Branding your business starts with an honest look at who you are what you’re looking to accomplish. If you’re a Saas company looking to scale and sell your business, you’re looking for a brand that speaks the part of being “buyable.” People forget that branding your business doesn’t depend just on who you are, but who your customer is and will be as you scale.
If the last few statements left you in a bit of confusion on how to brand your business, never fear, because the branding concept you’ll learn in this article will clear up many of the questions you might have.
Some of you will have the idea in your head that hiring a branding agency or investing in specific branding tools is the best way to go. These are not bad ways to go, but it depends on your ability to turn a profit. If money is coming in, then, by all means, hire a branding agency. If your profits are marginal, think about adding some tools to your branding strategy this quarter to give your business a little extra steam.
However, if you’re still stuck-in-the-mud of trying to turn a profit, you might want to consider simplifying your business and checking out this article, Easy 4-step Approach to Build an Online Business in 2018.
What is Branding?
A typical branding definition goes something like this …
A combination of your business’ name, logo, images, web copy, etc. However, I believe a holistic approach to answering the question, “what is branding?” is much more appropriate to capture the essence of what it truly is and how a business can benefit from crafting perfect branding messages.
The first thing I like to think about is a branding concept I call, “baseline branding.” This is the absolute necessary level of branding your business needs in order to sell your products to your target audience. As you will see in this article, the level of branding you need varies based upon who you are selling your products to.
In some cases, standard branding concepts may work wonders for big-box retailers or niche eCommerce stores, but with products that require a great deal of time to explain, like some Saas and Technology companies, your branding and messaging becomes essential to draw attention to your brand. This article aims to help you develop the kind of brand your business deserves to scale to critical mass.
Types of brand marketing
There a many types of brand marketing and strategies that a company can employ. If you have the funds, instead of guessing and checking which strategy works best for you, considering hiring a brand marketing strategist.
If not consider what you have already. You probably have a website and maybe some decent traffic to go along with it. You also probably have a few social media accounts. Which of these platforms are most conducive with your brand. If you’re already active on, lets say Facebook and Instagram, you can build your brand nicely using those two platforms alone.
Branding effectively is not about “being everywhere.” Yes, you should have a profile on each platform, and have some presence on them, but if you’re a small team or in a niche market, being “active” on every major platform is far from a must. Instead, employ this brand marketing strategy …
Focus on posting to one or two social platform every day. It doesn’t take a massive amount of content to create a community. It takes a good product and a solid strategy to get clients to see what you have.
Two basic branding strategies
One of the branding concepts I allows encourage my customers to use is the “freebie.” It’s always a good idea to include a free version of your platform with some great functions. Yes, not all of your clients will use your paid services, but if your freebie is worthwhile the free clients will let everyone they know about it. That’s better than organic SEO or striking gold with a PPC ad, because if they use your product, you can entice them to buy your paid products every time they use it.
Another great branding tool is the use of an influencer. If you’re already using YouTube to make videos or Instagram to post images and possibly sell your products, an influencer could be the best way to get your product into the hands of the masses almost instantly.
How to start a brand
Ok, here are some tips to starting your brand today.
The first think you need to understand about how to brand your business is knowing your target audience. You need to know the products they buy, what they think of those products, what they do, how much money they make, and much more. You can’t stop at the basics, you need to make sure you’re hitting all the bases and learning all the pain points.
After you know everything you can find out about your target audience, you need to start employing some basic branding concepts, like color schemes, logo design, and image selection.
Based on the target market research you can select your colors, create you logo, and attach images to your social posts, print ads, and web pages. The more the better these days. Don’t believe me, read this article on how video marketing is not the future, it’s here and going to stay for a long time. After reading that, you should know that video branding is better than any other kind.
One great way to add video branding material to your business is an explainer video. Proving that all explainer videos don’t have to animated, check out this explainer video from Nomatic…
This video shows many great branding concepts. It’s simple and does a much better job of explaining what the product does than a blog or brochure. When you see how much stuff can go into one backpack and still make it through carry-on restrictions for airlines, you see how it’s not just for minimalist backpackers. The video expands the market despite being named just for “nomads.” This is why I like to have a more holistic approach to branding.
