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5 Branding Tips That Can Make or Break Your Medium-Sized Business

If you’re running a medium-sized Australian business and you’ve made it to this point (that is, of turning a powerful idea into a thriving business) – first off, congratulations!

Secondly, I know you already know about branding. It’s highly likely that you’ve invested a lot into getting your business to the way it looks, feels and sounds right now.

So, let me guess why you’re here…

  1. You’re either worried about your brand (I’ve got you – read on) or
  2. You want some reassurance that you’re doing the right thing (I have that here too – just keep scrolling).
  3. It’s also possible that you just came across this article randomly (maybe someone sent it to you, bless their soul).

In the end, it doesn’t matter. You’re here!

So either way, let me share some company branding tips for building, maintaining and forwarding the journey of highly successful businesses, just like yours.

Read on to learn more.

Why should you bother with branding?!

You’re probably thinking: “Everything’s going well, my business is at the place where I wanted it to be. Why do I need to (re)check my branding?”

Good question! And I have a good answer too: this is a bit of a spoiler alert but, well, this “I’ve-made-it” stage doesn’t often last a long time.

As hard as you’ve worked on your branding (trust me, I know this – all this orange, vibrant branding didn’t happen overnight), growing a business doesn’t stop there. It also means constantly re-evaluating your foundations, branding included. In fact, it’s probably the most important of them all.

This means if you’re not thinking about your branding constantly, you’re being complacent – and we know what happens after that.

So, let’s start off by talking about the power of brands

Most of us easily acknowledge how important branding is in building a business.

More than just choosing the colours and the tone, we know that it’s the lasting image that we create in our customers’ minds.

Your brand positions you in the minds of your audience. You need to get the right, even as your business grows and time moves on. Never forget that.

All around us, there are amazing, good, so-so and poor brands.

It’s surprising to see how we can overlook bad brands and take branding for granted. I’m not even talking about poor graphic design or mismatched colours – because branding is so much more than that.

Just because a brand is pretty doesn’t mean it’s right.

Beyond the aesthetic function of a brand, its main purpose is to genuinely connect with your customers and position you effectively in the market.

At its core, branding NEEDS to be a whole package.

This is the point where you can ask, “What the heck do you mean by that, Chris?!”

What makes a good Australian brand?

Now, I get this question a lot, and the answer is always different. Because it’s largely dependent on your business goals, your customers and your industry.

In essence, a good, strong brand needs to exhibit the following:

✔ competency
✔ credibility
✔ creativity
✔ clarity
✔ consistency
✔ connectivity
✔ community
✔ customer-centricity
✔ consolidation
✔ championship

Yep, there are 10 Cs! If you’re curious about this, you can read this article: The 10 “Cs” of A Strong Brand.”

Greatness will look different for every brand across every industry, but the main goal is to make sure that:

  1. you can proudly share your brand with your customers and
  2. your customers can proudly associate themselves with your brand.

You can also check your brand by answering these questions:

  • Is your branding reflecting your company’s unique vision?
  • Is your brand at a place where you need it to be?
  • Is your business headed towards the direction you want it to go?

And lastly…

  • Is this what your customers are seeing, hearing and remembering?

Because as businesses grow and you bring in more people, you run into the danger of diluting that branding that you’ve worked so hard on when you started the business.

It happens to every business that scales.

But just remember – even in a good environment, the need to uphold and maintain your branding remains.

To help you protect your business from this risk, I’ve listed down some tips that can your medium-sized businesses maintain your branding at this crucial stage.

5 branding tips that can make or break your medium-sized business

Tip #1. Look at your competitors.

Starting off strong with the first tip, huh? It always helps to check who you’re up against.

Whether you see that your competitors are doing well or they’re doing poorly, this process will help you test the waters.

By looking at your competitors (and their brands), you can get a fresh perspective of both the industry and the customers. Doing this can either challenge you to do better or inspire you, knowing that you’re already doing great.

Because at this point, you already have a solid idea of your target market and ideal customers. You know:

✔ what your customers want
✔ what your customers DO NOT want
✔ and what drives them towards making buying decisions

(Actually, this makes Tip #1.1: Deeply understand the changing needs of your customers AND keep up with them.)

Say you have a café and your customers love your specialty coffee blends and the cosy atmosphere. Awesome!

Then there’s this competing brand: their coffee is not as good as yours but they’re just as popular as your brand. They attract a lot of customers because they have reusable cups with a minimalist design (which is their logo) that people carry around with them.

What does that tell you about your customers? What are they looking for?

