Branding on a budget can seem to be a foreign concept which never becomes a reality. The truth is branding is vital to any business. It is that string that connects your product to the public. As important as this is though, it can be extremely expensive. So, is it possible to brand your company whilst on a budget? The answer is a big YES.
Check out this segment from an interview between Dale Beaumont and John Benton on just how possible branding on a budget is. While still at university, John met his business partner James Willson and founded the advertising and branding agency, CRE8IVE. In five years, CRE8IVE has grown from three to 28 staff and is now the largest independent agency in Canberra.
Some businesses will spend billions of dollars a year on branding. For business owners who are on a shoestring budget, what are some simple and practical ways to brand their business?
Most people associate branding work with tangible things like advertising but it goes a lot deeper than that. A brand is about creating a total perception of your business. You can do this not only through tangible things, but also by addressing how you do business. So ask yourself, ‘How do I want the market to perceive my business?’ The answer might be ’boutique and personal’ or ‘multinational’ or ‘the cheapest’. Whatever the answer is, you can start making sure that the message is getting through all your brand touchpoints. Brand consistency is the key – consistency of message, consistency of service, and consistency of delivery.
So keeping this in mind, some of the things you should concentrate on include:
- Business card – I think it is essential to get this right because it offers a business snapshot for business owners who are out there networking. It needs to instantly create a perception. I recently completed a brand refinement project for a sole trader who wanted people to take him more seriously. After a month or so he came back to me and said it was amazing how people reacted to his new brand identity after receiving his business card. He said one potential client even commented, ‘With a card like this, you guys must be good’. Email signature – it’s amazing how many people ignore this. Make sure everyone in your business has the same email signature format (font, size, links and so on). This will make your business look organised and professional. Also think about how everyone answers the phone – is there a standard delivery? Does everyone know about it?
- Staff – educate your staff to respond correctly and effectively to the inevitable question, ‘So what does your company actually do?’ It’s really important to get this right with your staff because you never know who will talk to whom. It’s pointless if only the chief salesman can articulate this well if a top potential client happens to ask your receptionist in passing. Whatever you do, make sure that the perception you create is matched by the experience a client has with your business. Nothing is worse that a brand that over promises and under delivers.
For more of this interview check out Dale Beaumont’s “Secrets of Entrepreneurs Under 40 Exposed!“.