Ultimately, branding is about creating and maintaining an image. The great news is that this can be done on a budget. The main objective is to stay consistent, all the way from your social media presence to your product presentation and packaging.
Whether you choose a simple yet memorable color scheme and logo that carries over from your online to offline presence, or you have a unique logo that speaks for itself, there are simple ways you can keep your image consistent to achieve the brand identity your business needs.
Today, in our The Business of Branding series, we will discuss five fundamental things you can do to brand your business in an affordable way.
1. Establish an online identity and stay loyal to your color scheme, imagery and diction. When designing your website, even if it is a small, single page website that gives information about your company, remember to adhere to a cohesive color and font scheme, and write in a voice that is true to your brand and culture. Take every small opportunity to make your message and imagery cohesive. Can’t afford a website? Be sure you are present on social media channels that reach your target audience. From creating hashtag campaigns to sending out tweets, there are simple ways to maintain your identity online.
It is key to remember who your target audience is! Use your unique identity and perspective to speak to this audience directly. Don’t get overwhelmed creating your online messaging by trying to reach the wrong audience.
2. Be consistent in your presentation. In today’s digital world, much of your correspondence may begin online, and must be cohesively merged into your real world communication. When it comes to real-life, tangible materials, always remember to incorporate your voice, color scheme, logo and other important elements that are found on your website and social media profiles.
If you’re selling T-Shirts from a brick and mortar shop as well as online, wrap orders in branded tissue paper and bags. If you don’t have the budget to create custom packaging materials for your brand, order a logo stamp. Logo stamps can include not only your logo, but other information including your name, location and website URL.
The objective is to never leave out details that bring customers back to your store or your website. The more a customer comes in contact with your logo, colors and messaging, the more likely they are to remember your brand. This sounds elementary, but when things get busy it’s easy to forget. A cost-effective logo stamp can be used in many ways, from branding your shopping bags to stamping letterhead.
3. Find ways to evolve your brand over time. In order to stay fresh, interesting and ultimately alive, a brand must be able to continue to communicate with its target audience in new ways. There are many fun ways you can keep people interested in what your brand has to say and sell.
From hashtag campaigns to giveaways and contests, social media has made it much more possible for brands to stay versatile. Let’s be honest, people live on their smartphones. Remember this the next time you’re struggling with ideas about how to reach your customer. Find out what your customers care about and build messaging around this.
4. Solve tech issues that may affect your ability to reach your audience online. This sounds complicated, but it can be as simple as making sure your text is in a readable font, or your contest page is view-able on a mobile phone.
Most businesses have a website that is the cornerstone of their communication with customers, so if you do, make sure technical issues like page load times and readability aren’t holding you back. People pay attention to these details, and if they have a bad experience with your web page, they are likely to remember and not return.
5. Be present. Even though people live on their smartphones, they still like to see the faces behind a brand, whenever possible. Make sure you’re in the know about trade shows, concerts, events and other real world opportunities to interface with your target customer. This is a great way to merge online and offline communication as well.
If most of your audience knows your brand online, through Facebook or Instagram, they may revel in the opportunity to engage with you in real life via a pop up shop, contest or meet and greet. On the other hand, real world meet-ups like these are also good for meeting new customers to send to your online experience!
Branding can be overwhelming and oftentimes elusive. When it becomes a struggle to come up with new ideas, or to keep your image recognizable and consistent, it helps to revert back to the fundamentals, like what we’ve discussed in today’s blog. Branding is an ongoing and vital part of business and it includes many aspects.
Fundamentally, however, effective branding involves consistent use of color, fonts, voice, your logo, packaging and presentation, and includes providing real world interaction that merges your online and offline identity. There are ways to reach your customer and stay within your budget!