Though it has become something of a dirty word in the anti-globalization movement, the process of branding benefits the consumer as well as the business behind it. A brand is, in effect, a seal of approval from a company. It gives the consumer an idea of what level of quality they can expect across a range of products.
A brand also helps distinguish between otherwise similar items. Creating a strong brand doesn’t happen overnight, but through a long process of consistent performance and marketing.
1. Design a logo
A logo gives a visual clue about what the business does. While some are eye-catching, others are intentionally understated – it all depends on the image that the company wishes to portray. While the cost of hiring a branding company are beyond the budget of most small businesses, it’s worth splashing out on a graphic designer – at least for the creation of the logo.
2. Create image materials
Once the logo (and associated font or color scheme) has been decided on, apply them consistently across the company. This can include getting stationery printed, vehicles re-sprayed, brochures reprinted, company offices repainted, new uniforms, and an updated website.
3. Develop a mission statement
Compose a document that describes what the company does and how it provides value to its customers.
4. Write a tagline
Come up with a tagline that succinctly describes the company – in effect, a summary of the mission statement in as few words as possible.
5. Decide on target markets
Decide who the brand will be targeted at. Set realistic goals and devise a timetable to monitor progress. Bear in mind that some target markets will only be reachable through the conquest of others.
6. Write press releases and articles
Keep the world informed of the company’s activities by writing press releases and industry-related articles for the media, internet and the company’s own website.
7. Get involved with the community
Attend local events or provide them with funding or prizes. If the budget allows, host an event or kick-start a local initiative.
8. Create a newsletter
Write a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly newsletter and encourage consumers to sign up for it.
9. Update the company website
Add useful information to the company’s website at least once a month. This will keep it fresh for search engines and encourage consumers to return.
Get to know local businesses and organizations in the surrounding area. Develop good relationships with those who have potential for future partnerships and cross-branding drives.