As a brand specialist of fifteen years, I’ve seen it all and done even more. With the recent wave of technology, social media platforms, and everything in between, it’s no wonder new small business owners are confused about how to effectively brand their companies.
Just like marketing, traditional branding trumps everything else. The reason is simple. Traditional branding is a foundation builder that establishes a trustworthy identity to relate with consumers and set yourself apart from other businesses.
Building a Brand Foundation
Branding is needed before you even begin a marketing or advertising plan, because it is the foundation of what your brand is and will become. Here are seven simple tips for creating an effective brand for your startup.
1. Be consistent with building your brand.
As with anything you do in your business, you must be consistent. Consistency is a simple concept, like breathing. Even so, many businesses fail to be consistent when it comes to building their brand.
“Consistency helps build trust with consumers and other businesses because they see your brand or results frequently and know you mean business.” – Kristi Jackson, Founder of Women CEO Project.
2. Be your brand at all times.
You cannot expect people to support your brand if they do not see you being your brand. Does that mean if you sell donuts or pizza that you have to dress like them? No, it simply means you should strive to represent your brand at all times in a professional manner, while still having fun and being passionate about it.
3. Be savvy, not cheap.
“You can’t expect to grow your business with cheap and lame branding tools.” – Eric Bettis, co-managing partner of The BLI Group.I tell clients this all the time. You can’t expect to build a brand if you’re looking for cheap solutions. You have to understand the value of where you want to go with your business, and realistically place a dollar value on your destination. Invest in quality services like a logo, web design, and business cards. Cost-effectiveness is the key to not being cheap.
4. When branding, know your next steps.
There are several stages to launching a startup, but in this form, I am referring to product or service launches. If you have several products or services that you want to launch within your business, plan accordingly. The last thing you want to look like is a jack of all trades, but master of none.
We all know someone, maybe even ourselves, that peddles their many talents, but appears inconsistent with their brand. Don’t be that person. Instead, create a quarterly or yearly action plan. This plan will enable you to successfully launch each phase of your startup.