will allow you to assess brand awareness and engagement on social platforms
  • Split-testing on your website and in your email marketing campaigns will give you the opportunity to experiment with your brand voice and see which version customers respond to best

It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t be making huge changes to the voice you use as a brand — only checking that your current voice fits well with your brand’s purpose and values and making minor amendments.

Anything more will confuse consumers and put them off your business — unless you are happy to roll out a whole rebrand. That’s why it’s so important to get your brand voice basics down early on in the game.

A strong brand voice is crucial to making your business stand out from the crowd because it defines your business clearly within a busy marketplace. It also allows you to build a relationship with existing customers and can draw new consumers towards your products if executed well.

By following the above guidelines, you can nurture your brand voice. Just make sure you are true to your company values and find a brand voice that works for you. We call paying attention to the branding elements above just being smarter about your marketing and we can help you with that.

Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit their blog for the latest marketing insights from top experts and inspiring entrepreneurial stories. Follow them on Twitter @getmicrostarted.

“Thank you to Kayleigh for her input and to you for reading our blog post today.

If you require any assistance with your marketing including e-commerce websites or mobile apps do not hesitate to give us a call.

Cheers –  Aidan & Jim.

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Why Powerful Brand Marketing Is The New Normal


“Oh no – not another article on brand marketing”, I hear you say. Well here’s the thing – if your current marketing activity isn’t helping you build a better, stronger brand, you just might be wasting your precious time and money. A quick read through this post will help you review your approach to brand marketing.

Let’s start off with an example. You have just designed a wonderful home page on your website. It’s simple, user-friendly, warm and informative. So much so, the searcher (potential customer) is interested in engaging with you and clicks on your little chat link to ask you a question. So far – so good.

The message the searcher receives back, though, is a sales message and not exactly what they are looking for. The message then directs them to another contact page – to get more information / download a free infographic, oh, and they want credit card details for a trial!

If you’re like me, you’re well gone from that landing page (and probably that organisation). The point I’m making with this example is that there is always a risk of a disconnect between what people expect (because you’ve promised it to them) and what they might get when engaging with your brand.

There is a thread that connects all your customer touch-points and that thread is an emotional one. It is your organisation’s brand. Brand marketing, therefore, must be looked at from a human / emotional viewpoint, if it is to connect positively with customers or prospects.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”045oK” via=”no” ]The emotional thread that connects all your customer touchpoints is your organisation’s brand. It has to be marketed in a smart way.[/ctt]

Brand marketing can be considered powerful when a person’s experience of that brand is constantly positive. This can occur when encountering an organisation’s social media activity, their web page, a press ad, their staff or their service etc. Are you monitoring your engagements?

Of course, there is a danger that online visibility gets all the focus (and measurement), and as a consequence, some business owners (and marketers) can neglect the big picture – their brand marketing. This is not to suggest re-inventing the wheel – it’s just about being smarter about marketing your brand.

Elements of smarter marketing.

Smarter marketing is, for instance, understanding that your brand is NOT your logo, your tagline or your advertising. And that your brand IS the experience that people have while engaging with your organisation is what differentiates you from competitors.

Being smarter is also knowing that in this world of inbound marketing, the content your organisation produces is part of your brand and will remain so forever. Therefore, the voice, tone and message embedded in your content is extremely important.

For example, long after you’ve forgotten about a blog post, a reader might discover same and form an opinion based on the sentiment, structure and relevancy of your words.

Another thing about marketing smarts – your brand promise should also comprise everything that represents your organisation. What type of suppliers you have, your employees, your place of business, how you act and everything you say.

People’s perception of you is your real brand. Brands are a shortcut to help people break through a sea of choice and they mainly use shortcuts that they have had satisfaction with previously.

Finally, how you use your customer data is definitely an element of smarter marketing but it is worth remembering that as everybody has access to data, it still is your brand that remains a key differentiator.

Whatever your organisation’s size – brand marketing is important

The thing to remember about a brand, especially when building a brand from scratch, is that it has to be managed and maintained constantly. Size doesn’t matter.

The business objectives of quality, service and price need to be wrapped in a well thought out branding strategy. Where do you start out? By deciding where your organisation is going to fit in the marketplace you’ll be operating in.

The rest of your brand foundations are set when you determine what it is that makes you different and who your potential customers are. Answers to these questions will be guided by your values and principles – and then you’re good to go.

The main challenge you will then face, with regard to brand marketing, is consistency. This is even more pertinent now when social media activity is included in your marketing. Branding is inclusive of all channels that your organisation uses. Smarter branding is streamlining all your activity with a unified identity, appearance and approach to customer experience.

