Your brand is your business’ look and personality. It is what attracts people to you and therefore essential to your success. Yet, many entrepreneurs tend to focus merely on perfecting their products or services, while believing that budget constraints would not allow for proper brand building. Big mistake! It’s like being okay with serving great quality wine in disposable cups. Few people want to taste something if it seems unappetising.

Nevertheless, we do appreciate the fact that budget is often a real bummer. However funds are not essential when it comes to branding – there are loads you can do on a shoestring! Here are a few suggestions:

Cast your lines online

We live in the twenty-first century – you absolutely need an online presence! And it does not have to be super pricey to establish yourself on the web. A Facebook page and other social media accounts (such as Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.) are great and free ways to start out. Moreover, a simple one-page website might suffice as an economical kick-off.

Contend with content

Quality content is key to your online branding endeavours. Blogs, photos, videos and other social media updates will familiarise people with your brand and expose them to your business. Moreover, regular content creation enhances your SEO, which makes you more visible online. Content updates often entail long-term, cost-effective marketing, since a single blog post can direct people to your website for years to come as it is shared and re-shared by the public on social media. The style of your content also aids in establishing your brand’s unique personality.

Put testimonials to the test

With so many voices on the web, word-of-mouth caught a new meaning. No need to ask our neighbour’s opinion on a business anymore – we now ask our cyber neighbours! So, encourage your clients to write testimonials on your website and social media platforms to boost your brand’s reputation and validity.

Impress the press

Let your newsworthy undertakings be seen in local papers – for free. Maybe you are doing something for the environment? Perhaps you are selling biscuits from a recipe that has been passed down in your family for ten generations? Find the glory in your story and pitch it to a journalist.

Make your network work

It takes a village to raise a child – and a brand! Your family, friends and other contacts could be incredibly helpful in promoting your brand. For example, expose them to your products and services and then encourage them to write online reviews or testimonials, like your Facebook page or inform their networks of your offers (maybe even with referral incentives). Put annoying Aunt Angie’s back-fence jabbering to good use for a change – it could be budget broadcasting at its best!

It’s smarter to partner

A great way to expose your brand is by hosting events: anything from a cheese and wine for potential clients of your accounting firm to a puppy show for dog owners who may buy from your dog food business. To save costs, partner with people with the same target market, yet not posing competition – e.g. the accounting firm can couple with a recruitment agency; the dog food merchants with the local vet. The same can be done with gifting: Send promotional gifts from a group of associating businesses.

Behave and save

Your company’s conduct is crucial to your brand. You shouldn’t simply have a great brand; you need to be a great brand. Take really good care of your customers and make sure your staff is trained to do the same. Your solid business ethos may just be your greatest (and least expensive) brand asset.

In other words, when you understand how to brand, it does not need to bruise your budget too badly. Remember: branding is crucial to corporate competence.

As a full-service agency, GAWK offers a wide range of corporate branding solutions. View our product and service range at www.gawk.co.za and keep in mind that we customise to meet your unique branding needs!