By Jolyon Bennett, CEO of juice®

With the UK currently home to more than 5.9 million SMEs, the likelihood of reaching success for any small business owner depends largely upon their ability to make their company stand out from the crowd.

Differentiating your brand from others can be a challenge in any industry, but with the right knowledge and mindset it can be achieved.

I've managed to completely transform the mobile phone accessories arena since launching my business, juice®, in 2012, with a clever marketing strategy that was able to position the company as unique in its sector. Here, I share my advice on how you can build a brand that will distinguish your offering and stand the test of time.

Get to know your audience

Without knowing who you’re targeting with your product or service, it’s very difficult to develop an effective marketing strategy that makes your brand stand out, so getting to grips with your audience should be a priority from the get-go.

When it comes to understanding your target market, you can never know too much. Familiarise yourself with everything from what publications they read to the social media channels they use – ultimately this will help you build a picture of what entices them to make a purchase and you can use it to inform your brand.

Show what’s behind the brand

Audiences like to connect with real people, and a lot of value lies in sharing the story and people behind your business. It pays to offer your audience a glimpse into the inner workings of your company, and to remind them that there are real people behind the brand.

Simple things like including an ‘about’ section on your website that details your vision for the business and how you got to where you are today, or team profiles promoted via your blog and social media will showcase real personality behind your brand. Many new business owners fall into the trap of solely focusing their efforts on promoting their product or service, but your team is your biggest asset, so utilise it. Remember, people buy from people.

Stay true to yourself

Throughout your business journey, it’s important to stay true to your brand and trust your gut instinct.

Whilst you need to be aware of what other brands are doing, you have to focus on your brand – not theirs. For example, just because your competitors are paying certain people to promote their products, it doesn’t mean that you should too. Only work with influencers and retailers who love your product as much as you do and are relevant to the target audience that you are trying to reach and engage with.

Don’t forget customer experience

According to Forbes, customer experience is the new ‘brand’, and the experience you deliver to your customers is what determines whether they keep coming back for more, or if you never see them again. Therefore, attention to detail is crucial.

As your brand grows, it’s important not to lose this – consumers will fall out of love. Customer experience is more than just ‘customer service’; it filters down from your audience’s overall perception of how they have been treated by your brand. Think about the different ways you can offer your customers a highly personalised experience and create new and innovative ways in which you can reward them for their loyalty. Remember, if consumers aren’t loyal to your brand, its product or service, then the brand can no longer exist.

Be consistent

It’s cliché, but consistency is key, and all your efforts to set your brand aside are worth nothing if you aren’t doing them continuously.

Your brand values need to be applied consistently across everything you do and every interaction your customers experience. Fail to do this and you risk losing the trust and loyalty of the customer base you have worked so hard to build.