Use every opportunity you can to market your brand.

There are many good, and bad, examples of organisations using every occasion to promote their brand whenever, wherever they can. Mostly, it will cost something to have your identity promoted, but you should still be looking out for opportunities as/when  they arise.

Here are six examples:

  1. Giveaways – if providing a customer experience, brand it e.g. coffee mug
  2. Apparel – perhaps staff that work with you could wear branded items
  3. Graphics – everything you publish should be branded, including online channels
  4. Email – it is very easy to include branding in your email signature
  5. Presentations – slide templates / and printed materials should have your branding
  6. Packaging – Bags, boxes, vehicles etc. are opportunities to promote your brand


I really like this graphic below. I came across it in an article on digital marketing by Marketing Labs in the UK. It shows examples of offline vs online branding tactics.


Brands are now in the relationship business.

The new norm of brand marketing is being a good listener. “Nothing new in that”, you might say. Now that the much relied upon method of broadcast communication (i.e. one-way discussions) is becoming less impactful, building relationships by listening first and then having a dialogue is the way forward.

Many agencies, such as our own, O’C&K, can offer social media strategies, content management, digital expertise etc. However, these will only be powerful brand marketing activities if based on customer insights, feedback and ongoing dialogue. Another way of listening is through influencers that operate within your line of business.

So, as a small business owner, let’s assume you don’t have the time and/or experience for marketing – what traits do you look for in an individual or outsource agency?  We would suggest that the following traits are important in the business of building relationships:

– Listening Skills

– Creativity

– Customer Focused

– Curiosity

– Empathetic

– Story Teller

“A brand is not something you manage over time. It’s something you deliver in the moment”.

I came across this quote when doing research for this post. It was part of a very interesting article from the Harvard Business Review about building your brand as a relationship.

Tips for building brand recognition

As alluded to above, people are interacting with organisations in a plethora of new ways – usually facilitated by technology. Consistency is vital if people are going to remember your brand and what you can do for them. Here is a check-list for some online and offline touch-points that you could apply your branding to:


  • Website / landing pages / blog (+ images) /online maps
  • Social media (logo avatar + promos on cover pictures)
  • Email newsletter / magazines / ebooks /downloads
  • Online directories / infographics
  • Advertisements / forums /groups
  • Online agreements / contracts / invoices /receipts


  • Print advertising / catalogues / brochures / flyers / posters
  • Business stationary / packaging / labels
  • Storefront /window merchandising / interiors (directional signage)
  • Trade Shows / exhibitions stands / podiums
  • Employee clothing / car stickers
  • Sponsorship signage / promotional items / prizes


A simple recipe for brand marketing is to be unique, authentic and to consistently provide value. Of course, you need to manage your brand identity but concentrate on delivering the brand experience in real time.

Marketing in the modern age hasn’t become harder but business owners and marketers do have to be smarter about it. Brand marketing can be distracted by the many marketing specialists that have appeared in recent years, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

If you need to use an expert, make sure you choose the one that will deliver exactly what you require to grow your business.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

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Is your brand surviving in the modern world?


It is probably fear that drives you to read articles / blogs about brands or branding such as this one. If you’re like us, that fear may well be rooted in your own brand surviving in this constantly changing world.

As an SME owner, you might recall the old days when you could have an idea, start a business, design a logo and mass communicate your message better than your competitors. In the current, technologically connected world and changing consumer attitudes towards business, mass messaging etc. won’t work on its own – if at all.

If any message is to break through the noise, it helps if your brand means something to people i.e. how relevant is it? Why? – because relevancy can lead to brand loyalty. Loyalty has always been important for successful brand building. However, these days we believe we need to go one step further and distinguish between emotional loyalty and functional loyalty.

The former is about feelings and experiences which don’t drive the bottom-line, in the short term. The latter does drive the bottom line in the short-term but, it could be argued, is more about ease and habit. Businesses that attempt to achieve both types of customer loyalty will do the best.

Our point is that if brand owners are aware of both types of loyalty and addresses them in their business planning, it should be possible to help the brand surviving into the future and drive the bottom-line. For example, activities such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), social media as a customer service channel and a customised after sales service are tactics that can help develop a relationship and subsequently, an element of trust. There will be no loyalty without trust.

Put simply, we always say that a brand is the perception that people have of your business based on what you do and say. In other words, your brand is your voice in the marketplace and it is how you tell your story. Effective storytelling addresses emotions and therefore is the key to your success and your brand surviving in the long term.

