Small Business Support Blog

If you are interested in reading about how to get your business visible online, with regular insights into being an entrepreneur and navigating your way through the business world, then this blog is for you!

We regularly post interesting articles on topics on leadership, management and visibility - with guest articles and features from experts in their field.

If you are interested in collaborating and would like to do a guest feature then please email [email protected] 

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Category: Branding

  1. What credibility means to a brand - and your business

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    What credibility means to a brand - and your small business 

    The internet has a lot to answer for. Infinite knowledge and wisdom awaits just at the touch of a search bar. Whatever you want to know - Google can answer it, and typically in less than 0.00000001 seconds (why do they think it’s important to tell us that? I’m like Jeez Google chill out, I got my answer, no need to brag!) 

    With the internet came user generated content - the rise of social media (and no before you click away this is not one of those posts that admonishes social media - Sacha Baron Cohen has done a decent enough job of that this week - rightly so in my opinion) and the rise of the freepreneur. The person who sets up their business pretty much for free, with a smart phone, a prayer of some sort and the use of a favourable algorithm. 

    When Instagram launched it was an amazing platform for sharing visuals like Facebook never really was - it was the chance to curate a beautiful looking grid of well composed, staged photos which could be used by small businesses to build their empires; and the only credentials you needed were the ability to take a good iPhone pic and a decent filter. The cake making industry for example exploded - suddenly everyone was Mary Berry and they all believed they could make money out of it. 

    The wedding industry has seen a complete resurgence fuelled by the social media FOMO effect - every bride wants the most likes on their posts and will stop at nothing to achieve the jaw drop effect; and there are lots of wedding suppliers willing to help them with that pursuit. What you feel for are the artisans. Those that have spent years honing their skills, gaining relevant qualifications and putting the visibility miles in to become the artisans and professionals they are today. The cake makers, the photographers and the dress makers. The lace makers, the florists and the stationers. Do not get me wrong, the likes of Pinterest and Instagram have been the protagonist to some incredible innovation in an industry which needed an injection of enterprise, but there is a watch out for the freepreneur who masquerades as the seasoned pro. They typically undercut the professional, and sometimes even worse - they provide sub-standard products that they’ve just been able to photo well. Which can undermine the industry in general.  

    It’s not just the wedding industry either. When Canva launched suddenly a whole host of “graphic designers” arrived in the marketplace  - people with well meaning intentions and a good imagination, but more often than not producing work which isn’t really fit for purpose and is charged for at an achingly low rate. I recently saw an advert on a popular networking site for logo design for £5! 

    In the last few years the spirits industry has gone wild for “kitchen distilleries” with new entrants coming into the market on a daily basis. These well meaning ambitious people want to make money from something they love - but it can have dangerous consequences when you don’t know how to do it properly and when it’s not effectively regulated. In this instance, the empowering platform of social media can have significant repercussions - but consumers may be blindly unaware because a good digital marketing strategy can be very misleading.

    What I suppose business in this day and age comes down to is knowing your ideal client, being comfortable that the world is big enough for all entrepreneurs whatever size, experience or skill level and continuing to invest in your craft to be the best, or be the innovator or be the disruptor. What is also important though is to be proud of your credibility; and what credibility can do for your brand. 

    When looking at any business I try to look through my (pardon my language) bullshit-o-meter to try and cut through the filters and the finery to see what is underneath. For me, knowing who I am buying from, the provenance of the product and the knowledge and experience of the service provider are so important.

    The next big thing pops up often on social media, and the lack of being able to demonstrate credibility can be a limiting factor - particularly for large or luxury purchases. This is where demonstrating credibility through your brand story becomes so important for creating longevity and sustainability as a business.

    In 2020 your brand story is going to be so important - engaging your audience and letting them know what your brand stands for and is built upon will be a distinguishing factor for purchasing decisions as markets become more and more saturated (and let’s not even get into the turbulent economic conditions which may affect small businesses). Establishing what your identity believes in, making sure that your brand appeals to your ideal client so they wouldn’t think twice about choosing you, will be what sets you apart - because they know, like and most importantly, trust in you. 

    So here’s to proudly displaying those qualifications, those feature badges, awards and recognitions. Here’s to shouting about the years of experience, the investment into equipment, the quality of workmanship and the little details that go into making your brand unique. 

    Brand story is so important in 2020 (check out my previous blog post on marketing trends for next year here) - make sure you weave your credibility into it as much as possible. 

     

     

     

     

     

    Pamela Rae-Welsh runs a successful online visibility consultancy in Manchester. Having helped over 100 businesses with brand design, web styling and visibility services, Pamela has become a specialist in SEO, Digital Marketing and General Consultancy. Based between Worsley in Manchester and Oxfordshire, she uses her 15+ years of experience in the retail and education sector to support small businesses with achieving their entrepreneurial goals. 

     

     

  2. Choosing your ideal branding designer...

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    Choosing a branding stylist that’s right for your business can be such a minefield - you’ve taken the massive decision to think about investing in the aesthetics for your business and now face the daunting task of finding someone that can translate your vision into a reality. What should you look for in the search to find the right fit? Here’s a few pointers to help you with the decision making process..

    1. What are you actually looking for?

    Branding is nothing to do with physical products and everything to do with the concept and vision for your business. When choosing who to help you with creating your branding story you want to make sure that you find someone that can help you to map out the vision and create a strategy that supports your goals - not just create you a pretty logo or some nice business cards.

    2. What styles do you like and who created them...

    Everyone has brands that they love and are inspired by. Finding a particular style and then researching branding houses which create stories which are in that style is a good way of researching potential matches - but it’s worthwhile noting that an aesthetic fit doesn’t mean a personality fit, which leads to the next pointer...

    3. Have a chat!

    Finding a branding stylist that gets you and what you are about is so important. You will not create the right result with someone who you can’t get along with, or feel comfortable enough to challenge and be yourself with. That is the key to nailing a branding design - truly collaborating to bring to life your story and give it the voice to engage your ideal audience. 

    If a designer wants money upfront or offers off the shelf options - consider whether this designer will actually create a bespoke solution for you...

    4. Don’t be fooled...

    There are a lot of adverts that claim to “boost your business to 6 figures” and offer various trainings around branding and how it can drive income. It is true that your brand attracts your customers and therefore having the right identity can really drive your business, but please be wary of get rich quick schemes and training programmes when the agency or business isn’t qualified to help. Ask them for their credentials and look for testimonials to check out their work. 

    5. Go with your heart, or gut, or head - whichever speaks loudest!

    Investing in a true branding identity process is one of the biggest inputs you can put into your business and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take your time and select someone that understands you and gives you faith and trust that they will support you on your journey. Good isn’t always cheap and cheap isn’t always good - if you find the right person but can’t afford them straight away why not wait to get the right result rather than compromising to get something quick? If you compromise and get a result you don’t love, you’ll end up spending double. 

    Why choose Worsley Creative?

    To be honest - we are honest! We work with you to understand your venture and your vision and then collaborate on the overall aesthetic and voice of your business. We don’t want to create anything which isn’t representative of your goals and we don’t want to coerce or influence you away from your heart. 

    We provide clear and transparent advice and work with a process which involves you along the way - from creating inspirational mood boards to designing messages which will speak to your audience, every step of the way we get you involved so that you feel like you’ve crafted your brand yourself - which you have!

    Get in touch for an informal chat about how we can help you to design the voice and story of your business!