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5 ways small businesses can effectively communicate brand messages without big budgets

January 3, 2018

Branding tips for small businessesThe number of businesses in the UK is at a record high. It’s exciting the country is a fantastic place to start a business, but, it also means today’s business landscape is more competitive than ever before.

With lots of competition for customers it’s imperative you find ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace and set yourself apart from your competitors.

Creating strong brand messaging is one of best ways to get your product or business noticed. So how can smaller businesses do this effectively, without it costing too much?

1. Be jargon free

Some businesses assume buyers looking for a particular product are just like them. This can mean they’ll mistakenly expect a customer to understand technical language and the meaning of internal acronyms. However, it has been found the less technical consumer messaging the better.

With the above in mind, mastering clear concise language has never been so important. The first step to achieving this goal is to make yourself answer key questions about your product. How does it benefit your customer? What is its unique selling point?

The “elevator pitch” is a good test as it forces businesses to summarise their service in thirty seconds. Developing succinct answers and being able to summarise products concisely will mean you can clearly and quickly explain advantages to potential customers.

Make sure you discuss ideas with relevant external contacts too. Often, this provides additional insights to help work out if you’re speaking in an appealing way to someone outside your company.

2. Make connections

Brand velocity is crucial when it comes to fine-tuning your messaging. This is your ability to connect with consumers and share something that interests them in the present moment and moving forward.

A prime example is John Lewis’ annual Christmas advert. Each year it uses nostalgic scenes to take you back to childhood and play on your emotions. John Lewis is able to conjure up these feelings by focusing on commonly shared experiences many viewers can relate to.

Yes, this is a big company, but businesses are still able to tap into consumers’ emotions regardless of their size (and the lack of a seven-million-pound advertising budget!).

For example, a Facebook advert which uses a storytelling technique could spark the same emotional connection to your brand and cost a fraction of the price.

You could continue the story through more than one advert too, which encourages users to keep coming back to your website. You don’t need big budgets to do this – just a good imagination and well-crafted wording.

3. Find the Balance

Many companies assume digital is the way forward. However, Mimi An, a renowned market research analyst, found 81% of consumers say they’ve closed a browser because of a pop-up advert. Perhaps those digital-heavy organisations should rethink their strategy and give offline a little more thought too?

Old school marketing techniques are starting to make a comeback – so there isn’t a better time for small businesses to take advantage of these less complex and costly methods. Perhaps a combined online-offline strategy is the way forward, to get the best results?

Flyers can spread messages easily and display signs at relevant exhibitions or outside stores can grab consumers’ attention, without you having to spend the big bucks.

These methods are often less obtrusive and can tap into a buyer’s sub-conscious decision making, without them feeling like they’ve been ‘sold’ to.

Simple practices like these are more affordable than big, digital campaigns but can make just as much impact.

4. Colour marketing

A recent study on colour marketing found up to 90 percent of snap judgments made about products can be based on colour alone. Therefore, it plays a pivotal role in effectively communicating brand messages.

As well as influencing emotions, a well-selected colour palette can establish a smaller brand and give it deserved recognition.

A business colour palette should be made up of two main colours and one accent colour. If the right combination is created, consumers should start associating your business with those colours and the emotions they typically evoke in consumers.

Make sure you think carefully about colour choice though if you are choosing to take your brand abroad. Colours can mean very different things across the globe.

For example; in Peru, white is associated with good health, but in Korea and some other Asian countries, white represents death and bad luck. In China, the colour red symbolises luck, but in many Western, countries it represents danger.

5. Use the ‘Six-second rule’

On average, outdoor advertising will hold consumers’ attention for six seconds. With such a short timeframe, these signs need to make an impact.

A new measure is the six-second rule – exactly what it says on the tin. Six seconds to attract attention with a maximum of six punchy words.

Messaging should be straight to the point, but remember your signs aren’t to be made solely as a way of making sales. They are also to raise brand awareness and recognition, which should influence future buying decisions. So, keep things short and sweet and make sure your signs are eye-catching with colours that fit into your brand palette.

Building connections and inspiring a loyal customer base should be at the top of every company’s to-do list, regardless of its size.

Focusing your efforts on effective brand messaging will not only help you to build a loyal customer-base, if done correctly, it will also present a balanced view of your company, its values and enable customers to understand the benefits of your products and services.

About the author

This guide has been exclusively written for ByteStart by Tim Fuller, owner of Discount Displays, a UK-based display company based in Croydon, London.

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  • Leading Edge Design

    Really useful article, thanks; especially the point about taking brand colours abroad. In a different cultural context, things can look very different!