When new business owners hear the word, “branding,” they usually have images of long, complex projects with expensive consultants flashing through their minds. A complete branding exercise can certainly be costly, but there are also plenty of ways to contribute to your business’s branding efforts without having to break the bank. Here are 5 economical ways to make your brand stand out.
1. Create a Voice and an Identity
Chances are, as a new business, one of the first things you did was create buyer personas. And rightfully so! Once you have identified those personas, you can start to build your brand. That means you can create a brand identity.
Your identity is what helps create awareness of your business and offerings. It is your voice and it sets the tone you will use in any public communication and content.
When you sit down to figure out your brand’s voice, you will need to answer questions, such as:
· What does your brand represent?
· What are your brand’s values?
· How do you want people to talk about your brand?
2. Create a Sensational Logo
A standout logo goes a long way. Most businesses hire an expert to create a logo for them, but you can do it yourself with sites like Logojoy, without having to take a big bite out of your budget.
Having a rough idea of what you like and what represents your brand means you are sure to come up with something that will make sure you stand out over your competitors.
Feeling a little stuck? Here are a few key elements that make for a sensational logo:
· Functionality – will the logo work on business cards, larger posters, and letterheads?
· Aesthetic appeal – nobody likes an ugly image!
· Originality – always create original art for your logo.
· Appropriateness –if you are an electrician, a massive diamond ring is not quite appropriate for your logo, is it?
· Timelessness – pick something that will work for a long time to come. For instance, an image of a cartoon character doing a Gangman Style dance is probably going to be meaningless in a few years’ time.
· Simplicity – a complex creation that has vague references is just confusing. Keep things simple!
3. It’s Okay to Use Templates
We know that templates have had a bad rap. They likely conjure up thoughts of ‘generic’ and ‘boring.’ However, today’s templates are cost-effective, customizable, and attractive.
Let’s say you’re opening up a yoga studio. Web development and branding may not be the piece of cake for you that it would be for a tech startup. That’s why it makes sense to save money and use a template service. Best of all, if you want to make small changes, you can do it yourself without the need to pay for an hour or two of a designer’s time.
A well-designed template offers great flexibility, which means you can keep playing around with it until you find the perfect style for your brand. Whether it is your website you are developing, a blog page, or your logo, you can create something stunning for under $100.
4. Consider Co-Branding
Have you considered co-branding for your new business? Larger companies, of course, have a larger reach, but what is it that they do not have?
When you are just starting to develop your brand, you may not have the reach that you want – yet. But, you can take steps to build it. While you’re working on that, consider getting your name in front of a larger audience by partnering with a brand that already has one.
The trick is not to pick any old brand. Make sure it is one that aligns with yours. Overall, your partnership should make sense to your audience.
Consider these points if you are keen to seek a co-brand set-up:
· Who is your partner’s audience and would they be interested in your brand?
· Would you still be able to reach this audience without the partnership?
· How well does the audience trust your co-brand? This one is crucial for getting them to hear you out, so you want to ensure that your intended partner reaches the audience in a way that inspires confidence.
· What can you offer your co-brand? What don’t they have?
· Consider a reputable nonprofit to co-brand with.
5. Work on Your Social Media Presence
Once you’ve figured out your personas and created a brand voice, you can start talking to your audience, and that means determining where they spend their time.
Perhaps most of your personas hang out on Facebook? If that’s the case, don’t ignore the other social platforms, you still want to create as wide a reach as you can, on a budget.
Once you have established your brand on social media, be sure to maintain it. How often have you visited a brand’s Twitter page only to find that they haven’t posted a thing in six months? Chances are, you moved on to the next brand.
Branding goes beyond your logo. In fact, branding is the sum of what people feel when you interact with them and what they think about you. Your brand is made up of:
· Your personality
· Your vision
· The tone of voice you use
While a full branding process is going to cost more than just creating a logo, if you want to spend less than $100, the best place to focus is on your visual identity and logo.
What’s more, by spending time on your core values, vision, and mission statement, you will create a good stepping stone to a brand identity that can be further developed later on. The goal is to create an experience that will help you connect to your customers on an emotional level and build a lasting relationship with them.