5 Simple Branding Tactics You Can Use
You don't have to be a branding strategy expert to build a strong brand! These 5 easy-to-implement branding tactics will help you build brand recognition and stand out in today's competitive landscape.
5 Essential Branding Tactics to Strengthen Your Small Business
- 1. Continuously Reinvent Your Visual and Brand Identity
- How Mastercard Created Effective Brand Recognition
- 2. Test and Document the Visual Concepts of Your Brand
- 3. Establish Who Your Target Audience Is
- 4. Engage and Reward Your Tribe
- 5. Using User Generated Content as a Marketing Strategy
- Why leveraging user generated is a powerful branding tactic
A small business has many challenges, including thinking about branding tactics. Whether it is how to stand out among thousands of competitors, or how to make your brand more engaging, there seem to be a hundred brand tactics to get right. It is natural for you to feel stretched in many directions
Branding is incredibly important for your small business. Making a good first impression through your customer communications, content marketing, and consistent message all go a long way in helping you succeed.
In order for your small business to stand out, stay fresh and address some of these challenges, we covered 5 evergreen branding tactics designed to help you attract more customers. These are time-tested marketing strategies that strengthen your brand personality and help you connect with your customers on a deeper level. Aside from these, we've also included some tactical marketing practices that are easy to implement.
In this article, we cover 5 simple and effective branding tactics you can put to use immediately.
5 Essential Branding Tactics to Strengthen Your Small Business
1. Continuously Reinvent Your Visual and Brand Identity
A logo can help your business in many ways – as an external catalyst, empowering your employees, and as a brand mascot. It is good to remember that it also presents you with a unique opportunity to showcase your business goals as well as your compatibility with a changing consumer landscape.
Updating your logo isn't the only brand strategy that can help your company stand out. If your branding is outdated or is no longer aligned with your company's target audience, consider doing a complete refresh of your visual branding. Small businesses can generate amazing energy and enthusiasm around their brand by making strategic enhancements to their visual identity, typography, color palette, video content, and more. This branding strategy helps you connect with a new group of potential customers and firmly establish your brand as a key industry player.
A third way you can update your brand strategy and build powerful brand recognition is by launching a targeted advertising campaign along with your branding tactics. Let's look at an example of a global company that combined brand strategy with targeted advertising:
How Mastercard Created Effective Brand Recognition
Mastercard is a great example of a brand that consistently reinvents its visual brand identity with its updated business goals and the evolving consumer landscape. A few years ago, they introduced a new brand identity that was modernized and in line with their futuristic vision. Then in 2019, the brand dropped the "mastercard" name from their logo so the logo could work seamlessly and in a flexible way across the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Source: Mastercard Site
As you can see with this brand strategy example, your branding update does not always have to be a full refresh. Sometimes, just a simple fix to make sure your logo is compatible across multiple devices is a great update. Remember to check in on a regular basis with your visual brand identity, such as your logo, and make sure it matches your business goals and the consumer landscape.
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2. Test and Document the Visual Concepts of Your Brand
You should put some thought into creating the visual elements of your brand but the key to getting it right is to keep testing and evolving. Optimize your visual branding until you find the right logo, fonts, colors, etc. that align your brand with your customers. You should document this in your style guide.
Firefox has clear guidelines about how their logo should and should not appear across platforms and backgrounds in their style guide.
Source: Mozilla Firefox Style Guide
In the future, when you want to update your visual branding to be in line with your business vision or the changing landscape of consumer tastes, this document will come in handy!
3. Establish Who Your Target Audience Is
As you're developing your branding tactics, have a core audience in mind that you want to reach. This will give you some focus. By establishing a core audience, you can start building your own tribe – people who like the products or services your business offers and may go on to become advocates in the future. Here are some key things you can do to find out who your target audience is.
・Conduct some research: start by delving into any data or analytics you have on hand. Site-side data (eg. Google Analytics) or social media performance data (eg. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram) could come in handy. Can you identify any specific behaviors the people engaging with your media, or existing users, are exhibiting?
・Identify the demographics and characteristics of your audience: age, gender breakdown, educational background, household income, and more of your ideal customer
You can hone in on users that have the potential to be your loyal tribe by identifying specific behaviors and characteristics that describe a unique segment in your audience.
