It’s not just business, it’s personal too.
In most dealings with our small business clients there is one aspect of their branding that comes up consistently as a cause of extreme anxiety. The issue: what do I blog about? The issue centers on the conflict between whether or not to keep it “strictly business” or to share personal perspectives on topics outside of the business. In truth, for the small business owner, there really isn’t an issue. While big businesses and corporations aren’t often represented by a single individual (there are some exceptions, but this is generally the rule), small businesses are and should have an individual or a small group of partners serving as the face(s) of the business. The reason being that when someone makes the choice to use the services or products of a small business over that of a larger corporation, he or she is often doing so because of a desire for a more personal experience. It is for that reason that small businesses owners should take advantage of every opportunity to add a personal touch to his or her brand.
Ultimately, any small business is selling two things: the product/service and the individual(s) behind that product/service. Family-owned restaurants, husband/wife team photographers, single attorney law firms, and the like share this common thread. With the growing importance of instant product/service reviews on sites such as Yelp!, Amazon, Google, etc. and the wealth of knowledge (and junk) on the internet, today’s consumer is proving to be more savvy than any in history. Additionally, nearly every business/industry in every major to mid-major market is saturated, making the need for small business owners to set themselves apart from the pack even more important. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by personalizing the business through branding and marketing … which brings us back to the blog conundrum.
On “what to write?”, the answer is simple: anything that is relevant. Relevancy extends beyond the product or scope of services to anything related to the business, which includes the the individuals, ideas, and motivations behind the business. From business to business, owner to owner, these characteristics change and supply the only real difference in a crowded market. What’s more, this personalization should extend beyond the blog and serve as some of the foundation in the overall brand identity. It is for this reason that we have made it part of our process to use elements of our branding clients’ personalities to build business identity. We also consistently encourage small business owners to share not only information on their businesses, but information on themselves and their worldview with their current and potential clients at every opportunity. Ultimately, they must sell themselves and their identities to stand out in the crowd, creating the personal, intimate experience their customers are looking for.