At its core, branding is focused on getting potential customers to relate to a business or product. Building on that, it’s about creating a synonymous connection between a product or service and the business. Branding doesn’t happen overnight, and it can be a hard and time-consuming undertaking. When not done correctly, branding activities can represent a bank-breaking budget item and as a result, unfortunately, carries the connotation of being exceedingly expensive. It doesn’t have to be.
For a lot of small businesses, be it a local bakery made up of five employees or a manufacturing company with 500 linemen, the investment in branding will need to be small but efficient. Whether your business is larger or smaller than the two examples given, the goal is the same; to establish your brand as an expert in your market. By implementing the suggestions below, you can lay the groundwork for effective branding of any business.
Step One: Understand and Communicate Your Brand Values
Cost-effective branding begins with a clear understanding of your company’s and brand’s values. Defining what you want your brand to say to the world helps to frame the rest of the approach. On the face of it, this might seem easy, but it can represent a pretty tricky undertaking. The biggest upside is that when it’s done by yourself, it won’t cost you a penny. Take the time to decide on your “mission statement” and things that set your brand apart.
The company The North Face is an excellent example of branding done well. Early on in their business, they decided to focus on unity as one of their core values and every marketing activity serves to make potential customers feel included in the business. They’ve created a relatable brand and clearly outlined their values. This simple act provides a powerful psychological motivator to buy their products.
A Tagline is a Powerful Tool
Defining the values your brand stands on is step one. Step two is summarizing them through a simple tagline. The goal of your tagline is to frame your values and present them in a way that your potential customers understand the benefits to them. Shopify does this through its tagline “make e-commerce better for everyone.” With that simple concept, Shopify customers perceive the brand is there to help them sell better online. The tagline should summarize your business; all marketing actions and product decisions should be informed by the tagline you set and reflect it.
The Importance of a Good Logo
There’s perhaps nothing more important than having a great logo. It’s also very easy to get it wrong as we at Shop Style Design can attest. It took us two attempts to settle on the logo we use today, and the image of a train wreck could most closely represent one of them.
When setting out to design your logo, understand the logo is something that will stick with your brand for years. In fact, it’s the primary element that will force the brand connection to the customer’s mind. While we’re living proof you can change your logo, it’s essential that you don’t rush through the logo creation process. Always consider how your logo will stand out from others within the field.
We wish we’d followed this advice when we launched with our first logo. It can be a powerful thing to design your logo print it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day for a week or so. This is an easy way to understand anything about it that will annoy you early in the process. Assuming the logo doesn’t pass the annoyance test on the first go-round, you can make revisions before it sees the eyes of the public. Designing your logo should represent the single most expensive element of branding and is worth working with a professional on.
Leveraging the Internet to Build Your Brand
The Internet provides an excellent opportunity to work on your branding with little cost. Your business has a chance to establish its name as an expert in the market through content marketing and well-executed social media accounts.
Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more provide a free platform for businesses to get their name out there. You can use your social media channels to post content in line with the values of the brand or resources that are beneficial to your customers for free, and you can run promotions targeted towards engagement for less than five dollars a day. Time will represent the most significant expenditure when working on social media and is well worth the investment.
Early on, it can be exceptionally beneficial to conduct social listening to understand where your potential customers are talking about either yours or your competitors’ products so that you can join in the conversation and increase your visibility.
Summing it Up
The importance of branding has increased every year as more people look to the internet to make purchases and are met with an ever-increasing number of options. It is more important than ever to stand out and we hope the steps and suggestions above are helpful in establishing your brand and setting it apart. If you are ever interested in speaking with the experts at Shop Style Design about your branding, schedule a call and we would be thrilled to discuss the possibilities.