Branding: How to Make Your Small Brand Look Big

Quad City Agency Brand Building

Make Your First Brand Impression Count

No one ever expects their idea to fail. Every idea for a new brand or business is a million dollar idea, right? Potentially this can certainly be true. In most cases, failure is as likely to be the fault of poor execution as bad ideas. This happens for a variety of reasons but you can generally attribute the cause to some variation on the theme that people don’t generally plan for success. Basically, they think big but they act small. Even if that’s the only flaw in their plan it will generally prove to be a fatal one.

Well Begun Is Half Done

This is not to suggest that every startup company or brand requires a million dollar investment right out of the gate.  It is necessary, though, to make your startup brand look like a million bucks. And yes, it is possible to look like a seven figure brand when only spending in the four or five figure range. You can’t go cheap but you can be frugal and still be perceived as high quality provided you invest your time and money wisely in the right areas.

What’s The Bare Minimum?

The most important component is not spending but planning. It’s essential to build a solid foundation, even if it’s a modest one, which looks professional and is scalable to grow with your ability to invest. Here’s the advice we usually give our clients that want to get a big brand feel with a modest budget.

  • Get your Brand Strategy right. Spend the time and, if necessary, money to properly define your brand strategy. This is the document that will provide the direction and discipline for everything you do moving forward.
  • Choose a Viable Brand Position.
  • Get a professional design. Your niece that’s pretty good with Photoshop is not the solution here. How much you need done here depends on your product or service but pay for a professional logo, design, etc. Find a modest sized agency and you don’t need to break the bank.
  • Develop a professional web presence. This means a real website (not a build it yourself job) and a plan for internet marketing. And make sure it’s built so you can make changes yourself so you don’t need to pay someone $100 an hour to update a page. A simple Content Management System also doesn’t need to be cost prohibitive if you find a modest sized agency.
  • Implement a media plan from the start. Again, this doesn’t have to be a big budget campaign. With options like social media and targeted web advertising you may not even need to spend money as much as time. You need to get in the game, though, and right away.
  • Invest more as soon as you can. A growing brand gets hungry so be ready to feed it more as your resources grow. You want to maintain momentum once you have it because it can disappear quickly if you don’t.

Perception Becomes Reality

The phrase “Perception is Reality” is a cliché for a reason. People will judge you based on how you look and that judgment will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you want to be a big brand, the best way to make it happen is to think, plan and market like one right out of the gate.  If your plan is to wait until you have a big brand to start acting like one, plan on waiting a long time.

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Article written by John Howard

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John is the founder and President of Frontera Marketing Group. A graduate of the University of Iowa, John had more than 20 years of professional experience in Sales and Marketing prior to founding FMG. His corporate background included a number of companies, industries and roles including National Account Manager, Product Manager, Brand Manager, Director of Trade Marketing, Director of Marketing and Vice-President of Marketing.

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