We meet prospects from time to time who outline their ‘problem’ as people not knowing “who we are & appreciating that we are the best!” Well now, it is quite clear to us that if these prospects can’t, or aren’t telling their story then nobody else will. We advise them that as a business owner it is their job to tell the story including their mission and raison d’etre.

Consistent communication is one element of brand strength.

It is not our intention here to outline a single route for brand survival but there are probably five suggestions we could make, to help along the way.

  1. Find your unique story and tell it repeatedly through different communication mediums
  2. Discover what the perception of your brand is by existing and ideal customers and build on it
  3. Find out where your customers touch your brand, both online and offline, and converse with them there
  4. Analyse your main competitors in every aspect particularly their brand positioning and promise
  5. Ensure all your communications reinforce your brand message and reflect your authenticity

Most of you well attest to the notion that to be conscious of building your brand by retaining customer loyalty is a sound theory. The real challenge, however, is to appreciate that it takes time and effort to do so while at the same time keep the bottom-line ticking over.

Short-term sales won’t ensure your brand success but attention to the managing of what you do and say will contribute to your brand surviving in the long term.

Building a brand that will survive.

As we’ve alluded to already, everything a business does and says, contributes to developing a brand. So, if the power of a brand is one that influences a person’s propensity to purchase and earn loyalty then what we say & do becomes that power.

What we do needs to be different or nobody will care. What and how we say things amplify our actions. The aim is to maintain a simple image of what your brand is – in the minds of the consumer. For example, is there one word that can describe your story?

What is more, if your story is your brand promise, delivering on it is paramount if people are to believe what you say about yourself. People must be convinced that you are more than a profit-making machine. Therefore, how people experience your brand goes a long way to building loyalty.

It’s not just for bricks-and-mortar brands, being available (mobile friendly), handling complaints, advertising messages, and customer service all form part of the experience. Being credible and reliable is all a consumer wants in reality. So, build your brand by building on your credentials.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”61fR_” via=”no” ]Being credible and reliable is all a consumer wants in reality. So, build your brand by building on your credentials. [/ctt]

Tips that will assist with a brand surviving

We’ve all come across brands that have failed. Failed for many reasons such as entering a saturated marketplace, not fully understanding the target market, business inexperience etc.

We cannot offer a panacea for brand survival here, but here are nine practical tips that we have picked up from our experiences to date:

  1. Know your ideal customer and talk to them in their language
  2. Generate value for others before asking for anything in return
  3. Be the best in your niche and align all your messaging for consistency
  4. Use emotive appeal in your communications – most buying decisions are emotional in nature,
  5. Deliver on your brand promise in a consistent way across all touch points – it builds trust
  6. Use word-of-mouth testimonials through influencers in your specific niche
  7. Don’t try to be something you are not. Offline should reflect online activity
  8. Listen to how you explain what you do, to people. This is probably what you really do.
  9. If you love what you do, but others don’t need it – it’s a hobby.


Where do you start when building a brand that will survive in today’s business world of distractions, options, outputs and shiny new toys? For long term brand survival, this blog post provided many tips above. The one sentiment that underlies them all is that a brand owner should focus on communicating a real value that can be added to a customer’s life.

Consistent communication is, therefore, an integral part of brand survival. Don’t feel trapped by the brand’s style guide’ – effective communication is what is required for eliciting emotions and understanding. Authenticity is the key so don’t mistake familiarity for a successful brand.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K

How to Build Your Business Brand and Achieve Sustainable Growth


The first step of building a business brand is deciding why you’ll do it not what you’ll do. You’ll decide how your brand will be identified by other people – because your brand identity is a vision you have of your business. The questions, why you are in business, who you are in business for and how unique you want to be will form the basis for the growth of your brand.

Once you are in no doubt about these elements, then you can define the visual elements of your brand such as a logo, a tagline, tone of voice etc.

“But I have a marketing strategy” you may argue but, let’s face it, such good intentions will be a complete waste of time if your activity is not grounded in the brand basics, mentioned above. The point is if a business is to achieve sustainable business growth, it must be understood that your brand defines your business.

If you have neglected to develop your brand over time by catering to your customers changing needs, they may well change suppliers because they want a better experience.

Of course, everything is hunky-dory when business is good. Customers are flocking to your door, online sales are good, whatever communications channels you are using must be working etc. But what happens when the marketplace starts to change, internally and externally, and you don’t? = business unsustainability in the long-term.

