small business brand strategy

The Secret to Standing Out in a Noisy Online World

In a world where everyone is constantly competing for attention, carving out your own unique space in the digital landscape can be a real challenge for any small business owner.

And while SEO is one of the best tools you can use to reach the right people, getting your business seen online is only half the battle.

To truly stand out from the crowd and make an impact online, you need to connect with your dream customers, tell them your unique story and get them to know, like and trust you. Why should they choose you over your competitors?

It all comes down to your branding. This is why I’ve invited brand strategist, Darby Lyndon, to share her top tips for creating a brand that’ll cut through the noise and get your biz seen *and* loved in 2023.

Branding isn’t just about logos anymore

When many small business owners hear the word ‘branding’ they immediately think of logos and colour palettes, but branding these days is so much more than a symbol.

Before social media, powerhouse brands such as Coca-Cola and Heinz could easily differentiate with bold logos and catchy taglines. But the world has changed significantly and now consumers are continually bombarded with brand messages flooding their inboxes, blasting their social feeds, and taking over their favourite podcasts.

Every day there are thousands of brands fighting for the attention of your ideal customers and that’s why one of the biggest challenges facing business owners in 2023 is capturing the attention of the right people.

If you want your brand to stand out, it is going to take much more than a logo. So if it isn’t about logos and colours, what does building a stand-out brand look like in 2023 and beyond?

It’s about creating emotional connections with your ideal customers, building relationships and giving them a reason to be a part of your story. Consumers today want to feel a spark with a brand and they want to feel proud of what they are purchasing. Branding is a feeling that goes beyond a simple transaction.

The key difference between branding and marketing

So if branding is all about creating an emotional connection with your audience, what role does marketing play? Let’s use my favourite dating analogy to unpack the difference between marketing and branding.

Marketing is essentially like flirting. It’s all about using different strategies to attract your ideal customers (or lovers!). Branding is the reason they fall in love with you. It’s your DNA, your vision, values, personality, quirks, and unique voice.

You could be going hard on all your social media channels, running ads and flirting like crazy, but if you aren’t clear on who you are, your values, your personality and who you want to be working with, you could be wasting your time on a lot of awful first dates. On the other hand, If you’re clear on your brand strategy but not implementing the right marketing (flirting) strategies, then you could be wasting opportunities to get your brand out there and seen by the right people.

Your branding and marketing should be working side by side. You need both to attract your ideal customers and allow them to fall in love with your brand.

Three branding tips to consider before going all out with your marketing and SEO

1. Uncover your brand DNA

The first step in any brand strategy is uncovering your brand DNA. This is the backbone of why your brand exists and what impact you want to have on the world. When you are clear on your vision, mission and values, you will be able to attract people who are truly aligned with your goals and values. You won’t have to worry about crappy first dates because you are confident in who you are, who you want to work with, and what you have to offer!

  1. Start by thinking about your vision statement or your ‘one-day’ statement, which includes what you wish the world could be like if you achieve everything that you set out to do.
  2. Now think about your brand mission statement or your ‘today statement’ which describes exactly how you are putting your vision into action, along with who benefits from your work.
  3. Finally, list out your ‘right now’ statement or your brand values which outline what you believe and how you behave.

To see some examples and tips for uncovering your brand DNA, download my free Brand DNA workbook.

2. Understand your ideal customers on a deeper level

One of the most important brand foundations is getting clear on your target audience. Once you are confident in who they are, you will be able to more easily attract them to your brand through your marketing efforts. From my experience, most people think that they are clear on who their target audience is but have only touched the surface. It’s not just about the demographics, but also the psychology and mindset that leads them to you.

  1. Ask your customers what they are thinking, feeling and saying about your industry before they come to work with you
  2. Uncover what their goals and dreams are in relation to your area of expertise
  3. Determine how knowledgeable they are about the problem at hand and what you need to provide to help them realise the right solution

3. Know what makes you special!

There’s no point in putting time and money into a marketing strategy if your ideal customers are going to take a quick exit as soon as they start to explore your brand. So how can you encourage your ideal customers to hang around and engage with you? It all comes back to knowing what makes your brand unique!

  1. Embrace what makes your brand different from your competitors and make sure you are screaming it from the rooftop
  2. Understand your brand personality and make sure that you are injecting your own flavour into all of your brand communications
  3. Write your brand story and share it across your brand channels so that your ideal customers can get to know you on a deeper and more emotional level
hi there
Darby is a brand strategist and content marketer, passionate about turning great businesses into irresistible brands. Throughout her career, Darby has worked on marketing and brand strategies for some of Australia’s leading travel, property, and retail brands. Now in her consulting business, she helps her clients get crystal clear on their brand strategy so that they can create effective marketing campaigns, connect with their audience on a deeper level, and have fun doing it!
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