Building a brand that punches above its weight

Description

A brand is not just a logo and colours: it’s also about key messaging and its perception in the market place. With a lot of the market place now being online – both on your website and in social media – once your brand elements and messaging is sorted, many small businesses can build a big presence without expensive ad campaigns.

The challenges:

  • Working out what your business stands for.
  • Identifying what problem your business is trying to solve for your customer.
  • Inconsistent branding or lack of focus.
  • No awareness of your brand in the market.
  • Not enough material to create meaningful content in your online space.

The solutions:

  • Start with a compelling tag line, a short succinct message that quickly explains what your business does. It should be memorable and contain a key benefit for your clients.
  • A brand doesn’t just define the services you provide: it should also tell people what problems you solve for your clients and why they need your products and services. Also integral in your brand is the way you do business, your standards, your beliefs – and how all of this is good for your clients.
  • Control how your brand is portrayed in all instances by developing a comprehensive brand style guide. It should include all the rules around the logo (including when it shouldn’t be used) guidelines around the correct colour combinations (as well as technical information for printers, website designers etc) as well as fonts, imagery etc. Provide your suppliers with logo and device files in a variety of formats so that they aren’t scraping them off your website. Define the do’s and don’ts of your brands, and focus on ensuring your branding doesn’t fray around the edges because people aren’t following the rules. You will get sick of your brand elements long before your clients, so don’t feel you have to mix it up. Consistency is key to recognition.
  • Utilise online and local area marketing to expose your brand to a wider audience, beyond those that are already following you. Engage an expert who can ensure that you are targeting the right people with your campaigns and maximising your spend.
  • Build an online library of marketing and content across print, website and social media as well as housing all your design assets such as logos, PMS colour information etc. Using something like a NAS (Network Attached Storage), or cloud services like Google Drive, One Drive, for example, allows you to add, delete or archive information and provide an up-to-date, one stop for all your marketing people and design companies.

Branding is a very specialised area, and shouldn’t be done by an in-house committee that has emotional investment and an eye on competitors for ideas. You need someone at arms-length to provide the strategy as well as the design elements that will work well on every application from letterhead, to print media to website or billboards.

If you are looking to grow your business, take the time in 2021 to focus on developing a strong brand and with that a strong business.