While the pandemic has caused universal uncertainty, it’s periods of adversity that often foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Increasing numbers of Australians once content with their 9-5 jobs have used the pandemic as an opportunity to launch side hustles and small businesses. Those dipping a toe into the world of the side hustle or sole tradership have been embraced with open arms by the service-led economy. In fact, a recent Airtasker study found an increased demand for crowd-sourced services such as general business and administration (48%), social media support (45%) and marketing and even surveys and internet research (145%).
Despite the tools and communities available for side-hustlers to tap into, building a business is no small feat. Without the background or experience, launching a brand can be a minefield, but building a brand without experience is not impossible. With these five simple tips, any novice entrepreneur can build brand awareness and authority for their new business.
- Make your logo work for you
A logo is one of the most important branding decisions you’ll make when founding a business, so it’s important to ensure your logo works for you.
Selecting the right logo colour is not simply about creating an aesthetically pleasing palette, but rather selecting a colour that has the power to positively influence your audience. Colour can actually provoke a physical reaction from your audience, so choose them wisely.
Say you are launching an organic health food brand, choosing an earthy colour like green would work best for your business as the colour green is represented in nature, conjuring feelings of refreshment, renewal and life. Whereas if you were launching a new fast food restaurant, red and yellow are proven to bolster appetite. This is why companies such as McDonald’s and Hungry Jacks use red and yellow in their logos.
Understanding these subtle contributors to success will eliminate silly mistakes and help you get the most from your logo.
- Stand outfrom competitors
Most Aussies are launching a business into an already saturated market, so building a stand-out brand is essential. One of the most simple yet powerful tactics is to get to know your customers by utilising targeted market research. Once you’ve achieved this step, colours, tone, name, store location, promotion method etc. will all become clearer as you know who you are speaking to.
One Aussie business doing this right is beauty brand, Mecca. It has knocked out the competition by understanding its customer base and communicating with them effectively through personalisation, loyalty reward programs and establishing an easily recognised company tone of voice, coining terms like “meccamazing”. Excluding international French giant, Sephora, Mecca has very few direct competitors, particularly in the local Australian market, with customers knowing they can trust the brand to understand and anticipate their needs.
Once you’ve identified who you want to target, market research is a great way to understand your customer. Market research helps gather information on your target market and understand who they are, what drives them and how to market your business to them. For any business looking to gain a competitive edge, market
research, such as focus groups or omnibus surveys, should definitely be front and centre of the business strategy.
- Ensure brand cohesion across platforms
When developing branding, it is crucial to generate a seamless flow across all platforms associated with your business. This not only includes your logo and company colours but also your overall brand tone and company ethos.
Branding is the essence of your company, ensuring cohesion across your website, social media and marketing materials will help customers recognise and connect with your brand. Try implementing a brand messaging folder that includes company templates, colour specifications, font, writing style and tone, example content pieces to demonstrate tone and sample images. This not only helps you remain consistent but can also help onboard new employees as you expand.
To ensure consistency in tone, consider defining your brand persona and modelling your communication based on that persona so content flows smoothly across platforms and creates an easy reading experience for customers.
- Use branding to enhance the customer experience
While understanding your customers is crucial for successful communication, ensuring your interaction with customers is positive, on all touchpoints, is something that can make or break any new business. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of referral and can help spread awareness for your brand at zero cost. While person-to-person customer service is important, as we enter into an increasingly digital world, business owners must find innovative ways to enhance the customer experience online.
Utilising branding techniques such as personalisation and loyalty programs are great tactics to foster customer connection. To do this, you need to go beyond simply having a good product and delve deeper into the subtle psychological triggers that foster connection, loyalty and trust.
Luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton do an amazing job of fostering connections with shoppers. Customers receive personalised text messages from the sales assistant who served them thanking the customer for shopping with a bespoke message based on the customer interaction and product. This personalised approach to customer service makes a customer feel connected to the brand, encourages a positive experience and makes them more likely to return for another purchase.
To replicate this on a smaller scale, try to integrate subtle personalisation tactics such as noting down customers’ names with a few key details about them or their previous purchase to make them feel cared for and important in future interactions.
- Leverage industry mentors
Side hustlers and small business owners are already wearing many hats and don’t have the time or resources to become experts in all of their focus areas. This is why turning to industry experts could give you a real leg up. Connecting with a mentor in your field is a surefire way to advance your progress and increase your chances of success, as they can give you an all-access pass inside the depths, trials and tribulations of an industry.
Not only can a mentor provide tips on where to invest or save money and can help shed light on the nuances of the role not evident to someone outside the industry, but they can also help expand your network by connecting you with their contacts. This can prove invaluable when starting out in a new industry.
If you can’t find a mentor due to limited resources or time constraints, identifying a role model online can be a great alternative. Influencers or industry role models are typically active on social media, contributing commentary and appearing in interviews – all of which provide a great opportunity to take in their years of experience in just a few minutes.
Launching a side hustle in an unfamiliar industry may seem daunting but after employing these five simple branding hacks, even the most novice entrepreneurs can launch a successful startup and connect with customers through branding.
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