A selection of easy tips to take your branding to the next level.
Branding is perhaps one of the most important aspects of running your business. If you’re not familiar with the term, “branding” is all about interfacing your business with your audience. In other words, it’s how you present yourself and how your business appears publicly. The right brand strategy can help your target customers connect with you and even increase your company’s credibility and success. Many companies, especially smaller businesses, underestimate branding’s potential, and they often massively underplay branding in their overall strategies.
In some cases, this might be because most people assume branding is super-costly, so they try to cut down on their expenses by focusing on things they deem more important. While some branding aspects certainly can be expensive (like hiring a talented designer to get a customized logo or a filmmaker to create a video), there are many effective things you can do at little to no cost whatsoever. In fact, the tips listed in this article won’t cost you a penny, just your dedication and time in actually seeing these strategies through!
Keep reading to learn more about some of the best no-cost branding strategies to change your business for the better.
Consistency on social media
If you’re reading this article in 2021, there is a very high chance that your business is represented on at least one social media platform (I’m betting more than one). Most businesses today rely on these tools as an effective way to network with their audience. After all, most social media platforms are free, and this is where most of your customers are already spending a growing amount of their time.
If you use multiple social media platforms, it is essential that you create brand consistency between each one. Branding has a visual element to it, which can be extremely powerful. Suppose you have a random photo on your Facebook profile and another unrelated shot for your Instagram avatar. In that case, you’re missing out on the opportunity to create what’s called brand consistency—making sure that people can easily recognize your brand in various formats. For example, most of us recognize Coca-Cola (whether we drink it or not). It’s easy to spot, regardless of the format or even medium you are looking at. Doesn’t matter what type of container you see in a store, if it’s on a billboard, or you see just a small logo placed somewhere, the brand is instantly recognizable.
This concept can easily apply to many areas of your business branding, and it’s important to start to reinforce your brand consistently on your website and social media. Create a theme and stick to it, regardless of the platform. Keep it simple, just like Coca-Cola, to achieve an awe-inspiring result that people will undoubtedly recognize, whether they connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or elsewhere on the web.
Collaborate with other brands or partners
Today, smart businesses don’t see all other companies as competitors—mutually beneficial partnerships can make them some of your most valuable allies. Creating collaborations and partnerships between different brands is an incredibly effective way to support other companies while also raising awareness of your own brand, while improving its standing in the community.
One of the best ways in which I’ve seen this applied in real life comes from the guitar effects company JHS Pedals. Like a lot of other companies, most guitar effects manufacturers create content to promote their specific products. Not JHS. They created a Youtube channel where they talk about other companies, review and demo other products, and even do shout-outs to their competitors. Instead of trying to crush and outrun their competitors, they actually praise them—they lift them up and often even cite them as influential in their own work! This is an amazing strategy, not only because they can expose their brand to people interested in other products in the same market, but also because they can improve their social standing.
Remember, a brand is about perception. Since the JHS company spends so much time and resources promoting other pedals and not just their products, they’ve acquired the reputation of a company consisting of people who are genuinely passionate about what they do. This is something that clearly appeals to their target customers.
In addition to taking a page from the JHS playbook and collaborating with other brands, you can also reach out to influencers and popular social media users. While some of them will require payments, products, or services in exchange for exposure, there are plenty that would be willing to work for mutually beneficial brand exposure as well.
Take advantage of the wealth of free branding and marketing tools available on the web.
Social media platforms aren’t the only free tools for improving your branding and marketing strategies. The Internet is like a goldmine, and if you dig deep (maybe not too deep), you are going to unearth some truly valuable gems. Services such as WordPress or Tumblr, for example, enable users to create beautiful blogs. Their basic offerings are free, and they can be amazing tools for companies looking to strengthen their branding strategies. MailChimp offers some powerful free tools as well, particularly concerning the world of email marketing and branding. Platforms like Tidio Chat help you better engage with visitors to your site with free plans.
Stay fresh and don’t be afraid to update your brand.
Have you ever noticed how some of the biggest companies in the world seem to update their brand and aesthetics every few years? This happens because a brand is not something that you set and forget. In most cases, using the same old brand aesthetics and strategies year after year can make your business look stale and outdated. You need to stay fresh, and frequent change is exactly what you need to achieve that.
Have you been using the same font or color background for ten years? Are you still using the same website template from when you originally put your site up years ago? If so, it may be time to consider a change. Granted, there are some industries in which it can be advantageous to appear old-fashioned, and staying “old-school” can be the way to go. Even then, however, you can always try to find a way to adapt your brand to modern aesthetic trends in order to appeal to potential customers. The key is to understand what your audience wants from you. How do they identify as a crowd? How do they relate to your brand? Answering these questions can help you define your view and experience more meaningful brand growth.
These are only some of the many amazing no-cost branding strategies that will help you improve and grow your business. At the end of the day, it’s all about getting creative. There is no limit to what you can accomplish, even on a shoestring (or nonexistent) budget, if you think out of the box. The way for your brand to stand out is to “stay on the move” and constantly embrace new opportunities to reach out to your audience, be open to change, and work to improve in every possible way. If you put in the time and the smart work, you’ll be able to do a lot with little to no expenses whatsoever!