Branding your business the right way

thumbtacks

Creating awareness of your brand begins with using an old tool in a new way: communication. Most businesses face the challenge of competing for their customer’s attention in an information-overloaded society. How can you create and anchor brand awareness in the minds of people the right way? In a nutshell, you begin with marketing strategy that uses both print media and online marketing to speak to your target audience on multiple levels. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Set up your marketing strategy

Study your target audience. Who are your potential clients? Where/how can you reach them effectively? What are the competitors doing? How can you stand out from the competition?

You should also determine what your brand stands for. What is your competitive advantage? How are your products or services better than the competition’s? What will be your promise to clients?

In this step it’s all about studying your market/audience and making sure your products/services are ready to compete in the marketplace.

2. Develop your brand’s visual identity

This is the part where you give life to your brand. Which colours will best represent your brand’s identity? What type of logo will you design? You can also come up with a slogan or tagline for your brand that will accompany all your marketing materials. In this part, you basically design all the “signature elements” of your brand.

This is a very important part of the branding process as your choices will affect the perception of your company. Make sure your brand’s visual identity is professional-looking and intuitively tells your audience what your organization is all about. Rebranding costs a fortune so make sure you are satisfied with the way everything looks before moving on to the next step.

3. Develop vehicles for your message

These days, one of the best vehicles to broadcast your brand’s message is a well-designed website. Using the visual identity you created, you should develop a professional website that presents your products and/or services to your target audience. If you want to be able to sell online, it’s a good idea to hire a web development firm to create an e-commerce website.

Along with your website you will also want a social media presence. Depending on whether your business is B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer), there are various social networks to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. Determine what’s best for you (you don’t have to choose just one!) and develop a social strategy to help you succeed.

In this step you will also want to create traditional marketing collateral and stationery like business cards, brochures, letterhead, banners and basically anything else you need to advertise your brand on a local level.

Make sure the print materials you create align with your target audience. The competing noise in the environment makes this challenging but not impossible. The way to position your brand depends on the set of customers that will most likely be interested in your products or services. For instance, if your customers will be older and respond better to receiving marketing materials in the post, postpone your online marketing efforts and spend more time designing your direct mail campaign.

4. Deliver a consistent message, constantly

Frequency and consistency are your brand’s best friends. Delivering a consistent message constantly is the number one way to build top-of-mind-awareness. Delivering your message once is not enough to attract and retain the attention of customers.

Monitor, evaluate and implement updates if necessary. Continue to monitor all your brand and marketing awareness communication platforms so that the message you’re attempting to convey is the one that customers are receiving. You can build a relationship of trust and dependability with customers who have a consistent experience.

To sum it up…

Basically, a strong brand identity requires careful thought and strategic planning. Researching your potential market will help you articulate how your brand will be defined. Close monitoring also ensures that your brand remains relevant and current with changes in the industry or adjustments to your business model.

Incorporating these steps into a unique marketing campaign that takes full advantage of both print media and online marketing will help ensure your brand stands out from the crowd.

Brittany Giles is the Social Media Specialist at The Printing House.