Build a Brand Strategy on a Budget

Your brand strategy is like the DNA of your company; it’s how you set yourself apart from the competition and show your ideal customers who you are and why they should work with you.

Without a strong brand, people might buy your products or services — but they’ll forget you as soon as the credit card charge clears.

With the right brand strategy, you could set yourself apart from the competition, develop a loyal customer base, and increase your profits.

First things first…

If you’ve got a limited budget to work with, you want to start with the most important design assets first — your logo. Your logo is the face of your company, so you don’t want to wait until you’re almost out of budget to get it designed.

So, how can you do this the most efficiently, financially? Use a platform like 99designs, where you can run a design contest. You put together a brief for what you need, and then multiple designers send over their ideas. You get to look through everything and only pay for the design you choose. It’s a great way to get exposure to multiple designers and ideas — without having to pay for samples from each one.

Do Your Homework

Strong brands are built on market research – you need to know who you’re selling to before trying to craft a brand strategy.

While large companies often pay consultants to do market research for them, you can easily cut out these costs by using tools from all over the web. Here are a few (free!) recommended tools to get you started:

  • Hootesuite– Manage up to 3 social profiles and schedule your posts in advance. The free plan also includes basic analytics for tracking followers and various growth and content statistics
  • Google Analytics – Shows you all sorts of demographic information about your current users, like their ages, genders, and country of residence.
  • SocialOomph– With the free plan, you can schedule tweets, track keywords, shorten URL’s, and manage up to five Twitter accounts, but some of the more sophisticated features require a paid plan. 
  • Followerwonk– Connect a profile, view authority rankings, see followers and their locations, see when followers are active, and access several other details to further analyze your social audience. Bam.

Find your buying audience, understand their needs, and see how you can help them solve problems. With your research done, you can tweak the design elements of your brand to fit your audience’s demands.

Build A Quality Website

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your website until your business is bringing in enough cash to have it professionally designed. With all of the DIY website builders out there, it’s totally within your power to set up our own creative website if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and apply a bit of sweat equity.

Make sure you choose the right tools that will allow you to scale, iterate and grow. Not all website templates are created (or coded) equally, so be careful of “free” options (there’s usually a tradeoff).

I recommend the Divi theme from WordPress. It’s the most popular WordPress theme for a reason! It’s easy to use and there’s a huge online community if you ever need support or have a question. The sky is really the limit on what you can do with it design-wise.

Create a Color Scheme

This is probably one of the fundamental, yet the most central element of your brand- the color scheme.

You’ll want to create a color palette for your website, social media profiles, logo, business cards–everything. Everything should stick to a consistent color palette. Color is what captures people’s attention at an emotional level, and can set you apart from your competitors.

You can absolutely create one for yourself, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You’ll want your color palette to reflect your brand’s personality and it should be appropriate for your audience and what you sell. (It’s not just about picking colors you like.)
  • You’ll want to make sure your color palette is functional. The biggest mistake I see people making with their color palettes is choosing way too many colors that don’t work together in practice.
  • Don’t go too crazy–the more hues you have in your palette, the harder it can be to work with them
  • Choose plenty of neutrals to round out your palette – The funny thing is if you use plenty of neutrals and then add “pops” of color sparingly, the color actually stands out more.
  • Make sure you have an “action color” that’s in contrast to your primary brand color(s). This is especially important for your calls to action on your website, you don’t want those blending in (people will miss them=no bueno.)

Take Advantage of Email Marketing

Probably the only thing used more than social media is email. All you have to do is hit the “Send” button, and you have direct communication with all of your loyal customers.

Whether you’re running a promotion, uploading a blog, or selling a new product, email marketing is an easy way to let your customers know what’s going on in your company – with minimal effort.  Don’t use email as an excuse to spam your customers – no one likes that. Ever.

There are many email marketing services for small businesses that cost next to nothing, such as:

Create Quality Content

Creating content is a sound long-term investment, and the only thing it costs you is time.

Articles, guest blog posts, educational videos, and other long-form texts can give you a broader brush with which to paint your brand – generating brand awareness in the process.

But more importantly, great content allows your target audience to respect you as an authority– you can answer customers’ questions and give them the advice that makes them trust your brand.

Also, creating content gives you an opportunity to collaborate with other companies in your industry, granting you more exposure through their viewers.

So, if you don’t have a blog – start one! It’s a key strategy for organic marketing; Your blog could give someone their first exposure to your brand.

Blogger or Hubpages is a great free platform for creating a blog.

Wrapping it up…

All of this focus on design should be working towards one goal: Creating a durable brand identity.

Your brand doesn’t need bells and whistles to be powerful – many of the best brands don’t rely on expensive gimmicks and stunts. Instead, they’re successful because they communicate their companies’ goals, values, and mission in a clear way.

 

 

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Marmalade May 6, 2019 0 Comments

5 Ways to Practice Psychology in Marketing

Psychological insight is just as valuable as technological advance. Successful marketers regularly employ psychology in appealing to consumers. There are 5 ways marketers can utilize psychology in marketing.

 

1. Transparency Builds Trust

Ignorance is not Bliss: Consumers want to know everything. They have an interest in knowing not only about a product, but what’s in the product, where its component parts are sourced from, how it is made, and what business processes and values guide its creation.  When consumers see that you are being open with them about your business practices, brand standards, and products, they are more likely to give you their customer loyalty.

 

2. Emotional Branding

Now consider a business. If it were between two advertisements — one that simply talked about products, and one that made you laugh or cry — which would “wow” you? The second one, right? Story-telling especially works with ads that aim to increase brand awareness. An example is the Nike ad Dream Crazier for Women’s Day. By sharing the inspiring progress of women in sports, Nike not only delivered an ad that resonated with its audience but aligned with their brand image of strength and determination.

 

3. Promote Exclusivity

Cater to your customer’s ego by making them feel special if they were to purchase your product. By making your product somewhat unreachable (through limited editions or offers), you can increase the desire and urgency for it.

 

4. Take Advantage of FOMO

One of the trademarks of social media is that people want to be part of events as they unfold. FOMO refers to the Fear of Missing Out. FOMO marketing techniques use countdowns, promote experiences, and display social proof. Take Calvin Klein’s underwear campaign, #InMyCalvins, for example. They are encouraging women and men around the world to post pictures of them in their Calvins, with the hashtag. 

 

5. Color Psychology

Yep, I said it. Different colors actually make you feel different emotions. Color plays a major role in evoking emotion. Have you ever walked into a room and immediately (and inexplicably) felt some type of way? This is called color psychology, and a many of businesses and organizations use it. Sports teams choose jersey colors that excite their players and audiences. Therapists paint their offices to instill tranquillity their patients, and movie producers design the color scheme for posters and trailers that provoke feelings of fear or surprise.

The same goes for brands. Consider the Coca-Cola red or Starbucks green. Red evokes strong feelings such as love, excitement, and joy. In the case of Coca-Cola, red portrays positive, friendly energy. On the other hand, green is often associated with harmony, balance, nature, growth, and health — all components of the Starbucks brand and “green” movement.

 

In Conclusion…

Across all forms of media, marketers invest money, creative energy and time into targeted messages meant to improve sentiment towards their brand, convince new audiences to buy their product and encourage existing customers to complete repeat purchases. Their success, of course, is dependent on their ability to influence customer behaviors, which makes marketing a play on consumer psychology.

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Marmalade March 27, 2019 2 Comments