Tesla has an unusual and winning approach to who it targets. Their ideal buyer is interested in technology, loves electric cars, and wants to save the world by lowering their carbon emissions. Tesla calls them its ‘musketeers’. These ‘musketeers’ pay deposits for a Tesla before the company has even created the car, that’s some serious brand loyalty! And Tesla has successfully established incredible brand value by discovering how to tap into that unique identity.
Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash
Finding the right ‘tribe' for your brand strategy may require some trial and error, but small businesses in every industry have the opportunity to tap into this focused group. Having a method to get customer feedback and making sure you monitor your social media for customer sentiment will allow you to find a customer base unique to your business.
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4. Engage and Reward Your Tribe
Once you define your core target audience, you can start cultivating your communication style and voice for this group of like-minded individuals. The goal here is to build relationships using targeted, emotional branding. And as you build your company's reputation around this group, it will become even easier to build loyalty with this group of loyal new customers.
This is your unique customer base, and you need to create marketing tactics and branding opportunities that allow you to communicate with these potential customers on a regular basis, in customized formats. Which channel(s) is your tribe most active in? For example, if you find that they love social media platforms like Instagram, can you create special hashtags or competitions to create buzz and keep the conversation going? Or use marketing tactics that rely on content marketing to help your brand build a strong reputation and positive image?
Finding the branding tactics that resonate with your customers is also important. You can use a test and learn method to get multiple messages out and see which one sticks with your tribe on a specific channel or social media platform, then go from there.
It's important you keep up the momentum in communicating with these valuable customers, because branding tactics work the best when they're used consistently. Share new updates with them and give them the chance to provide feedback. Use your social media channels effectively. Use all these methods to arm yourself with a system that can help reward your customers. By creating a reward scheme right up front, customers will stay with you on the journey.
Starbucks is the perfect example of an industry-recognized, customer-centric loyalty system. Not only does it reward their customers and ensure loyalty, it also offers them a huge amount of insight into their customer base.
Customers gain points by using the Starbucks app to make orders and payments. Starbucks rewards them with even more value by offering various perks such as birthday treats, games, and free refills.
Photo by David Hurley on Unsplash
It is important to make it easy for your loyal customer base to use any reward program. Starbucks has seen success with its customer loyalty program in part due to the usability of its app as well as the ease of payment using mobile. It's also noticeable that their visual materials remain consistent across their social media, website, and branding, so the customer feels it is just a part of their overall shopping experience with Starbucks.
Using the right branding tactics that appeal to your tribe not only gives you a loyal customer base but also gives you the chance to discover more about your own brand identity and evolve it along with your most valuable customers.
5. Using User Generated Content as a Marketing Strategy
Get creative and use content generated by your customers for your social media channels. When done right, this can give you interesting content to share, gets you more followers and helps get you out there in front of your customer’s followers by giving you word-of-mouth marketing. And it's one of our favorite brand tactics because you don't even need an advertising agency to unlock this valuable source of content marketing— your own customers create the marketing for you!
Why leveraging user generated is a powerful branding tactic
Your small business is only as strong as its brand reputation. And while you can help create a positive image for your business, your perception is largely up to your customers themselves. That's what makes user generated content marketing so powerful! When your customers repeat your brand message in their own video content, posts, graphics, and blogs, you earn positive brand value and wider exposure to your ideal audience.
While launching a user generated content marketing strategy is a great branding tactic, you must closely monitor the content your customers create. Ensure it matches your brand personality, portrays your small business in a positive light, and aligns with your core values. Content that does not act as a brand extension should be avoided to keep your branding clear and consistent.
## Example of user generated content done well
Here's an example of using user generated content as a branding tactic: The furniture store, Wayfair, lets their customers enjoy and showcase their own Wayfair products and their creativity skills. Consumers take pictures of their setup at home featuring Wayfair products and then post them using the hashtag #WayfairAtHome. People share their best images and a lot of users comment asking for details on the product. Wayfair reposts the best images with links to their site, providing free unlimited value for their audience. Now, customers associate Wayfair with style, affordability, and accessibility— three traits that align with the company's main marketing goals.
Source: Wayfair website
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These branding tactics are easy to implement and will help you gain more insight about your customers as well as your brand identity. They don’t replace a rigorous exercise in defining your brand identity and evolving it. But they are great ways to gain learnings at a fast pace. The key to succeeding with these branding tactics is to make sure you learn through trial and error. Experiment. Learn. Revise. Then repeat!
Featured Image - Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash