By Terry Corbell
The Biz Coach
Checklist to Build Your Brand on a Budget
Branding is very important. Nebulous branding is a leading cause of business failure.
Besides ill-defined branding, when a business fails there are several likely reasons. They include poor planning, insufficient passion, ineffective management, weak finances, undesirable location, and ineffective use of technology.
A solid brand will help you land customers and insure customer loyalty. For sustainability and strong customer relationships, remember your customers want consistency and a positive tone.
Successful companies also work on continual improvement. They gain market share by becoming more competitive. That includes effective pricing as part of their branding process.
For success in brand-building, remember it’s a process to manage the feelings and thoughts of your customers by creating a happy buying environment.
Address the five critical value-buying perceptions that motivate customers to buy from you. While pricing is important, target only customers who want value, not necessarily those who want the cheapest price. My research shows 18 percent of the population will only buy the cheapest product or service.
Target the other 82 percent who are concerned about price but they have other concerns about value.
No company has ever succeeded by only focusing on selling at the lowest price. Even Walmart’s branding slogan is “Save Money. Live Better.” And they always position a greeter at the store’s entrance. Costco creates a community atmosphere with lots of added value.
Much like buying a house, you need to build brand equity. That means first tapping into the value-emotions of your customers.
The value perceptions and their percentages of importance include:
- What customers perceive about you, your employees and spokespersons – 52 percent.
- Image of your company – 15 percent.
- Quality of product or service utility – 13 percent.
- Convenience –12 percent.
- Price – 8 percent.
So, for a quick primer on affordably building brand equity, here is a checklist of 29 tips:
- Test your ideas. Rely on the opinions of successful people and get a mentor. Use them as a focus group. But in the end make sure you have a strong aptitude for decision-making and follow your instincts.
- Develop a mission statement. What is your reason for launching a business and values?
- Create a logo and insert it in every one of your collateral messages, such as advertising, letterhead, signage, business cards and Web site.
- Create a Web site. Only 52 percent of businesses have a Web site, which might give you a competitive edge over others who don’t have one. Keep it current and update it every two years. Insert your logo as a favicon, which is short for favorites icon; also known as a website icon or a shortcut icon. In this way, it will show up in the search line on users’ computers. It will add sophistication to your online image much like bigger companies.
- If you have a small company, own your keyword names – both your name and that of your company’s. If your company is named after you, that’s even better. How many quality references does the Web have about you?
- Market yourself personally as well as your business.
- Stay current on social media; at least LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
- Become known as the leader in your industry. Choose the right colors for your business. For example, research shows certain cars with certain colors do not sell well, such as purple or yellow.
- Tell a great story.
- Be consistent.
- Personality and character is important to show value, stability, security and fun.
- Partner with other successful people and businesses.
- Create a leave-behind sales flyer. Differentiate yourself from competitors. Limit it to one page with short paragraphs, your contact information and logo.
- Volunteer your time and expertise.
- Get face time with customers.
- Speak, write and teach. Customers love buying from experts.
- Develop and maintain a prospect list with deadlines for action and follow-up.
- Offer your expertise to reporters who cover your industry and don’t forget trade magazines. Don’t be discouraged if a reporter doesn’t call you. Be patient. I once offered the expertise of a law firm client as an authoritative information-source to the media and five years later he was quoted in a major newspaper.
- Create press releases for the media and post them on your Web site on a “Press” or “Media” page.
- Personally contact the media with your ideas.
- Use cause-related marketing, especially in this economy.
- Be present at as many relevant events in your community as possible.
- Post your appearances in a calendar on your Web site.
- Budget permitting, join your chamber of commerce and industry associations.
- Study SEO techniques so customers can easily find you and discover information about your abilities and expertise.
- Develop and implement policies for excellent customer service and retention.
- Practice an attitude of gratitude.
- Always demonstrate that you want to make sales, but you don’t need them.
- Keep on trying whenever you fail. Every experience is a learning experience.
From the Coach’s Corner, from this portal’s Marketing/Sales section, see:
- The Link between a Simple Logo and Branding Success
- Checklist for Branding, Selling Your Biz as Green
“I had a marketing idea that everybody hated, decency is sexy.”
-James L. Brooks
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.