Here are 5 low-cost tips for small business branding
When we think about branding, what first comes to mind is the multi-billion dollar corporations with a global presence that dominate ad segments on television. The reality though is branding is something that’s relevant and necessary for businesses irrespective of their size.
Of course, large enterprises can afford to have enormous budgets dedicated to their advertising campaigns. However, just because your business is small doesn’t mean you have to settle for a mediocre, ineffective or non-existent branding strategy. There are ways you can make it work on a limited budget. Here are a number of valuable tips to help you do just that.
Know Your Target Audience
No business or product is geared to meet the needs of every single person on the face of the earth. Each product has a target market. You cannot get branding right if you do not clearly determine who you want to sell to. Knowing who your audience is will help you understand where you can find them and how to best communicate with them.
Your brand communication messaging and channels should depend on what would best connect with your prospective customers. Branding targeting Millennials has to be different from branding targeting Baby Boomers.
Establish a Brand Identity
Branding is so much more than placing a catchy logo on your website. It is about who you are as a business, the values you stand for, your mission and your customer service philosophy. It’s on this foundation that the look and feel of your visual elements must stand on. That’s because even different shapes and colors carry a certain connotation.
For example, the color blue is synonymous with stability and reliability, which is why it’s a top choice for financial services providers. So before you can proceed with the more tactical aspects of your branding, take time to define your business’ brand identity.
Get Visual Branding
After you define who you are, your industry, your customers and your unique selling proposition, it’s time to design the visual elements of your brand. This begins with a brand style-guide that details your overall branding strategy, such as your fonts and color palette. The guide is the blueprint that ensures your brand is consistent.
You can then develop a logo, the face of your company. It’s the branding element most customers will notice first. From there, move on to your corporate letterhead, website, business cards, and product packaging (for example, https://hotshotsleeves.com creates impressive coffee cup sleeves).
Explore Partnership Opportunities
Branding is about creating a strong, emotional bond between customers and a product or business. It takes plenty of time to build this connection. You can, however, speed up the process by leveraging the recognition and market strength other brands have already established with your target customers. It’s trust-building via proxy.
People will be more willing to give you an ear if they are introduced to you by a brand they trust. The key to nailing this strategy is identifying businesses with an identical target market, but that aren’t offering a product that competes with yours. For example, if you are selling an energy bar, you could partner with running stores.
Be a Champion for Your Customers
In today’s ultra-competitive business environment, there’s no shortcut to standing out. You have to walk the walk and not just say what your customers want to hear. While the visual elements of your brand are important, it’s your reputation for performance that ultimately determines how the market perceives your business.
If your delivery and customer service is mediocre or appalling, all the other work you’ll have put into building your brand will come to naught. Instead, small businesses should seek to exceed expectations as that is what will get their customers spreading the word about them to their social circle. Provide a consistently positive experience for your customers irrespective of what, how, when, why and where they interact with your business.
Armed with these practical tips, you now have all you need to go out there and take your business’ branding to the next level.