Big businesses have it easy not because they can boast with huge cash flow but because they have a well-established brand. Investing in your brand is essential if you want to be competitive both offline and online. The process was hard enough in the past but things are even more complicated in the digital age. However, there are a few guidelines that will prevent you from making all the wrong moves, at least in the beginning. Optimizing, researching, and (re)designing are going to be keywords in the building of your brand from zero.
Passion before obsession
Stress is nothing uncommon in the world of business but if you are building your brand from scratch, then becoming obsessed with success can hurt your company. Namely, you have probably created a brand with a lot of passion and instead of being nervous about the market’s response to your brand; you should continue to work passionately on promoting it.
Let your brand naturally gain popularity among consumers without any major interventions on your part. Faith and bravery are an essential part of being a young entrepreneur launching a novel brand. Such a laissez-faire policy is the surest way to find your name on Australia’s top 100 young entrepreneurs list.
Of course, not meddling too much with the market’s response doesn’t imply giving up on optimization altogether. The brand you are trying to promote has to have a target audience of some kind and you should actively measure their response to your brand entering the market. After the launch, you might need to adjust the brand just a little bit, such as adding a version compatible with smartphone access, to name an example. In this sense, as long as you have active customer support for the brand in question, the optimization process never really ends.
What does your target market look like?
One of the reasons why you should optimize frequently is because you want your brand to appeal to your target consumers, i.e. your target market. This doesn’t have to be particularly specific but it still needs to be widened down enough. For instance, if you’re planning on starting a brand intended for children, then the name of the brand and its image should be childish in a way and easy to understand.
Before you start building your brand ask yourself the “whys” and “hows” in terms of the target market. Once you get a clearer image of whom you might sell or offer your services to, your branding campaign will get its general direction. Also, think of the need or desire that your brand will fulfill in a way different from what established brands presently offer.
Researching competing brands
Speaking of the competition, it is wise to learn a thing or two about the brands you’re going to be competing against. Apart from studying their current ranking on the market, take a look at their history as well, especially the way they’ve established themselves on the market. Perhaps the story of how Australians were cunning enough to turn British Marmite into vegemite in the first half of the 20th century can inspire you a bit.
In general, examine your competition’s logo, company policies, customer relations, and the people they hired as management. This will all prove as valuable data, as you can replicate some of their business moves. Of course, don’t ape them or copy their business model verbatim but rather try to adopt the same problem-solving mindset.
It’s OK to ask for help
John Donne’s famous line that “no man is an island” could not be truer in the world of startups. Soliciting help from friends, co-founders, business partners, and even hiring a marketing agency is nothing to shy away from. You might be a savvy entrepreneur and know your way with money but you’re a graphic designer and you cannot design a hoppy logo overnight.
In fact, by cooperating with similar promising online businesses that have launched their own respective brands, you are establishing a network of entrepreneurs like you. Contacts with these people will prove valuable when it comes to later stages of developing your brand, as you need to introduce an ever more versatile offer. Now, in the beginning, you can use barter trade with these startups to save cash for later investment.
What is your UVP?
Having examined your competitors, their respective success stories, and their products or services, it is time to set your brand apart. Think of your unique value proposition (UVP) that will create an aura of uniqueness around your brand that consumers will easily recognize. This will be your unique way of solving their problems or offering them something they haven’t had the chance to try out before. Your brand’s UVP should be as unique as possible but at the same competitive enough to grab the interest of the target group.
Put your logo on shirts
Once you have given a great deal of care to designing your logo that will serve as your company’s visual identity, the time has come to disseminate it. Expensive prime time TV commercials are redundant if you use a few guerilla marketing tactics. Put the brand’s logo onto everything imaginable, from T-shirts to lampposts.
As far as the former is concerned, there are good-quality custom T-shirts in Australia that you can use to print your logo on. Once you get the ball rolling, don’t stop at T-shirts, as other apparel can also be branded, such as caps, sweatshirts, shorts, and even aglets on shoelaces.
Why stop at clothes! You can place your brand on office materials such as notebooks, pens, paper bags, notepads, etc. Who wouldn’t want to get a free USB stick or a mug with your brand’s logo printed on it? It is such marketing that will spread the word about your emerging franchise and hopefully, people will start recognizing your brand in no time.
Establish a social media presence
After you’ve asserted your brand’s visual identity, it is time to speed things up by opening accounts on social media platforms. This task seems easy enough but there are companies who have failed miserably at it. One of the biggest mistakes is opening accounts on way too many platforms, thus dispersing and diminishing your social media presence. Do your homework and discover the top 5 networks that your target audience uses the most and stick to those at first.
Establishing a strong social media presence requires one thing: consistency. Don’t let days and even weeks pass between two Facebook videos or posts, for instance. Once a potential customer opens your profile on Instagram, he or she needs to see that your brand is trending since the last post was hours, not months ago. It might be hard to get followers and subscribers at first but as offline marketing strategies start yielding results, expect an increase in the number of members of your brand’s social media community.
Think of your brand as a living person
Once the brand is fully set up and ready to face the world, you should feel something towards it. No, really, it should feel as if you’re sending your kid to college. The emotional bond to your brand is no joke, as treating the brand as a living and breathing person is the best marketing approach to take.
Such a stance will help you determine the personality of your company and put a human face to it. In some instances, this can be taken quite literally, as you select the right actor or actress to shoot a TV commercial. In general, a brand is more than the logo, as its visual identity is created by everyone employed by the company, from the receptionist to the spokesperson.
Deciding on a memorable brand name and a slogan
A visual identity should be followed by a catch name. Coming up with brands’ names and promotional slogan is the job of a copywriter but if you already have a great name, feel free to go with it. The name should reflect your company’s image, be easy to pronounce, and preferably, it should catch on quickly.
Creating a memorable name for your brand should lie at the very core of your brand. It will be featured in commercials, printed on T-shirts, and all of Australia is going to hear about is, so make it memorable. When brainstorming for the name, don’t use narrow denominations, as you want the name to appeal to wide consumers.
As far as the slogan for the brand is concerned, you should apply the more or less the same tactics as for the name originally. The slogan should have a metaphor, it should describe your brand or the service you offer, and it should make a strong, relevant claim. Luckily, your customers will adopt the brand by developing an attitude towards it which is something that you can use subsequent ad campaigns. Oh yeah, make the slogan rhyme, if possible!
One thing that you have to understand is that building your brand from zero is a process. Success won’t come overnight as you need to invest in your brand. Be prepared for ups and downs but never lose focus of what your brand represents and with some luck, you’ll ultimately succeed.