Non-obvious branding materials are not just in print
Part of having good branding includes having marketing tools and materials that allow you to showcase your company in a variety of different ways. Each of these below are not a typical branding material, but the more varieties of content you add to your brand the more power your brand has to reach people on all mediums whenever they have the desire to understand what you have.
What I want you to think about with this blog is how to build your “collective” brand with these branding tools…
- Animated sequences
- Custom graphics
- Flow charts
- Case studies
- Online classes
- Reddit and Twitter AMAs
Branding of a product is similar to branding a business but simpler. Look at the companies that have the strongest brands in the business. Nike always seems to have something special, right? Even though their products rarely take giant leaps, they seem to find ways to repackage and redesign what they’ve been selling for decades.
Their general premise seems to hire a top-tier influencer that has the eyes and ears of their target audience corresponding to the product they want to sell. Simple enough, right? Of course, you know that sometimes to get a basketball player to represent your shoe it might take over $100 million. The days of billionaire athletes are coming, and it’s the endorsements that get them there.
Social media content
The real trick of hiring influencers to market your products is the social proof that comes with it. What does Lebron James and Serena Williams really have in common with the average man or woman? These large firms do a great job making it seem like they have everything in common with average people and that is why they do well.
Maybe your business doesn’t have the clout or the cash to attract Lebron James, but today with influencer marketing on social media, you can create your own little tribe that yields large sums of money.
The power of social proof
With social media articles, Instagram stories, YouTube videos, and much more, any company can carve out their own piece of the pie with a little social proof.
If you’re unfamiliar with social proof examples, like Glassdoor reviews, Google or Yahoo reviews, Yelp, and Trust-pilot, then you haven’t been paying attention. If you’re a local business and recently noticed that your ranking has decreased. It could be because you’re not encouraging your customers to leave reviews on Google.
Yes, the way your customers think about your business now either helps or hurts your ability to be seen on the internet.
What this does is completely change how businesses interact with their customers after a service has been provided. Including your employees asking customers to leave a review on Google or Yelp is essential to staying relevant on search engines. The reviews need to be thoughtful and have the names of the employees that helped you. The more specific the better. Not only will customers read them and feel more comfortable with the business, but they will surely pick you over your competition if their reviews are worse.
More on business reviews and social proof
Branding combined with social proof are two of the most important parts of any sales funnel. Think about the last time you bought a product online. It’s easy to find out who has the best product if you look.
If you’re looking products with good social proof examples, just look at companies that embed trust pilot and Google reviews on their website.
If you’re looking to embed reviews on your website, check out this screenshot from CWS and click the link.
Should you hire a brand marketing strategist?
It’s honest questions to ask yourself, “should I hire a branding agency?” It’s obvious to say that a branding portfolio is necessary, but how do you decide whether or not that company is right for you.
Not all branding agencies will have direct experience with your specific industry, right? It’s possible if you’re in Saas or technology and are looking for a branding agency in Los Angeles or San Francisco, your branding agency could have worked with other similar businesses and had success, but odds are you might be unique to them.
If they have experience then great, but if they don’t what do you base your decision upon. Your gut? I’m not a huge fan of doing that, but sometimes its required.
In this case, what I look for is in their ability to design a business process, branding portfolio (logos, business cards, websites, ads, etc.), and the quality of the designs they create. Look for the ability to sidestep what the rest of the market is looking for. I also look for personalized customer service and great graphic designs.
A quick word on personalized customer service. If you choose a company that is too big for your brand, meaning your account doesn’t represent enough of their bottom line to warrant their full attention. This is tough to gauge sometimes, but this is why being present in your industry and communicating with your business “peers” is so important. They might have insight into which companies fit your current state.
For more information on this subject, click the link here and learn more about branding your business and brand loyalty.