Ed Roach | Small Business Branding
The world is mired in a recession, but opportunity is everywhere. All around me, I’m meeting people who are starting a business. They refuse to let the economy deter them – as a matter of fact, frequently it is the result of the poor economy that has presented opportunity to them. Where doom and gloomers see defeat, entrepreneurs rise to the challenge. It is these very bold attitudes that are the basis for powerful brand values. It is these values that will be the foundation of your new brand and upon them; a new successful business will flourish.
Basing everything on these values, an entrepreneur must dream up a great name for their new venture. The name should inspire your intended audience. It should be memorable. Your name is important as it identifies the brand.
Having decided on a catchy name, next comes the logo. Since the logo is the visual component of your brand name, it must accurately reflect the brand name. It too, must inspire. If you use an icon in your logo (ie: Apple’s apple and the Nike swoosh) try to keep it simple. In deciding a palette it is best to keep the image to two or three colors. This makes it easier on the eye. A full range of color, just over complicates. The logo should work as effectively in black and white and gray tones. It must be legible at any size. Color is a very powerful icon that can also represent a brand (ie: UPS’s brown). Color should convey the personality of the brand.
Once the logo is complete, how it looks and feels sets the tone for everything else you do. From your website to your marketing materials, everything follows the corporate color palette. Consistency is paramount here. Deterring from your palette dilutes your brand and confuses your intended audience. Imagery used is determined from the brand personality. Even the way you tell your story should be consistent with your brand efforts to date. If you have a very traditional, old world image, how you speak in your marketing should reflect this attitude. The tone is as important as the intent. At this stage of your brand development, you are the absolute master of your destiny. Be sure that it jives with your brand values. To do otherwise wouldn’t make sense in the marketplace.
To get the message out, the modern entrepreneur must embrace on and off-line strategies to develop their personal and professional brands. Off-line they must develop personal, and business networks to extend their reach. Joining professional organizations will go a long way in establishing that all important local presence you will need. Give back to your community through actively participating in influential not-for-profits. Many of these organizations have people of influence on their boards. If your audience is predominantly female, then you would want to market to professional women’s groups, and the places they congregate. If you are a woman yourself, membership is key.
Don’t forget print marketing, speaking engagements, radio, television shows and special events are also effective ways to market your brand.
Online is a fantastic place to grow your personal brand by feeding your expert profile. There is no better way than blogging. Also, social media such as Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook gives an entrepreneur a perfect platform to display their expertise. Your website MUST be more than a brochure site. It should provide your audience with tools that help them grow. It has to prove that your brand is more than the competing brand. Show your expertise. A blog allows you that platform to put your opinion out there. Writing white papers and ebooks is another great tool in drawing in an audience. What is exciting is most of your competition do NOT have these tools on their radar.
Google them and see that many websites are simply brochure sites.
Using ebooks, white papers, audio and video as lures for email harvesters, you can build your own niche audience of targeted individuals and companies. The opt-in email list is dynamite because it is exactly whom you want to talk to. Breaking your list down even further only makes your marketing efforts more powerful. Email marketing should definitely be one of your premium avenues for promoting your brand. Affiliate sales, on-line networking (ie: Linkedin.com) are incredible ways to get your brand known around the world.
Actively pursue alliances to jointly promote events to an online audience doubles your effectiveness. Personally I have several partnering efforts in motion with companies in different parts of the world. Our efforts not only increase our potential markets to earn new business, but it also expands our range of influence.
For more information on Branding sign up for my weekly branding tip: Ed Roach’s Two Cents Worth. Valuable tips that you can use in your business today. Some of which we touched on here. Your brand is a terrible thing to waste. Be sure that everything is consistent including your tone and message. This will make it cheaper and more powerful to promote. Look for assistance online for every aspect of your business plan. The resources at your fingertips are reasonable in cost and immensely beneficial. If you are looking to build a team for your new business, look not further than an associate of mine, who just launched her new blog: Break Through Business Providing this link to a friend’s blog, is another form of cross-promotion. EVERY effort has long term benefit.
I hope that you enjoy your business as much as I. Building your brand properly can be very rewarding.
This article originally appeared on Small Business Branding