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Branding Strategies for Your New Business
Got a new business, or simple looking to increase your brand? Making your mark from the start can be tough, but in terms of marketing your business, your product or your services, there are some simple steps to follow.
Start with the logo
A logo helps distinguish your business from all the others out there that sell similar products and services. The pictorial nature of a logo - even if it's just words printed in a stylized way - helps customers remember you and helps them think of your company as a reputable small business. Include an image that is in some way associated with your industry. Unless you are an artist or are very proficient in graphic arts, it's best to have your logo professionally designed for you. Once you have a logo, be sure to include it on everything associated with your business. It should be on your website, social media pages, business card, letterhead, envelopes, fliers, giveaways and print advertising.
Create a slogan
Slogans (also called taglines) are very short phrases that express what your business is about and - more importantly - a beneficial result your customers derive from the business or product. When you create a slogan it helps to distinguish your business from others and make it more memorable. M & M's slogan, "Melts in your mouth, not your hand," is one example.
Get ready to hustle
Brand awareness is simply marketing and although social media and other forms of digital marketing have added new options, nothing has changed. The people who hustle the most will find the most success. Don’t look to technology to be your hustler. It’s all up to you. Online marketing is only one channel among all of your networking and offline strategy. Door to door and cold calling are not dead.
Get others involved
You don’t have to be the only one that hustles. You need some super fans hustling for you. In modern advertising speak these are, “brand advocates.” Maybe they had such an awesome experience that they talk about it online to their large social following. Leverage those people. Offer free product or a referral fee for anybody they send to you.
Do you know how Uber rose to power? The company looked for the big name social media influencers and offered free rides. Local and regional bloggers with a huge following will work too.
You’ve seen infographics—those illustrations filled with facts and other valuable information. If your business is in the consulting sector or some other professional or semi-professional niche, leverage your status as an expert and create a shareable infographic full of facts and figures that your potential customer would want to know. Don’t skimp on this, though. Make it really good. Hire an expert to design it.
Sponsor a community event
Many small businesses have put their logo in a high school programme, or some other appropriate community event don’t just sponsor the event, show up! Bring water if it’s an athletic event. Run an all-day contest of some sort, and most important, meet people. Create relationships.
If you want to get your business in front of the eyes of potential customers, you have to advertise. If you have no budget for paid advertising, the chances of gaining traction are slim. Even 50 per month for social media advertising is better than nothing.
Other businesses in and out of your space are trying to keep their brand in front of their customers too. Explore strategic ways to partner up. A website building company could partner with a video producer to create content for each other or a plumber and electrician could advertise together as a complete solution for somebody doing home upgrades. Splitting the cost of advertising is a cheap way to get your brand to many more people than you could on your own.
A recent report found that 49% of people still prefer brands to contact them through email. The same report found that direct mail is far from dead and is particularly effective for reaching potential customers aged 35 and older.
Sadly, we live in a world where outstanding customer service is becoming an exception rather than a norm. Your brand will stay top-of-mind to your customers if they look forward to dealing with you. When somebody contacts you through social media or email respond right away. If they call, call them back. If they’re unhappy, make it right—even if they’re not entirely right. Give away free product from time to time, and be a part of the community. Simply, establish your brand as a company that absolutely loves people.
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Please be aware that all of the views expressed in this Blog are purely the personal views of the authors and commentators (including those working for AIB as members of the AIB website team or in any other capacity) and are based on their personal experiences and knowledge at the time of writing.
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