I say internally because perhaps your own workforce might have changed. You may have u25-year-olds in your workforce, who have grown up in a technology-friendly environment. They might have a different attitude to customer service, as will their peers – your new potential customers. So not only may the attitudes of your co-workers be different but also your customers’ service expectations will also be changing.

So how are you going to grow your business in this new environment?  By building your brand carefully and with purpose. That means pro-actively managing business change, your reputation and making your brand visible to the right people.

About being visible, you are probably aware, that somewhere between 70 / 80% of customers have already completed some form of research before actually purchasing. Usually, this is through referral (word-of-mouth) or online search.

Therefore, it’s important that wherever they do that research they a) find your brand and b) have a positive experience across all touchpoints. But, you can’t be there if you don’t know who they are!

Do you actually know who your customers are?

When did you last check-out who are, where are and how are your target audience? No matter how well you think you know your customers, all business brands should be constantly undertaking some form of research to improve brand strategy. Why?

Well, for one, better understanding your customer’s priorities / challenges will help you adjust your offering to find a solution for them. Secondly, you will find out how to differentiate yourself from competitors, thirdly, you will discover the attitudes of your staff and fourthly you can find out who your top 20% of customers really are. There is perhaps one more advantage of undertaking research – it will provide you with a base from which to measure going forward.

As well as formal research, simple information gathering e.g. net performance score (NPS), and having an investigative attitude here are four ways to make sure your brand stays relevant to your customers on an ongoing basis:

  • Tell a cohesive story across all brand touch-points that customers’ can relate to
  • Every business decision should be grounded in how it will add value to your customers
  • Be authentic in all your communications and build trust
  • Be consistent in your branding (images, colour, content etc.) and make it user-friendly

Developing a business brand – the theory and the practice

Don’t get me wrong – developing a brand is not easy. Aidan and I have worked on both sides of the marketing fence (as an agency and a client). We understand how developing a business brand is difficult, but possible. The thing is we are also very conscious of the fact that theory can differ from practice in many ways.

With clients, we strive to lessen the gap between both by being realistic. For instance:

Having a high-level vision – of course, it is great to have an inspiring vision but bringing that ethos off the plan is quite difficult, especially for SMEs. It is difficult due to the immediacy of running the business and making a profit. If a business did nothing more than show its customers that it listens to them, evidenced by telling customer stories, then they would show that they are acting purposefully i.e. with the customer in mind.

Brand value – many accountants, and marketers will offer to explain how to calculate a brand value for your business. However, the dilemma for marketers trying to build a brand strategy on such a value is that they can’t agree on how best to arrive at a fair and obvious figure. Figures are calculated in a myriad of different ways by various specialist consultants. A brand strategy is a must – but brand value as a growth measurement is not a perfect place to start from.

Price – this is probably the hardest theory to maintain when it comes to practice. Businesses, with the best intention of commanding a premium price, when push comes to shove – have not developed the brand to sustain their high price positioning. Customers now expect good value for money which is often interpreted by businesses as ‘cheaper’ product / services. In truth, the value expected may be nothing to do with price.

Differentiation – Almost every business, I’ll wager, see themselves as being different from competitors. Whilst this may be so with regard to internal operations – the customer, often can see no difference and is just happy that somebody is satisfying their need. We believe that the difference should be reflected in a customer’s willingness to pay a higher price. This would be due to a real difference in experience and a distinction made by the brand’s communication.

The intention of any business brand strategy is to grow the business and build a strong brand (in that order).

Tips and Timesavers for building your business brand.

The intention of any business brand strategy is to grow the business and build a strong brand (in that order). Therefore an effective strategy to develop a brand based on good business practices will result in a better ROI for the investment made. In our view what makes a strong brand is a positive reputation and good visibility.

Building on our thoughts above, here are six suggestions that you might consider when building your business brand:

  1. Determine who your audience is and what they think of you, up front
  2. Be authentic, have a unique voice online and offline e.g. website / trade shows / networking
  3. Create your own online platform – blogging, social media etc. and empower your audience to engage with you
  4. Be consistent in your communications and what you do but don’t try to please everyone
  5. Ensure that you produce more value for your customers than your competitors
  6. Build organic brand awareness first e.g. friends and family, influencers and then pay for it


It is only by adhering to your brand basics initially can you develop it according to your customers’ changing needs, thereafter. As a business owner, you must manage your reputation and ensure that your brand can be found. Especially when someone goes looking for something you can supply.

