Drive Your Business Forward with Easy Brand Building Techniques
Brand is one of the most important assets a company can have. It is just a shame that a lot of small business owners fail to recognise the value of establishing a brand. We are all familiar with the iconic badges of big names like Apple and McDonalds, but building an instantly recognisable brand to help your customers support you is just as important for smaller companies as it is for the big guys. So what can you do to improve your brand visibility in a competitive global marketplace and why is it important anyway?
The Importance of Brand
There is a strong link between successful businesses and an instantly recognisable brand. In a nutshell, your brand is your business’s identity. A company’s brand encapsulates everything about it, from its values to how it is perceived by its customers. If your customers can relate to your brand, they are more likely to develop brand loyalty, which will help you build a strong and lasting relationship with them.
Define Your Brand
- What makes your business different?
- What are you offering?
- Who are your customers?
These are just some of the questions you need to ask in order to define your brand. Be honest about your core values and what you are offering your customers. Be consistent, but not repetitive. Reach out in lots of different ways and always be original and authentic, particularly if you are trying to attract customers who favour small businesses and independent operators.
Spread the Word
When you have your brand defined, it is time to get the word out about your business into the wider world. There are many ways to do this, but you need a logo and some kind of slogan or tag-line that captures the essence of your brand.
Create a Memorable Logo
A brilliant logo will help to spread your message far and wide without you ever having to say a word – although you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a great slogan. For an example of how powerful a logo can be, take the Apple brand – how many people wouldn’t instantly make the connection between the distinctive apple with a piece missing and the Apple brand? I seriously doubt there are many people in the developed world who don’t know the Apple logo. In fact I would go as far as to say that the Apple logo is as recognizable as the famous golden arches of everyone’s favourite burger restaurant, although arguably not such a sight for sore eyes when you are hungry!
Rules for a Good Logo
- Keep it simple – Simple logos are easy to recognise.
- Make it original – Artwork copied from generic sources won’t look professional, so if you are not artistic, pay a graphic designer to breathe life into your ideas.
- Will it work on all platforms? – Logos are normally used on a multitude of different platforms, from email signature lines to letterheads and business cards, so make sure yours works well in different sizes and formats.
- Keep it appropriate – It should go without saying that you need a logo that fits your niche. For example, a car dealer might use a car in his logo, but a car logo would be wrong for a hairdresser.
For larger businesses, the brand is the company, but in the case of smaller businesses, the person behind the brand is equally as important. If you own the business and are the person customers deal with, you and the company are as one and therefore you need to spend time building your personal brand, too. You can do this by spending time on social media, writing useful articles for relevant websites, and including your photograph on marketing materials. For example, if you own a car leasing company and you want to let potential customers know about great lease offers available over the next month, spending time on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks will help heighten awareness of your brand and drive business your way.
Low Budget Branding
Billion dollar corporations such as Apple and McDonalds have vast budgets to spend on building their brand. Sadly new start-ups and other small businesses don’t have access to the big money and therefore need to scale down their marketing efforts and spend the cash wisely. But don’t panic if you are a new business with zero money in the bank – it is possible to create a fantastic brand without blowing a gigantic hole in your budget. Even simple things such as including your company logo on emails, invoices and marketing materials will help. If you can design your own brand and attach it to emails, it won’t even cost you a penny.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is an excellent way to build brand. Most businesses recognise the importance of Facebook and Twitter, but although these sites are great for connecting with potential customers and brand building, don’t underestimate the power of video marketing. YouTube and Vimeo are perfect for small businesses who want to build their brand online and advertise their products and services.
There are many ways to build a brand, but unless you are consistent your efforts are doomed to failure. Customers need to know exactly what to expect from the business so you can’t afford to send out mixed messages. You also need to be true to your business’s brand. If you don’t deliver on your promises, people won’t trust your brand, which is not good for business.