Hopefully, your business will one day command a huge advertising budget, tasking hordes of Don Draper-types to scurry around and devise knockout marketing strategies for you.
Unfortunately, the start-up phase doesn’t allow for such largesse. Big brands often get it horribly wrong anyway, as evidenced by Qantas’ recent Twitter giveaway debacle.
Handling your own marketing is a useful exercise in the early days of your business – and not only because of the cost savings. It allows you to think critically about what your business is, what it stands for and who it appeals to.
Heavier, and more sophisticated, marketing investment will be needed if your venture is to grow. But it is possible for you to put in place the central planks yourself at the start.
With this in mind, Anthony Perl, founder of communications and marketing agency CommTogether, has devised five essential tips to help you start your marketing the DIY way.
1. Choose a name carefully
It is hard to find the perfect name for a brand. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is an easy part of the process.
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There are agencies that specialise in this and businesses can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to get this right.
There is a definite science to choosing a name which includes market research. A name needs to reflect the type of business you are establishing both in respect of what you do and how you do it.
For example, Rose Petal would not be a good name for a business hiring out rubbish skips. Rose Petal does not exactly scream rubbish or offer obvious appeal to people who will be doing hard labour to fill it.
The only time when it is okay to use your name as part of the brand is when you are either a celebrity or you have no real intention of marketing yourself other than to people who already know you (ie. your established network or your local community where you can talk to people directly).
2. Your brand should say who you are
It may seem obvious, but far too often I see brands that say nothing about the organisation.
If you don’t have a massive advertising budget to put behind your brand, then your branding needs to do all the work.
The name combined with the logo (which make up the foundation for your brand) should give people an immediate sense of not only what the business is about, but the market you are targeting (see tip four).
Have a symbol that reflects where you want the business to sit. Don’t use pink if you are appealing to a male market.
If you are one of many businesses in a line of work then you want the symbol to stand out for the right reasons.
Try to incorporate ideas about the image you want to project into your symbol. If environmental issues are significant to your business and you don’t want to use “eco” in the branding, then you can use green or something in the symbol that reflects “green friendly”.
3. A strap-line can add value to your branding
A strap-line is usually made up of three or four words that appear under your name and symbol, designed to add further clarity to your brand and/or give it an edge to make it more memorable.
Even big brands need to add clarity to their brand so that you not only know what type of business it is, but what gives them an edge.
For example, Woolworths’ strap-line is “Fresh food people”. It tells you what kind of product you get and that you are going to deal with someone real when you visit their store.
It makes you feel good about shopping there. On the other hand, Nike uses “Just do it”. The strap-line gives you a sense of getting on with it and that you deserve to use their products, while also relating back to the nature of their business being sporty.
If your business does not have the advertising budget anywhere near these two brands, the clever use of strap-lines is even more critical.
4. Know your target audience and appeal to them
The messages you send, not just in the branding but in all your marketing materials (brochures, website, social media, ads, uniforms, signage, etc) should always have your target audience in mind.
The first step is to identify the audience for your business. If you are running a landscaping business, then your audience is not going to be under 30.
If you do high-end designs, then your audience is going to be in affluent areas. Once you know who your audience is, you need to think about what will appeal to them and make them happy to visit your business.
Use language in your materials that will speak to this audience. Going with the landscape example, it would not be wise to have a brochure with a headline like “Fully sick cheap gardens”.
Always put yourself in the mind of your target audience and engage with them. That means listening as well as talking to them so you can continue to develop your business and the market.
5. Be able to define your business quickly and consistently
In all your materials, you want to have a clear definition of your business that you use consistently, whether it is in published materials or when you or your staff meet someone face-to-face and they ask what you do.
A definition is a chance to elaborate on your brand. It positions you in the market.
For example, going back to the landscaper example, here is a suggested definition: “We are leaders in landscape architecture delivering unique gardens that offer form and practical functionality to properties who want to make an individual statement to reflect their environment.”
That sort of definition speaks to someone who has probably paid a lot for their property and wants a garden that they can show off to family and friends.