What Are the Key Steps in Building a Brand?
Today, there’s a seemingly infinite number of brands for consumers to choose from. Small businesses are then presented with a tricky challenge: how do they make their brand stand out from the crowd?
Office design specialist Diamond Interiors often encounter businesses in the process of establishing or re-establishing their brand who want their offices to reflect their crafted identity.
“The businesses we’ve seen grow the fastest are those who have invested time and money into understanding exactly who they are and what their mission is,” says Nick Pollitt, founder and Managing Director at Diamond Interiors.
In order to help you successfully build your brand, we asked the experts for 6 key steps you should follow:
1. Prioritise your brand
“SMEs usually have more pressing expenses to deal with than branding,” says Grant van der Harst, Managing Director of road-marking company Anglo Liners. “They have to pay staff and buy essential supplies, first and foremost. After paying these expenses, small businesses rarely have much money left over to spend on marketing, advertising and promotion.”
But does that mean branding shouldn’t be a priority for SMEs? “Branding is important,” says Grant: “It’s one of the best marketing tools available to a small business. A good name and a memorable logo can really make a small business stand out, which helps attract local consumers and grow your popularity.”
2. Don’t be afraid to invest in your branding
Grant van der Harst of Anglo Liners suggests that small businesses spend around 7-8% of their revenue on marketing. “Branding is an essential asset,” he says, “so it’s worth spending a sizable chunk of this budget on branding.”
For a business that’s creating their brand from the bottom up, there are three initial concepts to focus on:
- Your brand name
- Your brand logo
- Your domain name
Unlike with other key brand concepts (such as your mission statement or your core values), your brand name, logo and domain name all come with a fixed, associated cost.
3. Purchase your domain name
“All businesses should start their branding with the domain,” says Al Black of Voquent. “If they choose a business name that has no available domain, or where the domain is only available as a premium purchase, it could end up being the biggest branding cost.”
The exact price of purchasing an available domain varies. It can start from as little as £1 per year but a lot of them sit around the £30 mark. Still, it’s a small price to pay to secure that memorable, relevant URL.
4. Don’t shy away from a good logo
Grant van der Harst recommends “spending £500-£1000 to design and buy a good logo.” Al Black of Voquent says that he used crowdsourcing site DesignCrowd to have around 50 logos produced.
Ann Oldbury, Director at healthy fruit snacks company LioBites, got a more personal touch without having to incur massive costs. “Our branding and logo were created by me and my friend who is a freelance graphic designer,” says Ann. “The project overall cost me less than £1000, including the logo.”
5. Be cognizant of the wider scope of branding
Your brand name and logo are important, but they only form the initial steps into your broader brand strategy. That means a lot of your branding budget should be reserved.
“Branding is essential as a basis for your identity and messaging,” says Marcus Franck of Smart Renewable Heat, “but the budget should be weighted in the direction of customer acquisition channels.”
For SMEs, this means not spending too much time on visuals and instead focus on those activities that will generate revenue for future brand development such as search engine marketing and social advertising.
6. Making the best investment
SMEs need a strong foundation to build upon; otherwise, they could end up overspending with branding agencies without a good return on investment, and find themselves in the red as a result.
With the right amount of preparation and understanding exactly what you need, you can build your dream brand without breaking the bank.