Your brand image, the current view of customers about your brand, is an important business asset. Who you are, what you do, and what people see when they look at your business are significant factors for success. So, how can you develop and maintain a strong, professional brand?
Here are five ways to get started.
1. Invest in your brand
If you want clients and customers to invest in your business, you have to do the same. Make sure brand development is part of your marketing budget. “Branding isn’t the same as marketing – branding is the core of your marketing strategy.”
Reinvest a percentage of your sales into marketing and branding. If funds are tight, a small business line of credit could help you get you going. Also, create a separate brand development budget and tie it to your marketing plan. Tip: Consider bringing on an intern or freelancer to help with daily branding activities.
2. Refresh your brand identity
Your brand identity (i.e., company name, logo, tone, tagline, and typeface) are important elements. These aspects can make a brand unforgettable. For example, an eye-catching logo is the cornerstone of your brand identity.
Choose a logo that reflects you and your brand personality. Is your company fun and playful? Do you want a sleek, professional style? Choose visuals that send the right message. Tip: If you outsource logo design, a logo for small businesses can cost between $300-$1,300. You can also hire a freelance graphic designer to help create a stunning new logo.
3. Share an authentic story
Does your brand reflect who you are and what you believe in? It’s easier to build a brand on your own authenticity than a fake persona. Authenticity makes you more relatable, helps build credibility, and makes a personal connection that customers value.
Brand authenticity is linked with storytelling. Everyone loves a good story, so what’s yours? Tip: Share your story through different types of content (i.e., articles, images, audio (podcasts), etc.
4. Dress the part
When you think of a black turtleneck, wireframe glasses, jeans, and sneakers which entrepreneur comes to mind? Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs. Your personal brand and brand style is reflected in what you wear from client meetings to press photo shoots.
Create your own memorable, signature look. Tip: Consult a stylist to create or enhance a look that works for you and your business.
5. Spruce up your website
Your website is the most important marketing tool you have. It acts as an online hub for your business and is a great platform to showcase your brand. When people search online for your product or service, a well-design and branded website can make a great first impression.
According to a 2016 Small Business Technology Impact Study, 50 percent of consumers surveyed indicated they would not buy from a company that does not have a website. Tip: Read web design case studies to learn what works.
Remember, branding is fluid. You can’t set it and forget it. Monitor your brand strategies to determine what works and delivers the best return on investment. Your brand image is a key contributor to branding success.
This article has been edited.
Derek Miller is a content marketing consultant for CopyPress. CopyPress is a leading digital content production company, specializing in articles, infographics, interactives, and videos. Connect with @itismillertime on Twitter.