Brand Strength = Reputation + Visibility

Don’t get caught in the “busy work-trap”. Make sure that the customers’ experience of your brand is different to your competitors and that your communications are distinctive enough to stand out from the noise. That’s how you’ll build a brand to grow your business.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K

Ignore a Good Brand Strategy at Your Peril

brand strategy diagram

The more conferences, expos, seminars etc. that we attend, the more we hear that, due to other distractions, small & medium enterprises (SMEs) ignore the development of a brand strategy. In this post, we’ll look at some essentials of developing a brand strategy, focusing particularly on start-up businesses and SMEs.

Most business people appreciate that funds are tight for start-ups and that the focus is on obtaining, and converting, leads into customers. However, a total focus on the operational side and a failure to differentiate your business from competitors is a big mistake.

With all that’s involved with the setting up of a business, it is understandable that marketing might get the least attention. In O’C&K, we have a process that may be of assistance to you, in this instance. We use a six-step brand strategy process when advising customers and we break them into two stages:

Stage 1

Determining business values (so as to attract an audience with similar values)

Determining vision, mission statements and a USP (for consistency and authenticity)

Developing a visual brand identity (for uniformity of communication)

Stage 2

Determining a brand story

Identifying a target audience

Establishing an online content plan

If you are lucky enough to have a business idea that is different from all other businesses out there – great! More than likely, however, your idea is not an absolute original one so you will need to make people aware of just how different you are. This presents another challenge – how do you raise awareness above the plethora of other marketing messages that people receive every day.

In this post, we don’t intend to revisit the importance of storytelling, but when Aidan and myself meet start-up businesses for the first time, we try to ascertain their story. Having completed Stage 1 above, it is the story that becomes the thread for all communications. How you tell the story must resonate with your customers and/or prospects. It is also the basis for the establishment of your content marketing activity.

Whatever your marketing purpose, be it an awareness campaign, a brand promise you want to bolster or simply a portrayal of brand values – a reiteration of the brand story will help deliver consistency. That being said, the over-riding brand strategy that start-ups need to pursue initially (if not always) is over-delivery of their brand promise. Doing so will build word-of-mouth, authenticate the brand story and eventually deliver loyal customers.

Make Your Brand Stand Out From Others

As a start-up, more than likely, you will not be able to spend loads of money to get your message seen over and over again, based on repetition. Alternatively, you will have to rely on standing out by connecting with an audience emotionally.

Some element of intrigue will be needed. This could be ‘not doing something in a normal way’ e.g. a mobile afternoon tea service (Social Bee) or ‘having unique expertise and authority’ (RazorSocial) or ‘over-delivering on service’ (Ariel House), are good local examples that we are aware of.

The point is if you are intriguing people you won’t have to spend as much on marketplace exposure as your competitors. People like talking to friends about things that intrigue them and this is the best type of unpaid-for, marketing. Can your brand afford to not stand out?

Here are a few other ways that we find help your brand to stand out from others.

  • Have a 3-second description of what you do ready to integrate into conversations (forget the elevator pitch)
  • As an SME owner, you must be the chief storyteller (tell your stories all the time)
  • Make sure that everything you do and say communicates your brand values (live them)
  • Your brand message should be consistent and clear (and customised for different channels)
  • Use influencers you know e.g. Bloggers, Tweeters, Facebook and LinkedIn group members

Tips and Timesavers for building a brand strategy

There are many relevant questions that you might have asked yourself, read about or have been asked when building a brand advantage. It is always useful to review same, especially as a start-up in the first few years. We have mentioned a few above, but here are 7 thoughts for you to mull over:

  1. Have we tightly defined our target audience / customers?
  2. What does our brand stand for in our customers’ minds (unique value proposition)?
  3. What is the awareness of our brand amongst our audiences (do we share values)?
  4. What is it that our customers like about our brand (do we surprise and delight them)?
  5. Does our brand engage with our customers in meaningful ways (varied customer touch points)?
  6. Have we determined our brand story (with customers consistently depicted as the hero)?
  7. Do we present our brand in a consistent manner to the public?

A good brand strategy can build awareness of values, create likeability, raise your business’s credibility and gain trust from a targeted fan base.


Before you start creating your brand – research your target market. Then, as alluded to above define your brand so as to differentiate it from competitors by giving it a voice. Get an identity designed by a professional and build brand awareness online. Above all, be innovative. SMEs have a lot more flexibility to be creative with their marketing and to have a brand that is memorable and unique.

As mentioned in many of our blog posts in the past – people are more likely to buy from a business when they recognise the brand and know the story behind it.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K