The last couple of years have been tough! The COVID-19 menace took the world by surprise; governments around the world were forced to impose lockdowns, impacting global trade and commerce adversely. Businesses were forced to close, people lost their jobs, and students stared at an uncertain future. However, things are changing for the better. While it is true that governments around the world are taking steps to ensure things get back on track as fast as possible, start-ups and new businesses with limited funds are still struggling to make ends meet.
I will talk about 15 cost-effective branding ideas to get your business moving in the right direction in this blog. So, who is this article for? This article is for you if you are:
- Looking to re-open your business after the pandemic.
- A start-up
- A small business with limited funds
- A pantomath
Why branding your business is important?
According to Oxford, “the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design” is branding. Branding shapes the consumers’ understanding of a brand or a product and helps them experience the same. In simpler words, branding is the promise that businesses make to their customers about what their brand or product is about.
Well, now that we know what branding is, in a nutshell, you already have a picture of why it is important. Let’s take a quick look at why branding is important.
- It positions your brand
- It creates a positive perception of your brand
- Customers know what to expect from you
- It helps create a positive brand identity
- It helps you build a loyal customer base
Interesting Read: 10 Reasons Why This is the Right Time to Start Your Business
Essential characteristics of a brand
As a business owner, your primary focus should be to unify the primary characteristics of your brand. Unless the various aspects of your brand are aligned, drawing up a formidable branding strategy will be impossible. Mentioned below are the primary characteristics of a brand:
- Brand Image: It is the customers’ perception of your brand. In simple terms, brand identity is how you want your customers to perceive your brand, whereas the brand image is how the consumers actually perceive your brand.
- Brand Relationship: Repeated communication between brands and consumers begin to mirror identical attributes of relationships found between humans. Emotions such as love, dependence, commitment, and intimacy, form a part of a brand relationship.
- Brand Culture: The brand culture is the foundation of a brand and its values. It governs every aspect of a brand. Every touchpoint, including brand experience, relationship with customers, employees, and stakeholders, and brand identity form the brand culture—it is the soul of the brand.
- Customer Self-image: The perception of the customer about him/herself while using a product or service is referred to as customer self-image.
- Customer Reflection: how customers feel when they use the brand’s products or services.
The above are the primary characteristics of a brand. Once you successfully align the various facets of your brand, working out branding and marketing strategies will become easy.
Know who you are first
You may have a great product or service. You may have funds. You may have a great growth plan. But, trust me, if you don’t know what your brand is, everything will be in vain. Understanding your brand will allow you to form branding strategies that will easily set you apart from your peers in no time. The following five questions will enable you to understand what your brand is all about:
1. What does your brand do?
The answer to this question may seem pretty straightforward when you are starting. However, things get murkier over time. Notice how the emphasis has been laid on the present tense? It is not about what your brand used to do or what it will do in the future: it is about the present moment.
You may divide the first question into two: 1. What does your brand do? 2. Why does it do what it does?
The answer to this will enable you to understand and devise your short and long term-goals.
2. Who is the brand for?
The answer to this question will provide you with valuable insights regarding your customers. Apart from understanding who your customers are, it will reveal if the current group of consumers is ideal for your brand.
3. Does it solve a problem?
Drew Houston, Dropbox co-founder, said while addressing a group in MIT: “The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do; they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them.” A business that aims to solve a problem always stands apart from the crowd. Approaching your market from the standpoint of solving a problem will give you a definite edge over your competitors.
Drew Houston, Dropbox co-founder, said while addressing a group in MIT that the happiest people always found ways to solve a problem. A business that aims to solve a problem always stands apart from the crowd. Approaching your market from the standpoint of solving a problem will give you a definite edge over your competitors.
4. What does your brand stand for?
Your mission, vision, and values will help you answer this question. The journey towards understanding what your brand is depends heavily on realizing what your brand stands for.
Tip: Stand for what you believe!
A brand that is not aligned with its values may not have enough gas to go the distance.
5. Where do you see your brand in the future?
The answers to the above questions will lead you to a final question—where do I see my brand in the future? This is a very important question since it will dictate your every move. Maybe you want to become a global player in your niche, or maybe you want to set up offices all over the country; your long-term goals will not only dictate your short-term objectives but will act as a driving force behind creating effective branding strategies.
Well, now that you know the essential characteristics of a brand, it’s time that we explore some unique branding ideas. The following branding ideas will help you grow your business in more ways than one.
1. Discover Your Archetype
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, defined the theory of archetypes. The term “archetype” is a Greek word, which means original pattern. Jung used the Greek word to come forth with his theory of the human psyche. He identified 12 archetypes that can be found in our collective consciousness. Some of the archetypes Jung identified are as follows:
Now the fun part, Jung’s archetype is not limited to human behavior; marketers and business owners have found that they can be applied in branding. Creating a story based on archetype characters is a strategy often used by companies for branding.
