In moving from the idea phase of a business idea to setting up as a SME, a lot of things should be put in place for a that business to run seamlessly. Based on business targets, seamlessness could mean getting the first set of loyal customers or a sales target. Business branding and marketing strategies are essential for any business at this stage and with the current state of the economy, branding on a budget is the financially prudent way to go.
In making branding decisions for your business, you must be intentional. There needs to be a ‘why’ for every action you take in the business branding decisions. There also needs to be consistency. Consistency in your design style, typography; everything.
There exists one important question while making branding decisions.
What does your brand say?
This question will be asked by your potential customers and investors and it’s easily answered by the following:
- Your logo, colors, typography and images used in portraying the brand especially on social media.
- The audience: You determine your audience by selecting the demography, the personality of your potential clients, their lifestyle, concerns and needs and other brands they associate with.
- What you do, what you stand for and what you want to change for your customers.
- The personality you adopt while speaking as your brand. Adopting the persona of a powerful character will help push your business.
- Emotional appeal: How your audience should feel about using or working with your brand.
On the internet, there are a lot of hacks and free services to creating branding materials and logos. Your brand identity and logo will be determined by whatever scheme you decide on. Your logo could be Wordmark based; skewed edited text, just an icon + text or based on the initials of your brand. There exists a need for different versions to serve different platforms and your logo needs to have a transparent background for websites and other digital locations. There are services on the internet to create logos and branding assets as well as for SME owners to source inspiration from such as:
Because the type of images used in campaigns as well as on promotional materials set the tone for the perception of the company, there are also services that provide free stock photos:
- Death to the Stock Photo
- Osegun Photos
Beyond Branding, the question of achieving scale in the business is extremely important; probably the most important. Marketing is basically placing the product in the hands of the right customer at the right time and with that in mind, the brand is more important than even the logo. The brand is your promise, it’s the faith the public has in you and your company to deliver. To place your product in the hands of the right customer, questions like
- Type of customer
- Pricing and links to financial goals
- Ease of access
- Relevance of offering
- Level of investment
- Barriers to purchase
are supposed to be answered. Incremental plans for development and appraisal are supposed to be set early if the SME is meant to grow quickly and efficiently. Unapologetically plug yourself and business whenever you’re meeting people for the first time. The work of marketing and branding is never complete. There will always be new frontiers to cross, there will always be new potential clients. The moment a demographic is gotten, there is always a new demographic to target.