4 Simple Brand Creation Steps to Improve Customer Engagement and Brand Recognition During Lockdown
Running a business is a serious, yet exciting adventure. You’re never quite sure what to expect, but you can be certain that few people planned on a government lockdown happening. In this article, we’ve collected some simple steps for SME’s to continue their brand creation and management from home:
- What is brand creation?
- The lockdown impact
- 4 steps to lockdown brand creation
It won’t be easy, but brand creation takes time, so if you’re looking for some tips on how to develop a brand, let’s get started.
What is brand creation?
Brand creation is deciding what and how you want your business to be perceived, then taking steps to try and make that perception a reality.
It’s essentially the start of your business. It’s forming a brand identity alongside your business logo creation. It’s developing your brand positioning, business promise, and story. It’s deciding everything you want your business to be and figuring out how to get your customers to see you that way.
But it can’t be done quickly. The brand creation process takes time and consideration as you carefully build your brand and cultivate your reputation over.
The lockdown impact
On 23rd March 2020, the UK went into lockdown. According to an ONS survey, 24% of businesses have temporarily ceased trading and a number have permanently closed since then. Of those that have remained open in some way, 57% have reported a decrease in turnover.
It’s hard out there for everyone, even with the government schemes in place to help. But COVID-19 doesn’t have to mean the end of your business. There are plenty of ways you can continue brand building in a recession. A lot of non-essential businesses have turned to online shopping and e-commerce. Newer SME’s should be in on the action as well to help mitigate the impact of the lockdown on their fragile businesses. If you’re new to the scene and your budget is limited, there are low-cost things you can do to continue your brand creation and development in the interim.
4 steps to lockdown brand creation
- Get online
If you haven’t already, create a website. Even a simple one made using a template or drag and drop Content Management System (CMS) is better than no online presence at all. A website allows you to feature any products you have that can be delivered, it can host useful blogs and content marketing that may interest your customer base, and gives your customers a clear vision of what your brand is. It’s the easiest way to introduce and reinforce your brand identity and position with your customers.
The associated costs are pretty minimal too. If you’re DIY-designing it, you’ll just need time and to pay for a domain name and any hosting costs. For example, the WordPress business package costs just £20 per month, but you’ll need to do the legwork yourself. If you want something more bespoke, you’ll need help from a web developer. It will cost more, but there are a lot of agencies and digital marketing companies offering affordable help to SME’s during this time.
- Back up with social media marketing
Nearly half the world’s population is on social media. That’s 3.5 billion people. And according to the same research, 54% of those social browsers use it to find new products, look at reviews, and to gain recommendations. So really, having social media accounts is a necessity.
This is especially true for those in the midst of brand creation and marketing plans. For example, did you know that 71% of consumers who have interacted and had a positive experience with a brand online are more likely to recommend them? That’s huge. So, get set up on the platforms most appropriate for your business and start connecting with your customers and similar brands. Chat with them about the industry, engage with them on trending topics, and share your website and products with them to build those important positive interactions until you can see them face-to-face.
- Don’t make it all about the products
If your product can’t be sold online or your services are temporarily on pause, you should still stay active online and on social media. A lot of companies who relied on their physical locations prior to the lockdown have turned to entertaining and engaging their customers in other ways. Restaurants are releasing colouring sheets on social media for kids, high fashion brands are having virtual dance parties on video conferencing systems, pubs are hosting virtual quizzes, and more. They’re trying to stay front of mind.
Depending on how you want your brand to be perceived, communication outside of the norm could generate more customer engagement with your brand when you can’t fulfil a service or need. The key is to keep communicating, even if it’s not about your business. This builds trust and helps create positive perceptions about your brand. Whatever you do, don’t go silent – it could be the reason you’re left behind.
- Reinforce your identity
Once you’ve got some conversations going and you’ve got some sales, consider how you can bring some of your branding to the actual product delivery. For example, if you’re delivering an item yourself (contact-free, of course), you could wear business-branded clothing. If you’re using a delivery service, think about branding the packaging with a custom-made business logo stamp. Even with your order confirmations and digital delivery, personalise with your logo to further the brand creation process.
Everything you do now will impact your life after lockdown. And for new businesses in particular this is a make or break time. So be proactive. Make the most of the time you have to cultivate customer relationships, improve your online presence, and reinforce your brand identity. You’re never really done with your brand creation and development, so think of this lockdown as an opportunity to make strides at every possible customer touchpoint.
By Deborah Woodliffe, Affinity Agency