Branding is not just for big corporations launching a new product or service. Small businesses can benefit from creating and promoting a brand image for themselves, too. You don’t need to spend millions, but just start with five simple steps for brand development. Entrepreneur magazine says that branding is one of the most important parts of your business, no matter what you do.
Make your logo outstanding!
You might need some help with this, as a good logo has to be versatile and work absolutely everywhere. It’s got to look good on your website, your letterhead, invoices, business cards, shirts, and posters. If you can’t come up with a DIY that satisfied, then have a professional help you create one. It’s smart money, because your logo communicates your brand without anyone saying a word.
Stay on message.
What are the key characteristics that you want everyone to know about your brand? Reliable? Trustworthy? Innovative? When you advertise, or even talk about your business what are the first three things you want people to know about you?
Thing about the once you’ve heard that stay with you long after the campaign’s been put to bed. Think about Wendy’s slogan from the wayback days of 1984 when Clara Peller made “Where’s the beef?” a lasting part of the national conversation. It was a meme before there were memes!
What’s your pitch?
How do you make your company stand out from the hundreds of others? The problem is that most people have less than the attention span of a goldfish, and you have to snag their attention in just nine seconds. Start by talking and recording yourself, timing what you’re saying with a stopwatch app with a limit of thirty seconds, then reduce the time until you have a perfect pitch.
Don’t confuse branding with gimmicks.
You need your brand to communicate clearly and consistently what it stands for. If what it stands for is a pixilated image of a guy doing it Gangnam style, you risk becoming dated or – unless you offer Gangnam style dance lessons – confusing people looking for you. If you had to look up “Gangnam style” then points to you.
Work on your branding with a professional who can help you refine your message and image. Then stick to your branding efforts day in and day out. Consistent use builds brand recognition, and brand loyalty. Remember, the object of branding is to make you immediately and positively recognizable, taking your company from “Who are those guys?” to “I know those guys!”
You might think you can save money by making this a DIY project, but unless you have experience in branding and graphic design, you might want to leave this to the professionals. There are a lot of different aspects that go into making a brand, and a professional with a portfolio to show you is a lot easier than the learning curve for Adobe Creative Suite.