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Branding is a billion dollar industry. Big companies will pay through the nose to optimise their brand perception. This is because customers can have very strong reactions to a brand. Public perception can completely reverse a customer’s intent to purchase. Instead of deciding where to buy coffee, or clothes, or any other product based on it’s quality, customers will often make their purchases based on the perception of the company’s brand. There are people who prefer to shop at M&S because they perceive it as ‘classier’ than shops like Tesco. Meanwhile, other customers prefer to shop at Tesco because they perceive it to be better value-for-money than M&S. Young adults and teens perceive Starbucks as a more youth-friendly café than Costa. However many adults prefer Costa for a similar, yet inverse reason – it’s more mature atmosphere. It’s not the individual products that are really being judged, it’s your shop personality.

How to Get Your Shop Personality Across, Cheaply

Find your voice. You don’t need to hire a fancy company to handle your branding for you. You know your business, even if you don’t know marketing so well, having a clear idea of how you want to be perceived is the first step forward. Once you know who you want to be, use that voice to write your emails. Use it in your blogs as well. Use it on your website and in your marketing. Keep these things consistent and you’ll be able to give your store a real sense of personality. Customers love to get to know the brands they wear, eat, drink – whatever you sell. Once customers get a taste of the personality of your store, they’ll be much more invested in you.

Once you have this voice, start designing around it. Creating a logo is a cheap way of making a memorable face for your store. With an image to attach to your brand, customers will have something to associate with your brand. Make something recognisable and think about what sort of image and tone of voice your customers will relate to. You know your regulars, which means you’ve got a good idea about your prospective customers too. The ones that are out there, looking for a shop like yours, but who just haven’t found you yet. Make a logo your customers want to be seen wearing (or eating out of, drinking out of, riding, carrying, pushing, wherever your brand goes) and your customers-in-waiting will see your brand and be intrigued.

How to Connect to Your Customers

Most customers are internet-active all the time. Whether by phone, laptop, or even internet connected televisions, most people are connected to the web, by some means, at all times. This means customer interaction doesn’t have to end when they leave the shop. There are dozens of channels for you to stay connected to your customers outside the store.

A customer takes a picture of their food, for social media, Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash

Newsletters

Email newsletters are a very common and reliable way of connecting with your consumer base. A friendly email explaining what your business has been up to and what exciting new products and services you’re bringing in, can really help to keep customers interested in you. Injecting this email with a healthy dose of your shop personality can really help to get your brand across. Customers that are exposed to your brand through a friendly email every other week will be more invested in your shop.

Social Media

While email newsletters are a good start, the real arena of online customer interaction is social media. This is a term some retailers dread. It can seem like a tough area to break into. If you weren’t on-board with social media when sites like Facebook and Twitter were just getting popular, the social media space can seem confusing and unfriendly. Though, however you may feel about them, these are the most popular channels for customers. These are the places your customers are going to be talking about you.

Taking command of these platforms, you can give your customers a space to talk about you, share pictures and experiences of your products and sell your brand to their friends and family. Establishing your shop personality on social media can bring your brand to a great wealth of new consumers. There are plenty of articles out there for helping you get started on social media and a quick google search turns up plenty of resources. Social media doesn’t have to be a blind-spot in your business. This is a powerful tool of modern branding and discovery that the modern retailer avoids at their peril.

Read our partner xln’s article on branding without a big budget and see what else you can learn.

Get in contact with our helpful and passionate team if you have any questions.