Branding your business is not easy. It took years for companies like Exxon, Sony and HP to become recognized by all consumers. For most small businesses, that kind of branding will never happen. However, there are ways to brand yourself within a niche market, and become recognized as a leader in your field. Here are some steps to branding your business.
Make your logo simple and easy to recognize. Do not make it easily confused by another logo. If your company name is Well-mart Health Foods, do not try to use a star logo similar to a giant retail chain with a similar name. This won’t help you. Make your logo easy to recognize, and not easily confused.
Print your logo on everything. Don’t stop with business cards. Print your company logo on hats, t-shirts, pens, pencils, key chains, notebooks (paper), binders…. everything you use in the office. Give these away as much as possible to your customers. Get them to know and recognize your logo at first glance.
Buy static banner ads. Don’t just pay for the usual click-thru ads on websites. Many popular sites will sell you a static ad space for a fairly cheap price. This is a space where your banner stays all month and does not rely on click-thru’s. It’s a way of reminding your customers of your brand and logo. If you manufacture and sell women’s shoes, make sure your logo appears on all the popular fashion forums and sites, even if it’s with just a small banner ad.
Sponsor events. Within your budget, find local events that can be sponsored for a reasonable amount of money. If you make running shoes, and a local marathon is sponsored by your company, you’ll get lots of advertising clout. Add to that by giving away free items with your logo to all the participants and customers. Perhaps free t-shirts (with your logo) to the runners, and free paper fans (with your logo) to all the spectators. Don’t underestimate the value of this kind of event. You’ll get a lot of good press.
Never disparage your competition. You need to appear as the front runner in your field, and talking bad about the competition makes you sound like a desperate loser in last place. Always take the high road. As an example, Apple is always “talking trash” about Microsoft and PC based products. It makes them sounds desperate and incompetent. You never hear the reverse. While they both make good products, we tend to shy away from companies whose sole campaign is based on shouting down the competition. For the record, I do not favor or dislike any of those 3 companies. Simply as an example, which of them always seems to be struggling? For your company, do try to sound more confident.
Finally, make sure that your employees are happy and comfortable with your products and their job. A happy crew will spread the word faster than an unhappy office environment. The staff will project a positive image. Load up your employees with free hats, shirts and extras. They’ll wear these at neighborhood picnics and ball games, and will be helping you to brand your company name.