Marketing is essential for businesses, regardless of the niche they function in. There are companies that managed to achieve such a level of marketing exposure that they actually became a part of pop culture and are a part of modern lives (Coca Cola would be a prime example of this). This kind of exposure is something that is achieved through branding.
Most new businesses tend to view branding as something that requires big budgets to achieve successfully. While it is true that, like any other marketing effort, a large budget makes things substantially easier, branding is a practice that requires as much patience and time as it does money.
Is it the right time to focus on branding?
The answer is always yes! Since branding is a long term process, the sooner you start, the better. With all the other things new businesses need to consider in their initial months, branding can take a back seat – even if it is the bridge between you and your customers. Ideally, plan and implement your first branding campaign even before you launch your business. This way, you don’t need to deal with passively built brand awareness, which doesn’t fit your branding vision.
How to build your brand
Branding can seem like an endless, complex process, but it helps to consider its key values. Here’s what to keep in mind when planning your branding strategy:
Honesty & reliability
Decide on the level of quality you are willing to offer and stick to it. The whole point of branding is to get your customers used to a certain quality of service and deliver every time without fail. This way, your customers will always know what to expect and they will learn to rely on you. They will also tell their friends about your brand and will promote you for free because they trust you.
When it comes to branding, you can rely on other companies’ experiences but not their ideas. You need to find an approach that works for you and stick to it. Sit down and brainstorm a bit until you hit something you like. Creativity is very much a plus here.
All your marketing efforts need to be done with branding in mind. Make sure that you make your chosen colors work for you and that your logo appears within everything you do. It is a good idea to develop a certain style which, through consistent marketing efforts, will make it clear that the commercial (or any other marketing form) is yours before your logo even appears.
Rely on testimonials
Customer feedback is a fantastic way to reinforce your brand’s value. Speak with you clients and colleagues, and ask them how they feel about your product or service, as well as how they use it. Use their positive feedback as copy on your website (with proper permission, of course). Customers tend to trust other customers over the company themselves when it comes to judging quality.
Become an expert for your niche
Web users are interested in hearing about personal experiences, especially from those who have gone through the same experiences as themselves. Becoming an ‘expert’ in your field simply by writing about what you know is a straightforward (and surprisingly easy) way to build a brand. Your customers will be thankful for the insight you give them and you can provoke sharing through social media.
Branding is basically putting a face and a personality on your business. When branding is done correctly, the customers feel like they know the company in question and they trust them that they will deliver the same quality as before. It takes one major slip to put your whole effort to rest though, so tread lightly.