Maybe you’ve put it off for a while, but you’ve finally come to the conclusion: Your business needs to spend some serious time developing its brand.
Your aesthetic is inconsistent, your online and print voices are inconsistent, your logo is beyond “blah.” Nothing is working.
So from here, you’ll need to invest loads of time, energy, and money to effectively develop your company’s brand and establish it as a company with a successful marketing game. Right? Well, almost.
A major and detrimental misconception about brand building is that, in order to do it right, your small business will need to surrender an arm, a leg, and the space it’s already signed onto for the next 6 months. The fact is, it’s just not the case that successful branding has to cost your business much–or any–money at all!
Establishing a killer digital marketing campaign for your business that serves to strengthen and solidify the company’s brand is something you can manage for next-to-nothing. With the internet and its bounty of options, there are endless ways for your company to attack an awesome marketing campaign and to establish an unforgettable brand presence without impacting your business’s budget much at all.
For 10 tips on how you can get started developing your company’s brand without going broke…well, read on!
1. Look into Competitors
Before you can get a good and effective jump on your own brand, it’s important to look around for inspiration and market research. If your business is paling in comparison to your competitors, it may have something to do with your competitors’ vastly more effective branding.
Sit down with your team to scroll through your competitors’ sites and social media platforms. Take note of what these businesses are doing well. Note their distinct brand voices, their aesthetic style, their levels of consistency.
Looking into competitors not only provides you with ideas to discreetly run off with, but it provides you with an insight into the ways your marketing efforts could be better purposed and more efficiently-functioning. Even if you’re just doing a brief run-through of your competitors’ branding, take notes. The things that stand out to you are things that stand out to customers.
2. Decide What Your Branding will Achieve
Once you’ve done a bit of shopping around and jealousy-mongering, you can start to decide what, exactly, you want your branding to achieve.
Put thought into the sort of tone and style you think your brand should have. Compile a group of logos you find compelling. Take the time to think through the things that seem to you as though they could make a significant impact on your audience. Interaction on social media? A sleeker visual design?
Remember that no one knows your business’s current brand better than you and your team. If you think better branding might resolve certain issues throughout your marketing efforts, it probably can. Target those things and make a concrete list of objectives to deliver your team to the resolution of longstanding issues.
3. Build an Honest Brand Message
Your tagline and mission statement communicate a few basic things about your company. But your brand message should push things a step further; it should make an attempt to connect with its audience on a human level. It should communicate who you are, what you do, and why on Earth anyone ought to care.
Your brand message should be clear and simple–and it should be the epitome of your brand voice.
Your audience likely knows what it is that your company does–but, especially if your brand building has been lacking, your audience likely doesn’t understand why it makes a difference to them. Focus your brand message on the human-centered aspects of your business. Construct your message in a candid, human, and honest way that people will find natural to connect with.
4. Pinpoint Your Target Audience
What’s that? “Audience,” you say? Did you say it again? And another time?!
If you think it might, maybe, possibly be crazy important to center your business’s branding efforts around the audience your business serves and interacts with…well, you’re right. Chances are, you already have a general idea of who it is your business is after. But in the midst of your branding efforts, it’s crucial to take the time to reevaluate and ensure you’re accurately pinpointing your target audience.
Take advantage of tools like Facebook Insights and Google Analytics. These things will allow you a peek inside the masses of people who are accessing your digital content already, and they’ll allow you some perspective as to how you might better tailor your business’s stuff to suit that audience in the future.
5. Refresh Your Brand’s Logo
Lots of people’s first instinct when they hear the word “rebranding” is, simply, the creation of a new logo. And strictly speaking, they’re not wrong at all. (Although, as we’re learning, branding is much broader than logos!)
One really visible aspect of your company’s branding is its logo. Your logo likely appears on your website, your social media channels, and all physical company documents. But…does your logo kind of…stink?
If your company has been living on a lame, outdated, or just plain ugly logo, hoping it won’t affect audience interest or effectiveness of branding–give it up. If it’s been a while since your company’s logo has gotten a good update, it’s time. Your audience has noticed.
Many companies don’t have an in-house designer or branding strategist, but the good news is, you can hire a good one without breaking the bank. For a longterm investment in your team’s logo design, look into a good brand marketing agency to help you along.
6. Target an Effective Brand Voice
Once you’ve cleaned up some of the logistical and visual aspects of your brand’s marketing, it’s time to work on your company’s written style and voice. Remember, any time you post on social media, on your site, send an email or newsletter, you’re using your business’s brand voice.
Make sure it’s to your advantage.
For lots of companies, a casual, personable brand voice is the perfect tool needed to connect with digital audiences. For others, a more businesslike and clinical brand voice might work better. Do some thinking into your intended brand personality, then develop a solid way of speaking to correlate with that personality.
7. Lean Into Your Brand’s Personality
Whatever sort of personality your brand comes to foster, be sure your team and marketing efforts really commit to it. The only thing worse than no branding efforts is inconsistent, tough to follow branding!
If your team’s brand voice and aesthetic is quirky, fun, and accessible, lean into that. Give it your all with every last post and document. If your company sticks to a more professional, exclusive tone, be sure you’re consistent with your tone across all platforms.
Brands that are inconsistent and flaky become tough to follow–and even tougher for potential clients to trust. Showing that you’re fully committed to providing a consistent brand in your marketing and social media efforts gives customers a peek into the sort of consistency and commitment you provide in your services.
8. Ensure Your Brand is Consistent
Okay, yeah, so we sort of covered this point in the last tip–but it’s really, really important. Your brand needs to be consistent across every platform; from your website to your newsletters, to your email, to your in-person branding, everything needs to match up.
If your company boasts a friendly, interactive voice on social media, but a harsh, clinical tone on your website…well, you’ve got a problem. If your voice is fun and personal, but your logo is outdated and businesslike…you have a problem!
Keep everything consistent across every last platform–from writing style to the color scheme, it all matters. Your endgame in terms of branding should be for any customer from anywhere in the world to be able to look at a piece of marketing or a written sample from your team and be able to recognize that thing as uniquely yours. The first step in reaching this goal is to keep everything consistent, no matter how far one platform may be from the next!
9. Double-Check that Everyone’s Onboard
One final, super-important way to establish effective branding that sees a serious return on your investments is to take advantage of every perspective you’ve already got, right in-house. Listen to the opinions and insights of your team in order to establish lucrative and honest branding throughout your company.
It’s a great habit to run every branding move by the rest of your team. This allows for natural quality assurance. It allows everyone to have a hand in the creation of your branding materials, which in turn strengthens your ability to be consistent and unique.
You’re already paying your employees and team members, right? To establish the best-possible brand, use their well-informed counsel as often as possible. Then watch your branding blossom at the fingertips of your staff!
Want More Tips on How to Get Awesome Brand Building?
See–that wasn’t so expensive now, was it?!
When it comes down to it, establishing a solid brand for your small business can often cost your next-to-nothing. All it takes is a little time and energy, and voila! Your company’s brand building can take off.
For more tips on how to get awesome branding throughout your company– and how to stay within budget while doing so–check out our page!