Brand Development 101: How to Build a Brand On a Budget

brand development build branding awareness budget

Companies of all shapes and sizes rely on branding to set themselves apart from the crowd.

In this day and age, they have more options than before. They are able to engage customers frequently and directly, using a growing variety of channels. The tricky thing is related to budget limitations: how do you rise above without breaking the bank?   

Well, in the wake of the digital revolution, the marketing landscape has been leveled.

New platforms are much more cost-effective than TV ads and other traditional media staples. They are part of a new wave of creative and innovative brand development.  It’s all still a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to squeeze you too hard.

So, get ready to play it smart. Here is how to set up a powerful, yet budget-conscious strategy.


Brand Development from the Ground up

Small and medium business owners cannot hope to match corporate rates of spending.

But, the good news is that it’s possible to engage in branding even on a shoestring budget. You can save a lot of money on overheads even when starting from scratch.

The ultimate goal is always the same— connecting with the audience on a deeper level. To make it happen, you have to make educated decisions, capture the essence of your appeal, and emphasize what makes you different. 

First off, take your time in the planning and strategizing stage. It lays the foundations for everything you will do down the line. The main priority is to get to know yourself and your audience.

Dig into data and discover your customers' wants, needs, preferences, and habits. These data points must guide your branding strategy moving forward. You can use the concept of buyer personas to give your organization a resonating voice and identity.

In addition, think about your inception, history, and reasons for entering the business world. After careful deliberation, develop a killer value proposition.


A Matter of Visual Identity

Visual identity is the mainstay of your brand-building efforts.

At the very least, you need a professional-looking company logo and variant designs. Crafting them requires some graphic design skills and know-how.

You can outsource the creative work to freelancers or digital design agencies. Of course, you want to stick to reputable organizations or individuals with a proven track record. Check out this website to see what we are talking about.

In general, the strategy of hiring external experts is cheaper than having an in-house team on the payroll. But, there’s an alternative as well.  

You can leverage free and affordable tools and templates yourself. Most of them are beginner-friendly and involve a minimal learning curve. Take the example of modern logo design makers, which enable you to produce a solution easily.

Once you design a logo and other visual hallmarks, replicate them everywhere: business cards, email signatures, employee uniforms, stationery, etc. Consistent aesthetics are your chance to come across as a true brand that's worth people’s attention and money.


Gaining a Foothold in Social Media

You have to select your marketing channels wisely.

Social media is a no-brainer. It’s a platform with global reach and setting up profiles comes for free.

You should avoid aiming for all major networks, as it would force you to spread your resources too thin. Instead, do market research and figure out where most of your target customers spend their time.

Once that is sorted out, populate your profiles.

Upload a high-quality profile and cover photo. Make sure the color palette matches the rest of your brand collateral. Provide a detailed description of who you are and what you do.

Display your contact information so that people can reach out to you fuss-free. Preferably, via more than one channel. 

Lastly, use content to show off your unique personality. Post photos of your employees going about their daily business. Shed some light on your office life and other business activities.

Remember to always include some visual splendor in your posts. It’s a real magnet for shares, likes, retweets, etc. 


Driving Traffic and Engagement

Despite what some people claim, you don’t have to (over) pay for online traffic.

There are other smart ways to boost your exposure.

For instance, you can enhance your Twitter presence by making the most of hashtags. Using them before key phrases elevates your brand visibility in respective categories.

Likewise, it pays off to take part in industry-related conversations. To pinpoint them and mentions of your brand, use social media listening and analytics tools.

Along similar lines, respond to follower comments and questions promptly. Use your profiles as customer service platforms and you will foster satisfaction and loyalty.

Connect with influencers to “borrow” some of their reach and influence. Ideally, you'll find thought leaders, celebrities, and experts that are relevant to your niche and target groups.

It’s a good idea to prioritize micro-influencers because they cater to smaller, specialized audiences.

Encourage your followers to submit their photos, videos, stories, etc. You will get user-generated content for free and your audience will feel like a true part of your mission. It’s a win-win.

Another trick is to refurbish your old content and repost it. As long as it’s interesting to your audience, it can help you in the long-term.  

There's nothing wrong with occasional repetition, as it breeds familiarity and loyalty.


Make a Name for Yourself

Beyond social media, there are some other avenues to explore.

Content marketing is a major tactic associated with great long-term benefits. Setting up a blog or business website might be even better than social media deployment. And doing it via systems like WordPress isn’t time-consuming or expensive.

The basic idea behind the content is simple. You add value to people’s lives with your entertaining, educative, and useful posts. Moreover, you try to upload content on a regular basis to expand the readership base.

Lastly, we have to underline some great branding opportunities exist in the real world. You can attend business and community events in your area. Or, you find other non-competitive local businesses and strike partnerships with them.

The list of possibilities goes on. Feel free to write for magazines, as well as news and opinion outlets. These are stepping stones to establishing yourself as a reliable source of information, and a niche expert.

Finally, sponsor local teams, charities, and causes. Generate some goodwill in the community— it goes a long way toward giving you an edge over other organizations. It projects a positive brand image and allows you to stay on top of the consumer’ mind.


On Top of the Game

Today, brand development isn’t as cumbersome and resource-sapping process as it used to be.

Many small businesses have managed to break out with smart resource allocation. Start by determining how you want others to perceive you and discover what motivates them.

Tap into the wealth of online resources, tools, and services to cut the spending down. Take advantage of social media and other digital channels to disseminate messages.  Draw people in using visual storytelling and great content.  

Try to become a trusted authority in your field. Seize local opportunities to spread awareness and recognition. Create a delightful experience and put the best face forward.

Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer, Guest Posts, & Blog Outreach Services