Do you really need a brand?
If you want sustainable growth in your business and if you want to earn more than what you do today, you must develop a brand identity for you or your business. There is no alternative to this proposition.
At this point, many business owners will step back saying that branding means advertising and thus it would require huge investment. This is a very common situation as a beginner: The business owner do not have much idea about the actual rate of advertising in different media.
What is the basic relationship between advertisement and branding?
For effective branding of your product or company, you must hit the target market with your brand identity, repeatedly. You must make sure that they remember your face (business face) at least when they need you the most. Thus, to achieve this, marketers use advertisement in different formats, such as audio, audio visual or only visual.
Does it mean that you need to invest a huge amount of money in advertising?
It is not necessarily so. To put it simply, advertising cost depends on the size of your target market and the best medium to reach them. You do not necessarily need to invest in expensive billboards or in a full-page newspaper advertisement to reach the target market.
You can easily find some alternatives to reach it. For example, think about branded office stationary gifts, email advertising, mobile advertising or even social media networking. If you think, you can also use your existing subscribers or clients to promote your business and your brand. For example, think about shopping bags and packaging. These advertising media will cost much less than traditional advertisement and may prove more effective if you can use them properly.
Branding is all about giving a relevant face to your business. More importantly, if you do not add a face to your business, the target market will soon develop one for you and you will have almost nothing to do about that. Once an impression is created, it is very tough to replace it with a new one. Thus, you need to consider developing a brand image from the very first day of launching your product.
How to do that?
The first thing you need to do is to create a diagram or flow chart of how you want your product to be perceived by the target market. At the same time, you need to find out other elements like your target market, where they live, how they want your product to be, how your product is different from your competitors'.
You will also need to find out the best way to reach the target market - evaluate different options such as radio or TV advertisement, POS advertisement, newspaper or magazine advertisement, email advertisement etc.
Once you have developed a flow chart of what you want or how you want to develop your brand, draft a branding strategy accordingly. For example, develop an appropriate logo, color scheme (maintain the same color scheme across the product), a tag line to attract your target market etc.
Do not forget to evaluate how people perceive your brand.