It’s possible that they’re looking for more sustainable options and the other brand gave them that – which, in turn, gave the brand free marketing. It can be great to view what your customers like using a different lens since branding is NOT all about your business, it’s about how you fit into the larger scheme of things.

So, are you standing out or getting lost?

Tip #2: Make your brand easy to understand.

After looking at your competitors, the natural next step is now to look inward and consider what adjustments you can make to your brand.

Now with a fresh perspective, ask yourself if your brand is easy for your customers to understand.

Two quick tests:

  • Can people understand what you do within 8 seconds (that’s their average attention span)?
  • Can they remember you after seeing your marketing materials 7 times (there’s a marketing rule of 7)?

This applies to both your internal team and your audiences. As a thriving medium-sized business, it’s crucial to make sure that you are easily understood. At this point, you want to have clear and unique brand messages that clearly convey what you do.

How about another example?

 

If you have a tech platform that helps businesses streamline their onboarding and upskilling for employees, you want this to be as obvious as possible when you run advertising campaigns, otherwise, your customers will just skip your ads and forget about you.

Whether a stranger or a loyal customer encounters your brand in the wild, you want them to think: I understand this brand.

And you want this understanding to happen consistently – which leads me to my next tip…

Tip #3: Embrace omnichannel branding.

Let’s go back to the previous example.

Say you have perfected the ad and directed lots of traffic to your website. Good! Now, a HR Manager scrolls through your website and sees the benefits of the tech platform you promoted in your ad. Again, well done!

Then, the HR Manager asks her assistant to look you up on social media and she reports how active you are in sharing informative pieces about upskilling, onboarding and workplace technology. Now, they are big fans of your brand.

That’s what I mean by omnichannel branding: put your brand everywhere.

Wherever they see your brand, they get the same consistent images, messages and ultimately, experience. This allows you to be remembered, regardless of the saturated market.

But this doesn’t stop with your digital presence.

Following through and allowing your customers to experience your brand as they interact with you is also a great way of locking in loyal customers.

If they see professionalism on your online profiles, this is what you want to give them as they talk to you via email. If you highlight vibrant and high-spirited messages on your website, this is what you want them to feel during your initial chat.

As cliché as this gets: consistency is key – it’s the mark of a strong brand.

Tip #4: For authenticity, get your team involved.

If you built this Australian company from the ground up, then you live and breathe your brand. Right?

However, the same cannot be said for everyone you bring into the team.

Now that you have more people on your team, you’re not the only person that your customers will be interacting with. This means following tip #3 (no need to scroll up – it’s about consistency) may be a little tougher.

There’s still a way to achieve consistency (even and especially) as your business grows.

Say you have a very distinct brand – you use bright colours and have a vibrant tone (I may or may not be talking about something like Melotti Media), you want every interaction to reflect that energy.

You can ingrain that vibrant branding in your culture and DNA and make sure everyone shares the same values, purpose and vision. This way, you can ensure that every interaction with your brand (whether online or in-person) gives your customers the same impression.

A great brand reflects the collective values and culture of the organisation – BE THAT BRAND.

Tip #5: When in doubt, audit your brand.

You can always have a look at your brand to identify what’s working and what’s not. This doesn’t always mean changing anything: you can just give your brand a boost and amplify the best aspects.

The best time for a brand audit is any time.

This way, you can check if you are still as relevant to your customers as when you started the business. It’s also a great opportunity to find things you might have missed before.

It could be as simple as adding new design elements, adding some keywords to your website or catering your messaging to a target market that you’re just starting to explore.

You can do this with your team whenever you want (or feel the need to do so).

And if you need someone to check your brand in the wild and see how you’re doing, I can help with a once-off Brand Audit. Just let me know if you need some fresh eyes for your branding.

Basically, what I’m saying here is that company branding is not a one-time endeavour but an ongoing process that requires constant attention and adaptation.

It’s the linchpin that can either make or break your medium-sized business. With these branding tips, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the ever-changing business landscape and ensure your brand continues to thrive.

Without a brand, there is no business.

So, let your branding be noticed in the way it deserves.

For medium-sized Australian companies, making sure your branding reflects your key difference and resonates with your audiences is essential to maintain the trajectory of business.

However, you may find that you’re time-poor and spread thin or you still have a lot of unanswered questions.

You don’t need to worry. 

I can assist with brand audits and develop brand refresh strategies for you while you focus on what matters most to you – growing your business.

To speak to a trusted Message Marketing Strategist, Creative Consultant and Brand Comms Strategist, you can reach me at chris@melottimedia.com.au

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Top marketing strategist Sydney - Christopher Melotti