One of the first things you should do as a new business is determine what your brand is and build its reputation.
How to build a Brand for a New Business
Having a clear vision of who you are and what you stand for will give your consumers confidence in you. It goes much further than simply determining what your logo will be – you need to be aware of every experience a customer will have with you from their initial contact to the end of the transaction.
By making your brand recognizable and ensuring your clients have a consistent experience, you’re going to set yourself apart from the competition.
By having a strategy for growing your brand, you are thinking long-term which is the hallmark of any good business.
How to Start Building Your Brand as a New Business
If you’re looking to grow your brand and become recognizable, here are some things to help you:
- Develop personality: A lot of businesses are good. Being good won’t necessarily help you spread the word to draw in customers – although it’s certainly a great start. By showing your customers some personality, you’ll do much better. Think about companies like GEICO. Their catchy advertising has helped them become a household name.
- Harness the power of the internet: It has never been easier to spread the word about your business, thanks to the internet. It’s available to you 24 hours a day, every day, so you can work on your branding and establishing recognition whenever you feel motivated.
- Build strong customer relations: Customers want a go-to business they can visit whenever they want something. It saves them the time and effort of looking for another business they can use. They want to like you, so cash in on that by being worthy of their trust and loyalty. Treat them kindly and fairly, and you’ll do well.
Let’s look at a few specific ways as to how you can build your brand.
7. Social Media Advertising
Social media has made careers and has destroyed them too. One viral post can bring your business plenty of attention. But you have to be careful – that attention can be good, or it can be bad.
Facebook has long been one of the top social media sites and offers exposure to businesses. Make sure you develop a Facebook page for your business. If you set it up, you need to take time each day to nurture it and maintain it. Quickly responding to a customer shows you care and that you’re competent – those are both qualities customers are looking for in businesses.
But don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Instagram is one of the most powerful social media tools out there right now. Twitter can also be great for your business.
You can use these social media platforms to showcase new products, show how they can improve people’s lives, and put out clever or entertaining posts that make people laugh or feel excited. Connections can convert to sales, and so can high-quality pictures of your new products. Descriptions are great, but people are most drawn to visual images, so make sure you include plenty of images on your social media sites.
6. Paid Online Advertising
You take out paid social media posts in addition to free advertising. They’ll both spread your brand and draw new clients who haven’t heard of you before. If just a few of those people decide to do business with you after seeing ads, you have a chance to acquire a new customer. There are other ways to run paid online marketing campaigns.
If there is a business that complements yours, you can cash in on that with paid online advertising as well. Let’s say there is a siding and windows business that does well, and you have an interior decorating business. You could approach them about placing paid ads for your business on their website.
You won’t be competing with each other since you offer different services, but those services complement each other, which gives customers who are looking at a complete redo of their house a one-stop shop for their needs.
But the key is to align yourself with a reputable business that won’t drag down the reputation you’re trying to build. If all goes well, both businesses should stand to profit off of the relationship.
You can also make use of this online brand reputation management tools to keep your reputation in check.
5. Content Marketing
It’s not enough anymore to slap an ad featuring your logo in your town’s newspaper, and a basic website these days isn’t enough to keep up with what customers are looking for either.
That’s where content marketing comes in. By putting articles and other content on your website, you’re giving customers what they are looking for – practical information they can use. You become a resource to them, rather than just another business.
If you have a dental office, for example, you might opt to create blog posts on your website that explain the difference between crowns and veneers, or how having a beautiful smile can boost your confidence.
Through your content, you can show them why they need your services.
Marketing Is Expensive: How to Pay For It
Some attempts at marketing will be expensive, while others, like starting an Instagram account, will be free. But, even if your budget is tight, don’t shy away from business-building advertising.
Use all the free tools you can online, such as Facebook and writing copy for your website. If you don’t have talent when it comes to the written word, you can and should hire someone else to write the content. No content at all is better than badly written content that has a lot of grammatical errors.
This free tool can help you fix any grammatical errors. You want to inspire confidence with your content – not have people marvel at all the mistakes you’ve made.
