Whether you’re a large or small company, branding is a crucial component of running a business. It’s your first impression with potential clients and a promise to your customers of what your company is all about. While developing a brand strategy may seem intimidating and costly at first, there are fun and creative ways to let your company’s personality shine without spending a fortune.
Brand your business on a budget with these insightful tips:
Create a memorable logo
Target has the bullseye; Nike has the swoosh; McDonald’s has the golden arches. Logos help consumers immediately recognize brands, and create a lasting visual impression in their minds. A striking logo can help convey what your business actually does, the values it stands for, and what the customer can expect from you. Creating a unique and unforgettable logo starts with some brainstorming. Browse the Internet to see what other businesses in your field are doing. What works? What doesn’t? Ask your friends and family what they like and don’t like in a logo.
Unless you’re artistically inclined, you may want to enlist the help of a professional graphic designer, who can use sophisticated tools to bring your vision to life. If your business is tight on cash, contact the art department at local colleges to see if any budding artists want to lend their services. Recent grads or designers who are just starting out need to build a portfolio and are eager to work, sometimes for discounted prices. Keep the image functional, simple, and appropriate to what your business does, but make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and original. Avoid clip art, clichéd images, or anything else that may confuse your business for another company.
Get your brand elements in order
Now that you have a logo in place, it’s time to flesh out the rest of your trademark elements to create a consistent brand across all channels. This is where your brand personality really starts to take shape. Make some clear definitions about your brand voice. How does your company sound in business communications? Do you want to take a more casual, colloquial approach to communicating with your customers, or do you prefer a more reserved tone? Decide on some brand colors that complement your logo, and stay within that palette for all your printed products and advertisements — and perhaps even the décor of your business. If your business communicates with customers via printed materials, stick to the same fonts and style of imagery.
Give your brand a tagline
The name of a business doesn’t always give consumers the clearest picture of what they do. It often takes a tagline to unpack a company’s services, and describe what they stand for. When coming up with your own tagline, try to find the sweet spot between something catchy and something that says who your company really is. Again, asking friends and family what they think can be helpful in brainstorming. Try to avoid anything cheesy or lengthy, and stay away from anything that is trendy. A timeless tagline not only helps customers remember you, but it prevents having to come up with a new tagline once the fad dies out.
Draft up your elevator pitch
If you’re a busy entrepreneur, you’ll often find yourself having to explain what your company does to people who have little to no knowledge of your field. Be armed with a well-thought-out elevator pitch that you can deliver to potential customers, business partners, or investors at a moment’s notice. Yahoo! Small Business recommends that practice makes perfect when it comes to elevator pitches. Start by reciting the pitch out loud to yourself — in the car, in the shower, or in the mirror so you can watch your facial expressions and body language. Then practice in front of friends or family. When you give your first elevator pitch to a potential customer, be sure to maintain eye contact and give off a warm, friendly, and professional demeanor. If you’re sincere, genuine, and confident, it’ll ring loud and clear in your delivery.
Stay tuned for more tips and tricks on how to brand your business!