5 June 2015
2 min read
Know your audience
What’s great is that you don’t necessarily need a huge budget to build your brand. Vicky Bullen, CEO of strategic brand consultancy Coley Porter Bell, says, “LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media channels can provide valuable ways to showcase your brand as well as reach new and prospective customers, but ask yourself some questions. Who are your customers? How will they experience your brand? How will you make them become an advocate for it?”
Create an Identity
Create memorable and distinctive assets that are crammed full of meaning to project your brand and designed to elicit those intuitive responses from customers. Jo Arden, head of strategy at integrated creative agency 23red, says, “Think about every aspect – the colours, typography, iconography, the tone of voice, and how your brand behaves and moves online.”
But remember to keep it simple. Don’t sign up for a fussy corporate identity. Make sure you get a look and feel that is clear and clean. “The huge leaps on design and easy to use interface software means it is no longer acceptable to turn up with messy, dull or verbose communication,” says Simon Myers, partner at brand and marketing consultancy, Prophet.
“Make it easy for people to respond and get in touch with you. There are many off-the-shelf systems that for very little money can be deployed to keep track of interactions that need to be followed up.” Jo Arden, 23red
Get everyone involved
Remember to involve your staff in the branding process, their feedback is important. They will be your brand ambassadors, and will have to live and demonstrate the values of it through their behaviour towards each other and, importantly, towards the customer.
Consistency is key
Be integrated, says Myers: “Like any brand, who you are in person should be who you are in digital, social, in pitches and presentations. One of the benefits of being an SME is that it is simpler to connect your brand throughout your business.” And, he adds, “Don’t just talk about your product. We all know you want to sell something, but don't spam. Try to comment on or make links to product-related issues and themes that let a broader audience into the conversation. The idea is to create and be part of interesting conversations that in turn lead to further conversations. This is where being self-aware about where your product or service fits into people's lives is a must.”
Be dynamic and flexible
A dynamic world needs dynamic brands, says Claire Holmes, strategy director at Lambie-Nairn. “Nothing stands still and in today’s digital world it’s becoming clear the way brands need to behave is fundamentally changing. The most important thing for SMEs to acknowledge is that brands need to operate in real time, in a forever-shifting and increasingly complex media landscape. So you can no longer be rigid and prescriptive, slavishly sticking to detailed and constraining brand guidelines. Brands must become dynamic entities, flexible and capable of responding appropriately to every new opportunity, simply to remain relevant and compelling.”