Your brand and the way you market it are two of the most important elements of business success. Your brand relies on its ability to attract and maintain its target audience. It needs to stand out from the competition.
As a small business owner, I understand how hard starting-up can be. Creating brand awareness is one of the biggest challenges a business will face. It doesn’t help if you are unaware of the process.
The steps below will guide you through the fundamental elements to building your brand.
PREPARE YOUR BRAND
Before approaching a designer, spend some time brainstorming. Think about your business goals. Identify your target audience and research your competitors.
Your brand is not just about looking great, but delivering clear messages and confirming credibility. It’s about connecting with your target audience, motivating the buyer and maintaining customer loyalty.
A great way to prepare a foundation for your brand is to evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, through the SWOT analysis.
These elements are important in identifying your brand’s purpose and its place in the market.
The more preparation you do and the more information your are able to provide to your Graphic Designer, the better. It will enable them to create a brand that is true to your identity and communicates your key messages.
START WITH A LOGO DESIGN
Your logo is the face of your brand. It will help maintain consistency across your communications. Have a look at what your competitors are doing, identify the logos that work and those that don’t.
Some designers will offer logo packages starting from basic, working up to advanced. These packages make it easier for them to understand your budget and needs. It will also give you an understanding of the design process. You will know exactly how many concepts and revisions to expect, without the stress of hidden fees or hourly rates.
Graphic Designers won’t always get it right the first time. They should be exploring ideas and giving you at least 2 concepts to choose from and allow at least 3 further revisions.
ROLL OUT YOUR CORPORATE STATIONARY
Corporate stationary is a great way to maintain your client base. Things like letterheads with comps and email signatures are used throughout the transaction process. Your corporate stationary should be consistent to ensure your clients will remember you.
Business cards remain to be one of the most important networking tools among businesses. There’s nothing worse than being at an event, someone asking for your business card and you don’t have one! I believe they are still one of the most important networking tools for any business. Make sure you have plenty on you wherever you go.
CREATE A SUITE OF MARKETING COLLATERAL
Once you have a brand, marketing will be much easier. You have a logo, colour palette, motif and tagline, and now you want to raise brand awareness.
Flyers have always been a popular form of marketing as the can be distributed by post and handed out at events. Other forms of marketing collateral include brochures, capability sheets, newsletters, presentation folders and postcards. They’re all simple and effective tools for communicating your message, product or service.
You may also like to consider hiring a professional photographer. Having your own images will help you stand out from the competition and create a sense of authenticity.
DEVELOP AN ONLINE PRESENCE – WEBSITE
I’ve come across many businesses that lack credibility due to not having an online presence. People are more likely to contact a business if they’ve already connected with the brand.
According to various sources, 13 million Australians spend 18 hours a day online. One in five minutes a day is spent on social media. The internet has become a great way for consumers to interact with businesses.
It’s important that your website is not only designed well and clear, but the content is valuable, relevant and consistent. You may choose to hire a professional or simply combine your industry expertise with the help of your word savvy friend. Your content should not only sell your product or service, but deliver information to your audience in an engaging way.
ENHANCE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE – SOCIAL MEDIA
Creating business pages on various Social Media Platforms is a great way to enhance your online presence. Create a Facebook page and grow your fans through real-time engagement. Gain credibility through valuable reviews on Google+. Use these reviews as testimonials on your website!
Take advantage of free online directories such as, Yellow Pages and True Local. Google values websites who are seen as authoritative on the internet and thus ranks these sites higher.
Don’t be afraid to be you when engaging with your audience on Social Media. Post ‘selfies’, hobbies, advice and tips. They will love knowing they’re communicating with a real person!
Leanne Nicholson // Graphic Designer / Marketing Consultant at Oraco Marketing
Leanne is inspired by other entrepreneurs and finds great pleasure in guiding them on their path to success. She’s a strong believer in following your heart and enjoying what you do every day. You can find her at www.oraco.com.au or on Facebook.