The Art of Marketing Your Brand with Little or No Budget
A lot of discourse gets thrown around the word ‘brand’ and the need to improve it. But one may ask, what exactly is a brand? Your organization can propel or shrink based on how your brand is perceived by others and it is your job to continually understand, align and adapt to what your customers are looking for. In a way, a brand is a home-baked cake you would serve your future mother-in-law to impress her. It is as much as the flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence as well as the icing on it. A brand is an amalgamation of your vision, the business’ identity in the market, your employees, your company culture as well as your sales.
In short, it is your personality that helps customers relate to your business as an affable entity and in turn builds a long-lasting relationship with them. You would think it is a long drawn complicated process of marketing experts to build a memorable brand; and while it may be true in some cases, there is no denying that you can’t do it on your own with little resources in hand.
To simplify the entire hullabaloo about what needs to be done to create a seamless and an unforgettable brand experience, I have noted down a few tricks that can help you push your brand ahead of the clutter with little or no money (sounds enticing, doesn’t it?):
Define your brand – What is your business offering? Who is your target audience? What gap are you bringing in the market that doesn’t already have a solution? These are a few questions you need to ask as you sit down to draw the course with your company. Be honest about what you are offering to your customers and why they would come to you as opposed to another existing player. Reach out to customers in unique, novel ways. Be consistent in your approach but do not get repetitive.
Package your look and feel – What do you think of when you visualize a glowing bitten apple or when somebody says the word “whopper”? The power of a brand lies in creating strong visual experiences for their customers. Be it a logo that is simple, original and yet powerful or your website that becomes an extension of what the company style and vision is. It is imperative to have a consistent look and feel across all your platforms – websites, social media, merchandising, communications, on-ground branding materials, etc. Customers should be able to relate to your company as one single brand that they can rely on, all based on the seamless experience they receive.
Social Media Marketing – One cannot emphasize enough about the importance of social media in today’s age. Whether you are a B2B or a B2C organization, social media is your independent voice that reaches out to existing and potential customers as well as your employees. Be consistent with each platform and keep a clean yet simple language style that can enable your customers to understand you best. Try video marketing and SEO as tools of wider yet targeted outreach. Conversations on social media help customers feel closer to the brand as well as understanding insights about their behavioural patterns.
Focus on a niche – Instead of the ideology of “we do everything”, move your focus to cater to the needs of a particular set of people That not only helps startups in the space get the help in PR from the beginning of their foundation but also enables your company to have a first-mover’s advantage when the time comes. Focus on a niche and understand your market and audience. Then you will have a much clearer idea of how you can solve problems as well as innovate within that niche.
Help your clients/customers remember you – A part of building a memorable brand means creating a story or giving something to your clients or customers to remember you. A way to do that is for you and your team to go an extra mile when it comes to helping them out, or being a prominent player in aiding the community you’re working in. While value-driven marketing is a long-term process, you will eventually build an audience that will champion your products and cause without your asking. Other strategies are simple things like including your logo in your emails, business cards, invoices or other communication platforms that can help make a higher brand recall.
Establish Thought Leadership – As the brand grows further, it helps to highlight the people behind it. CEOs/MDs should put forth their views and thoughts in forums, media and other platforms so that the audience can understand the thought process behind the company’s roadmap. Tools, like writing articles on websites, blogs and contributing to the media, can help bolster the image of the senior management. It is an effective content marketing strategy that widens your reach as a company as well as throws insights into what goes behind in the decision-making process of that company or trends in the industry.
Be Human – While you are engrossed in a million sales and business tactics, the truest part of a business is that who you deal with on the other end is a human. Do not forget to be human and step back to be genuine and considerate. No matter what sales techniques you try, be honest, deliver more than you were asked for and have empathy to put yourself into your customer’s shoes. Stay on this course and you can achieve far more than what business books can teach you.
Try these techniques and let me know how you fared with your brand.
This article was originally published in Entrepreneur India by Rachna Baruah.