Whether you’re looking to start a marketing initiative or want to build a better website for your business, you’re going to need some capital to do so.
If you’re short on funds, but recognize the importance of positioning your business for future growth, you have a few options when it comes to funding.
- Small business loans: These may be difficult to get; less profitable and creditworthy businesses may not be as qualified for a business loan. Small business loans offer an upfront lump sum which can be used to pay for marketing, but they need to be paid back with interest.
- Business credit cards: It may be easier to get a business credit card which offers a revolving line of credit for various business expenses. Business credit cards may come with high interest rates, so make sure you have a strategy for paying off whatever you charge.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Building your brand and expanding your business isn’t easy – and it usually isn’t cheap. But if you’re looking for long-term growth, don’t ignore the importance of marketing and developing your brand. Much of the legwork can be done online via social media platforms, partner websites, and content marketing.
If you have a solid plan and are ready to put in the hard work, this will be money well spent. Figure out which funding option is the best for you, and get ready to take a calculated risk.
5 Common Branding Mistakes Small Businesses Make
Around the world could leave you feeling overwhelmed when it comes to your own branding. The good news is that coming up with a strong brand for your small business can be easier to do than most people imagine. To get it right, however, you’ll need to make sure that you are avoiding these common branding mistakes and pitfalls.
Here are some of the most common branding mistakes to keep your eye out for.
Not Understanding a Brand’s Power/Impacts
Having a strong brand is an obvious advantage when it comes to the customer relationship perspective. For example, when people think of grocery shopping, Wal-Mart probably comes to mind; you want to have that type of definitive relationship with your customers too, where they immediately think of your brand.
And, defining your brand is also hugely valuable from the perspective of SEO. Google prefers to prioritize branded listings in organic search results as customers are more likely to click on them. In turn, more clicks tend to lead to happier customers – focusing on building your brand could lead to unexpected benefits in terms of more website traffic and stronger business awareness. That’s why investing in strong branding is worthwhile – check out Cubefunder for branding funding; they provide short-term fixed cost loans to small businesses.
Failing to Establish Defined Brand Guidelines
You know that your business needs to develop a brand, but what exactly does that entail? When creating a strong brand identity, you will need to come up with clear and defined guidelines that cover the entire range of basic elements, plus any others that are relevant to your industry. For example:
- Your brand logo and any logos that your company uses for individual product lines
- Brand colors
- Typography and fonts
- Brand voice
This is just the basics – if there are any further branding characteristics that you feel are necessary to define your business, you should add this to your brand guidelines. It’s important to start off by creating a thorough brand guidelines documentation; without these, your branding efforts are likely going to lack the direction and consistency that you’ll need to succeed.
Sometimes, the simplest of brands can be the most effective – so don’t overcomplicate things. Look at Coca-Cola, for example – it’s been around since 1887, and while the fonts have varied slightly, the original look is still present. When starting out with building a brand, avoid the temptation to add more variables than you actually need. Your logo doesn’t need multiple colors and graphic elements to represent everything that your company offers. In fact, clean and simple elements are more likely to be recognized and remembered by your audience.
Being Too Vague
On the other end of the scale, it’s important to avoid developing brand guidelines and elements that reveal absolutely nothing about your company and its unique selling point. You’ve probably seen something similar to this before in generic logos, or repetitive marketing language. The solution here is to make sure that you are using clear logos, imagery, and language to make sure that the message is put across and your branding represents what your business is all about.
Finally, being as consistent as possible with your branding is key to ensuring that it is strong, recognizable and memorable. After you’ve created careful brand guidelines, there’s nothing wrong with adding colors outside of the palette to a new ad for a product line launch, for example, but bear in mind that each time you deviate from your brand guidelines, they lose some of their power. If you need to change things up, it’s important that you stick as closely to your brand guidelines as possible, otherwise you’re essentially introducing a new brand image to your customers.
When it comes to branding, avoiding common mistakes and pitfalls will ensure that you create a strong, memorable brand image.
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