2. Analyze Your performance
Creating a cost-effective and unique branding strategy depends upon how well you analyze your performance. Authenticity in branding is something that brands should never miss.
Related: Authenticity In Branding
3. Create Personalized Content
Every individual loves attention, especially if it is from the person or the brand they love and value. Brands that make customers feel valued gain an edge over their competitors.
One mistake that brands make is sending the same type of messages to hundreds of thousands of their customers. While it is true that it is not always possible to create personalized messages for customers, answering queries and acknowledging customers on social media could be a great way to make them feel valued.
- Address them by their names
- Ask relevant questions
- Acknowledge their uniqueness
- Make your brand look as human as possible
4. Make a Killer Logo
One should never underestimate the power of a good logo design. A logo communicates a lot about your brand in a matter of a few seconds. A professional designer can give a touch of artistry that can turn an ordinary-looking logo into a masterpiece. Recent trends, such as minimal designs or authentic portraiture, have the power to set your brand apart from the crowd.
5. Assess Your Social Media Positioning
An article published on Buzzstream mentions the following that a staggering 72 percent followers of a brand “are more likely to purchase a product from them.”
Social media has turned out to be one of the best ways of connecting and building loyal followers. Every social networking site is different and needs a unique approach. From Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest, having a formidable social media strategy can take your brand to the next level.
6. Create Videos
Videos remain one the most effective ways of connecting with customers. Your consumers are more likely to share or comment on an engaging video than just reading a social media post.
Creating an engaging video does not have to be a costly affair. You can use various online tools, such as free video and audio editing software. You can use your phone’s camera to shoot; however, you have to ensure that the place you shoot is well lit.
Here is a video tutorial on “Lighting for YouTube Videos”
7. Create Podcasts
Some of the top brands are now using the power of podcasts for branding. Ashley Segura from SEJ (Search Engine Journal)
mentions in a column that podcasts are the next big thing and “more businesses are going to begin creating this content…”
The popularity of podcasts is increasing because of their convenience. Users can listen to these audio episodes while doing other activities such as cooking, driving, or cleaning.
Useful Tip: You can start a podcast for free. Platforms such as Anchor allow you to create and distribute your podcast on several other sites like Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcast.
8. Utilize the Power of Email marketing and Banner Ads
As a marketer, you should always look to harness the power of emails and banner ads. A nicely written email with proper images is as powerful as it was a decade ago. A professional email can be used to deliver relevant information to the customers without you having to spend a penny.
9. Analyze Your Packaging
Packaging design is as important as other aspects of brand identity. An attractive packaging design hooks the attention of potential customers, affecting their buying decisions. Any mismatch between your product and the packaging design can result in you losing customers; therefore, seeking the help of a professional is advised.
10. Connect to Brand Influencers
Social media users with hundreds of thousands of followers are generally referred to as influencers. Since they can “influence” people with their content, they are approached by brands and marketers to talk about their products or services. If you are a brand that deals with beauty products, connecting to an influencer who makes videos about beauty products would make sense. Influencers have become the go-to solution for brands and marketers.
11. Pay Attention to your Merchandise
What products does your company manufacture? Take a good look at it and think about what makes it different. Maybe you sell t-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, or even bags; there are thousands of other brands that sell similar products. Your fight for thriving in the market begins with research. Once you conduct thorough research about where you stand in the market, you will be in a position to make necessary changes to your product.
12. Start Blogging
Blogging remains one of the best branding ideas since it allows you to project yourself as the best in the industry. Content that answers and solves problems is sought after by readers. You should post regularly with relevant images, text, audio, and video bites.
13. Connect with Customers
Connecting to your customers every now and then will provide you with valuable insights into how your brand is performing. Conducting a survey and requesting opinions about various things related to your brand will keep the relationship between you and your customers strong.
14. Be consistent and Authentic
Consistency and authenticity are two things that can take your brand to new heights. Imagery, messaging, and values must be consistent, leaving no room for ambiguity. Similarly, authenticity will help you get more loyal customers; hence, consistency + authenticity = success.
15. Social Responsibility
Taking on social responsibilities is genuinely the best branding you can get. Supporting child education or raising awareness about climate change and global warming could set your brand apart from the rest. When you choose to support a social cause, you are immediately looked upon as responsible and reliable.
The COVID-19 induced pandemic has shaken the world in more ways than one. While businesses around the world have taken a serious hit, following above cost-effective business branding ideas can help them get back on track.
Businesses accross the world have consulted DesignBro to build their brand with logo, website, packaging design and much more.
We can help you too!
Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Media and Digital marketing sector, Passionate about innovation and bringing the future into new business solutions.