Don’t Fear Branding. Embrace It.
Branding is a crucial component in business development. Your brand showcases what you do and who you are to the world. Think about companies like McDonald’s or Amazon. You don’t have to see their names to know exactly what they are. As a new business owner, you might be thinking that branding is difficult. The truth is that it is not, but it does take some work.
What is branding?
Branding is the process of separating your business from the competition. We mentioned two major brands previously, McDonald’s and Amazon. When you see the iconic arch or the smile, you automatically know you’re not dealing with Burger King or Walmart. Your brand consists of everything from your logo to your color scheme and typeset. But, branding goes much further than that. Your brand stretches far beyond your brick-and-mortar location to your web presence. Red Gear Works can help you extend your reach online by ensuring that you have a unified brand across your website and social media.
When to Brand Your Business
While you can create a brand at any time, the two that make the most sense are upon start-up or when your marketing simply isn’t working.
If you choose to create a brand during your startup phase, start by picking a business name. Your business name should be descriptive, creative, and, perhaps most importantly, simple. Steer clear of imitating competitors, and, unless your brand is literally your name, such as if you are an author, sidestep this as well. Larry’s Meat Market doesn’t sound anywhere near as professional as Town Square Butcher.
When you start to notice signs that your marketing practices are no longer working, it may be time to rebrand. How do you know? You may no longer see former repeat customers or the market may have become saturated. You might also find that your website is no longer easy to find via search and that your social media pages aren’t getting as many likes and views as they once did. To protect your business against a downward spiral, try different marketing methods. ZenBusiness explains a few simple ways to do this include adding new products or services, providing information to your customers, and showcasing the end result of using your services, not necessarily the services themselves.
DIY Branding. Is It a Good Idea?
When it comes to branding, most of the time, you need a professional. Designing and developing a new website, for example, is a tricky business. Done incorrectly, and your site may be a disaster full of spam and unusable widgets and gadgets. Another time it does not make sense to do things on your own is when you need graphic design services. Although there are plenty of tools online that allow you to make a simple logo, if your design doesn’t scale or cannot translate from one form of media to the other, it won’t do you much good.
Brand identity projects that you can work on yourself include writing content for your website and keeping your brick-and-mortar location clean and organized. You can also choose your own color schemes and work with your designer to pick fonts and icons that best match the personality of your site.
Where to Channel Your Marketing and Branding Efforts
The way you brand and promote your company depends on one thing: your customers’ demographics. Demographics are the way that individuals are described and then lumped into groups. Age, income, ethnicity, and location are examples of demographics, according to PennState Extension. Before you know exactly how to brand your company or outreach to your customers, you have to know who they are. Social media is a great tool for this, and you can typically see who is commenting on your posts. Surveys and even making notes of the people that come into your store can also be beneficial.
Once you have an idea of who your customer is, then you can figure out where they are likely to be. For example, if you run a babysitting service, you probably don’t need to target childless men and women. Using social media for targeted marketing services, you can narrow down your demographics so that your message reaches only those who are most likely to be receptive to it.
Your brand is essential to your business. If it isn’t working for you, it’s time to make a change. There is no perfect formula for establishing the ideal presence. Much of it will be trial and error, but, with time and perseverance, you can create, establish, and protect the brand you’ve built from the ground up.