Startup Branding Basics | 7 Tips To Help You Build And Grow An Outstanding Small Business Brand
Startup Branding Basics | Small business owners often consider branding an expensive form of marketing. They think branding requires a big budget, hiring an advertising agency or a branding expert to develop effective campaigns, and mass media to improve brand awareness. However, branding is one of the most important elements of any business, big or small, retail or B2B. A powerful brand strategy gives you a considerable edge in increasingly crowded markets. But, what does branding exactly mean for a small business like yours?
The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, blog, tweets, packaging and various other promotional materials, all of which should feature your logo are your tools to reinforce your brand. Get smart about branding and you’ll quickly be on track to make your brand a household name! Here are some guidelines for building a strong brand that positions your small business clearly and effectively in your particular niche, and helps you attract the attention of your potential clients.
Know Your Stuff | Startup Branding Basics
Research your audience – are you targeting a particular age group, religion, gender, industry? Your existing clients may skew toward certain demographic or socioeconomic groups. They may share a common problem, interest or need. Your brand needs to grab the attention and engage with these people. This sounds like a cliche but you’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs don’t define their audience or their interests clearly from the get-go. Are you the innovative genius in your niche? Or a reliable expert? You can’t be both, and you can’t be all things to everyone.
Differentiate Yourself From The Competition | Startup Branding Basics
Knowing what you do best and being able to clearly communicate that to your target audience means knowing what you’re up against. With that in mind, you must be aware of both your strengths and your weaknesses. What sets your business apart from others in your niche? What makes you different and unique? What about your company makes it the one that a potential client should choose?
Find Your Voice | Startup Branding Basics
What you say is important, but don’t forget the way you say it. Your brand’s voice is the language and personality you and your employees will use to communicate your branding message and reach your clients. This voice should be applied to all written communication and included in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. This covers your website, blog, social networking campaigns and business correspondence, just to name a few.
Keep Your Visual Identity Professional And Consistent | Startup Branding Basics
From business cards and logo to email newsletters and brick-and-mortar signage, all of your printed marketing and sales materials should look, feel and sound like they come from the same source. Set up templates and clearly define brand guidelines for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout to ensure consistency.
Keep Improving Your Products And Services | Startup Branding Basics
Your brand has to talk the talk and walk the walk. Otherwise, you’ll present your business inconsistently and confuse your potential clients. Some entrepreneurs stop focusing on building great products and services when they become successful. This is a serious mistake. Even a strong brand will suffer when it starts offering average or below average products or services. Your clients won’t return to you, let alone refer you to their friends and family if you don’t deliver on your promise and exceed their expectations.
A Strong Brand Is Easily Recognizable | Startup Branding Basics
Recognition starts with the name and the logo of your business. That means you need a logo and color scheme that matches and reinforces your brand message, and creates a cohesive presentation for your marketing materials and website. The logo will appear on your business cards, products, letterhead, social networks, website, promotional materials, and pretty much everywhere in print and online to identify your company or your company’s products and/or services.
Your Community Is Important | Startup Branding Basics
Remember that your community – your clients, business partners, followers, and fans – are a critical part of your branding. Your brand appeals to them, and they are a reflection of that brand. Don’t dress up your offering and raise expectations that result in broken promises; instead, create trust with honest branding — be clear what your business is about and be true to the values that drive it every day.