Branding and brand identity are important aspects of marketing that a business can benefit from immensely. When it comes to small businesses, branding is put on the back burner because of the high marketing costs involved. But small business owners, who want to establish their businesses and carve a niche for themselves, should consider developing their brand identity. Here are 10 simple and low-cost ways to do it.
If there is anything that the major brands have in common, it is a strong message. Your first step, therefore, is to create a branding message that is simple, yet strong enough to make a point about how your company is different from the others in the industry. The message should be easy to comprehend and should be good enough to encourage your potential customers to choose you over your competitors.
The next step is to have a brand logo that your customers can identify your company with. The design and the color of your logo may not be a major factor in bringing your customers to you. However, every time customers see the logo, they should be able to connect it to your brand message. While you don't have to spend a lot of money on developing a brand, you should certainly make sure that the color and the design of the logo are in sync with your company's image and its values.
Whichever logo you choose, be sure to have it everywhere from your business cards to your brochures and your website.
How you communicate your brand message to potential customers is very important. First of all, you have to be sure that the message that you pass through different mediums remains the same and, is expressed in the same tone and language. In case of voice commercials, ensure that the message is delivered with the same rhythm and tone every time. Proper communication of the message creates a great impact on the potential client, and helps you stand out in the crowd.
Be consistent whenever you send out your brand message. Whether it is on your website, a blog , a print ad or a radio commercial, you need to maintain consistency to establish your brand. But to make an impact, you should try and test different ways of delivering your message before you pick one. Even when you are testing out different tones at the same time, ensure that they send out the same message. Otherwise, you could leave your audience confused.
Whether your brand gets good publicity or a negative one depends on how efficient you are in providing your services. As a small business owner, you need to understand that bad publicity tends to travel faster than good, be it in the local market or the global market. So, ensure to provide quality services and products to your customers as promised, and deliver when you say you will. Otherwise, you will end up promoting your brand, but in the negative light.
Publicity plays an important role in building your brand. According to research, a customer becomes familiar with a brand only after he or she has been exposed to it at least seven times.
There are different ways to publicize your brand and get noticed. The most common way is to use your logo on your literature, websites, products etc. In addition to that, you can take part in trade shows, local events, have a direct mail or email campaign etc to create awareness about your brand.
While being a participant can be good, being part of an event's organizing committee, or sponsoring an event, will help you get involved and get noticed. Considering that a number of local event organizers need help and need volunteers, all you need to do is ask to be on a committee.
A corporate review should give your potential clients a quick and positive idea about your company, and should not be more than a single page. Also, the draft should be simple, with short sentences that are easy to read and comprehend. Otherwise, the customer may lose interest and not bother to read it completely.
Measure and Modify
Try to measure the reaction and response of the public to your brand. This can be done by keeping a tab on the discussions on forums, your blogs and on social networking sites. Also, check your sales figures from time to time and change any brand aspects that you may feel are not effective.
Avoid Controlling Your Brand
An important point that you, as a small business owner, should understand is that you can only set your brand in a particular direction, but you may not be able to control it entirely. How your brand image is perceived is totally dependent on the audience. The best you can do is to make branding a continuous marketing process, and try to bridge the gap between how your brand image is and how you want it to be.