Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Branding and marketing are by far the most neglected part of a business plan, and when asked why, entrepreneurs give a shrug and say they have a social media presence. Having a social media presence is great, but if you are seeking to build a memorable and impactful brand for your product or service for your target audience, you need a little more. Here are three essentials things you need to keep in mind next time you sit down with your business plan and your budget.
You don't have to be an expert at everything.
As an entrepreneur, you're caught between building out the operations of your business or trying to get your supply and demand just right. It's okay to look for a marketing expert to help you! Sometimes you'll find that bartering services can keep money in your pocket and bring so much value to your brand. A pro-tip is finding someone in an MBA program focused on marketing. They typically have now been in the workforce and have completed internships and done several case studies. They will help your brand for free to gain more experience, especially if your product or service falls into the industry they want to break into.
An Instagram page isn't a marketing plan.
Whether it's the next luxurious lash line or creating simplified ways to bring hairstylists to clients, the biggest mistake is just starting a business page and stopping there. It's critical for the longevity of your brand that you are spending a bit more time on your marketing plan. Then research your customer and define your target market. By truly defining your personas and doing analyses to see who your direct competitors are, you'll have a competitive edge. Remember, you don't have to do this all on your own, get that marketing help.
A branding guide is your holy grail.
As important as your marketing plan is, the branding guide holds the very look and feel of your business together. From the logo, you decide to use, to which imagery you're using on social and your website––it all needs to be in sync. Customers remember their favorite brands not because of the actual product or service but because of the brand experience. A powerful example of this is Nike. They never sell their products. They sell a brand experience. And because of their effortless branding from the logo to the "Just Do It" tag line, you buy because of established brand trust.
As you scale your business, remember that your idea is likely in the marketplace, the ultimate question is, what are you doing to differentiate yourself? The key is to start thinking about marketing a bit differently and seek assistance.
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