When you’re starting a new business, building your brand is a huge part of your success but it can be a challenge on a limited budget and dealing with time constraints. This can be stressful especially if you have to start repaying a loan from profits or have to answer to an investor.
Don’t get lost at the starting gate by panicking over what you can’t afford. Instead focus on strategies that will help you to build a brand that people will begin to know, trust and love.
Stick with simple and clear messaging. You might be tempted to get fancy and witty with your messaging but stay on target to create messaging that is straightforward and relatable. Too much clutter and your brand’s identity will be lost. People don’t have time to guess what you offer by adding unneeded layers of mystery. What you may think of as clever, customers may think of as inflated puffery.
Consider minds like Steve Jobs, “Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”
Figuring out your core message is about ideology. What problem will your products or services solve? How will your products or services improve your customers life and most importantly, how will your products or services make the customer feel about themselves? Distilling all of these important elements into messaging can be tough but it’s important to bring it down to a statement or an expression that embodies all of these characteristics.
It may help to figure out what your business is not. Make a list of things you hate about your competitors products or services and build upon that to decide what makes you different and how you achieve this difference. People demand an experience these days from brands. Those are the ones that develop cult followings. Developing an immersive experience for your customers also begets a lot of free advertising as people that have experienced something remarkable will want to tell their friends.
Small marketing budgets do not automatically equate low quality creatives. It’s ideal to hire the very best when it comes to graphic design but when you go with a designer that works at an agency, you’re going to pay a premium as that designer’s employer has to pay all the overhead expenses that come with running an agency.
Get creative when looking for a design professional. With the freedom of access the Internet affords, you can easily shop around for a quality artist that offers their services at a reasonable price. The rock bottom cheapest way to make a logo is to use an online designer that allows you to make it yourself. This is not recommended though because although it looks cheap at first, being able to download the design at a high resolution, and with all the different formats, costs more money. Additionally, when you start with one of their templates and simply plug in your text, you will not have an original design specific to you and you won’t own the artwork either.
It’s far better to spend a little bit of money on a site like 99Designs, eLance, or UpWork to work with real graphic designers that can produce art that will translate into all aspects of your advertising. Whether it is a logo for your shop’s window or a custom t-shirt design ready for print it’s critical to work with a designer that understands different print methods and the requirements for each. For example, custom t-shirt art needs to be no less than 300 DPI and preferably in a vector format. They should also understand that designs with lots of colors will be more expensive to print and be able to simplify your design for varying print methods.
Custom t-shirts for your business are a very economical way to broadcast your brand’s message. Using them as a customer giveaway is a clever way to build brand recognition. Familiarity is directly related to buying decisions. Brand awareness impacts two situations when it comes to purchases. 1. When a consumer needs to recall a product or service because they are actively looking to solve a problem. 2. When choices between brands are set before them in an environmental situation. In each case, familiarity with a brand influences the consumer’s choice.
Consistency with your brand’s style will reinforce familiarity. Once you’ve settled on your messaging and style stick with it. This is how brands build iconic status. Your color scheme and visuals should remain static so your branding translates to your products or services as dependable and reliable.
Building a brand identity is not really about money. It’s about the beliefs you able to instill through messaging and of course delivering on expectations for a great experience with your business and its products and services.