What is branding? Branding is making people recognize and associate with your business, be it product or service. When we say apple, in general what comes to your mind? The fruit or iPhone? iPhone, I would say.
This is what branding is. Your product or service should be synonymous to your brand name. However, it is not easy to brand your product or service in such a way that people around you recognize your company as a brand. Big enterprises have big budget that they spend only for branding. But if you don’t have a big budget, it doesn’t mean that you cannot brand your business. You might have just started a business with only 10 employees or you may be a local company that is trying to make it big. No matter what, you can rest assured that branding is possible even if you are in a tight budget. Do you want to know how? Read on.
Branding is not just your logo design. It is much more than that. It is the essence of who you are, it is your company’s mission and vision, it is the approach that you take to relate to your target audience etc.
So, if you want your branding efforts to be successful, you have to determine who you want to establish yourself as. In today’s world, it is difficult for you to come up with a unique business process that no one else is doing. Since you have to offer your product or service in a competitive world, there will be other companies that are offering the same service or product. So, you need to make sure that people recognize you as a brand. And that is why you first need to establish yourself as a brand.
What you have to focus on is the Point of Difference or POD. Now, don’t start pulling out your hairs trying to thing POD. It is not something out of this world. Let’s take example of Starbucks. We all know that the company is known for its high quality brew. Even though Starbucks offers an assorted menu to spoil you with, the company is known for the premium quality coffee that it offers. So, that is the company’s POD.
Find out what your point of difference is. It can be your user or client base; it can be your product itself; it can be how long you have been satisfying your customers, etc.
The next step to get started with your branding is to get your logo designed by professional designers. However, to make sure that the professional designers understand what your logo should look like, you need to help them. You should provide them with information about your business, the mission and vision of your company etc.
Apart from a logo, you also need a website, business cards etc. However, it depends on your budget how much you can spend on these branding efforts. Before you get started with your logo design and website design, you must decide the style guide for your brand.
You must choose a color palette that your brand will follow. If you want to include patterns in your brand identity design, this is the time to decide that. Your brand will be recognized by these colors and patterns. Make sure that you choose a couple of fonts that will be followed in all your brand designs.
Once you are done with the first few steps, it is time to finally design your logo. You may have heard this a million times that your business logo is your brand identity design. Well, the first thing that people notice and remember after the name of your company is your logo. Besides, your logo appears on each of your business visuals such as your website, social media platforms, business card, brochure etc.
In today’s world, you cannot skip having a business website. No matter what type of business you have, if you want to increase your reach, you better have a website. The website can be simple and it may consist of one or two pages so that you can curtail the expense.
Again, whether you want to have corporate letterhead or flyers depends on the expansion of your business and the amount that you want to spend on your branding.
Why do you think people listen to what Jeff Bezos says? Why do people keep an eye on what Neil Patel is doing? The answer is that these people are experts in their niche. You too can establish yourself as an expert on the subject matter. Now, you don’t have all the time in the world, do you? And you have to brand your business in a tight budget.
So, what is the best and affordable way to establish your expertise in the market? Content marketing it is. Content marketing is something that has multiple benefits. Allow me to explain.
When you are choosing content marketing, you are researching on the topics that are related to your niche. While the secondary research helps you in strengthening your branding efforts, your own experience helps you in creating a voice for your brand. People start trusting you as they see that you are an expert in your field. The trusted relationship with your audience will ensure that you are the first name that comes to their mind when they want to do business in your field.
Besides, when you have a brand voice, it is much easier to explain people what you are doing. When people find they can trust you, it results into better conversion and drives business.
The best part of content marketing is that it is affordable. You can either create the content yourself or you can hire a professional writer. The only thing that you have to keep in mind is to create content that is of high quality. Create content on what your target audience would like to read. You can ask your target audience on your social media platforms to share ideas so that you can curate or create content that will help them.
Many of us tend to think that social media takes too much of our time. Many of us also think that it is not wise enough to spend your budget in social media marketing. However, the truth is not the same as you think. If you are reading this and you are ready to take my advice, keep parts of your budget for social media marketing.
Why? Thank God that you asked.
Your social media platforms will have some followers, right? Most of these followers are there because they either know you or they have something to do with your business. So you have a good base of target audience to start with. Now, all you have to do is design campaigns and promote our business. Apart from the people who are following you, your campaign will also be viewed by many other people.
Social media marketing is a great technique to increase your local networking. If you don’t have sufficient budget to spend on social media, you can start small as well. But, my suggestion would be to start leveraging social media platforms as much as you can.
One more thing that you should remember is that not every social media platform is for you. Before you invest money from your already tight budget, it’s better for you if you take a look at the statistics. Experimenting with the social media platforms will ensure that you know which of the channels you should invest in the most.
You know how you trust a brand faster if you see that brand is being endorsed by your favorite actor or influencer! You can do the same when you are establishing your brand. Partnering is an easier and much affordable way of branding.
Now, there are different types of influencers. While the macro-influencers can be expensive to partner with, you can partner up with micro-influencers. Even though micro-influencers don’t have a huge list of followers, the followers are much more loyal than the followers of macro-influencers. So, chances are that you will get a better response from the loyal followers of the influencer.
Besides, macro-influencers generally charge more to promote your business on their channels. If you are not sure about partnering with an influencer, you can also partner with local businesses. If you are offering beauty products that are targeted to women, you can partner up with salons so that they can promote your product to their customers. If your product is related to exercise and health, you can contact the local gymnasiums. You got the deal, right?
Branding is a tricky business. I know it seems easy and I agree that it is. But you have to be a professional to get the results that you are looking for. You can try out the methods that I described above. However, remember to be patient with your venture. If you want faster result and that too in an affordable budget, you can contact with a brand identity design agency. A design agency will know how to get started with your branding effort and carry it on within a shoestring budget. So, are you ready?