A lot of small business owners think that branding is something to be left to big companies. The truth is, it used to be that way, and company logos and imagery wasn’t as important. Then came the internet and social media, which has shifted the way customers access and view businesses they are willing to spend money with.
Take for instance, online shoppers, who have access to everything they need to make an informed buying decision. When comparing, yes, a business website, branding, logo and many other factors do come into play. Simply having a few 5 star reviews is not always enough to leap frog one business over the other.
Considering that we are a visual, instant gratification society, imagery and branding is very important, regardless of the size of the business. While it’s true that large companies spend a lot of money on branding and digital marketing, that does not mean you need an enormous bank account to create an effective branding strategy. There are many things you can do to ensure your business stands out, make it memorable, and grab the attention of your customers. The following are some branding strategies that can help take your business to another level.
Define Your Brand Identity
Branding is more than creating a stunning logo. Business owners, keep in mind that when it comes to a company’s brand identity, you are telling the world who you are, your values, and your mission. Your identity also can represent the way you treat customers with both the feel and look of the visual assets. Before moving forward with tactical steps in the branding strategy, both on the internet and offline, you have to visualize your brand.
After defining who you are, your customers, and why you are special, you need to start designing your brand. The logo of the brand, or company is typically considered the starting point, or the ruler by which all things are measured. Start by determining the details of your design strategies, like brand color, fonts, and do’s and don’ts. A simple meeting with those working on designs, some basic research on Google (this is FREE), and a clear vision will ensure everyone working with you is on the same page. Remember that your logo is the face of your business and people will remember it if it’s memorable, or forget it if it is forgettable.
Branding a business almost always includes material and assets other than the logo, so keep that in mind as you craft your visual plan and portfolio. Some general things on the print material checklist include business cards, brochures, flyers, t-shirts and hats, so always design logos and imagery to look great and fit properly on these items. Depending on the type of business you are running, you may also need extra branding assets such as corporate letterhead and product packaging.
Designing Your Website
As most small business owners know, building a website is a massive visual undertaking, and should be planned out carefully because it will act as the digital side of your business. That means the feel and look ought to be consistent with your branding.
Develop The Right Content
Small businesses rarely have a huge budget for advertising. However, you do not have to spend a lot of money to reach the right audience. The right thing to do is to embrace content marketing, which means spending the time to put your thoughts on “digital paper” and start to distribute lots and lots of quality, original and engaging text for people to read, share and interact with.
Believe it or not, written content is part of a company brand and the message it is trying to send to the world. The good thing about content marketing is that it offers you an opportunity to show off your expertise in the industry, and your audience will trust you, and people shop with whom they trust.
The essence of digital marketing and visual branding is consistency. Doing things often and under the same visual premise is very important. Branding is to gain recognition, reputation and legitimacy, so taking the time to do it properly will help the business, and could end up saving you money in the long run.