I'm not a brand, am I?!
Branding is a waste of money, who needs it. I certainly don't. I'll leave it to the big boys, the Starbucks, Apples and Coca Colas of this world.
These companies spend huge amounts of money on packaging and staff training, something I certainly can't afford to do.
All my spare cash goes on advertising and marketing my company.
If this is you Stop right there, you need to realise everything you or your company does is affecting your brand.
If you've been reading this article so far and agreeing with everything I've written then you're not fully grasping what constitutes a brand.
You may be a sole trader, a new startup business or even an established company but one thing you all have in common is that you all own a brand.
Branding is not just plastering your logo across every piece of marketing you produce. It's not just getting colour coordinated clothing for your staff.
A brand is all these things and more.
The way you interact with customers, the way you answer the phone. The experience people have when they enter your shop, buy your service or simply ask for a quote goes to build your brand.
All those social media sites or forums you belong to carry your brand in the avatar you use and the interaction you have with other users. The language you communicate with online goes to build your brand and word of mouth certainly passes quickly if you're doing it right.
Branding done in the right way makes a big difference.
Apple is renowned for its' excellent packaging, anyone who's purchased a product will know how not just buying the product is exciting but the unwrapping of the box is thrilling in itself. The style and feel is all its' own.
Now if you're sending out products and you're budget isn't vast, forego the fancy box instead concentrate on what's inside, especially if the product is rattling around like loose change in your pocket!
The fancy box and lack of safe carriage tells the customer you're only interested in looks, not substance. Wrap your product in some nice paper, maybe include a fragrance depending on your trade but in all cases wrap it in cotton wool/bubble wrap!
Include a voucher to entice a customer back for repeat business, it's easier to retain a customer than to attract a new one.
Quality over quantity
That cheap business card you hand out also carries your brand. Think about redesigning it, changing the paper or shape.
You and your staff's appearance carries your brand as well, dress well, look your best.
More importantly, good old fashioned service, being treated how you would like to be treated, sticks in the memory and builds your brand.
If you're on a tight budget then just do whatever you can and do it well, to the best of your abilities.
A brand is not just a logo, it's your reputation.
Is your brand all it could be?