The life of a business owner seems glamorous. You get to make your own hours, be your own boss and carry all the luxuries that come along with these titles and facts. But not everything about business is fun. There’s a lot about business, when you first begin, that is anything but fun. There are finances to worry over, customers to maintain, products to get shipped and created and any number of hurdles to climb. One such hurdle to climb and conquer is branding your business the perfect way. As with anything, branding your business can be a major pain at times. So taking a step back from the dark side, we asked entrepreneurs for some fun ways to brand your business.
Having ‘play’ in our DNA
It’s probably expected when you’re a children’s brand (see loubilou.com), but having added ‘play’ into the DNA of our brand has proven to be a great way for us to engage with our audience. Our actual customers are parents, despite focusing all our imagery and branded identity to speak to children. This approach immediately transforms people’s behaviour to the brand. As a result people instantly feel happy and inclusive when they connect to us. We also find the more fun we become the more people share and interact. Although we keep measures in place to how far we go with being fun – as we don’t want to be seen as irreverent.
Thanks to Heath Kane, Loubilou
Creative internal branding exercises
As a member of a student-run creative communications agency, we are always looking for ways to advance our professionalism. One branding goal we had last year was to internally brand ourselves, since the expansion of our agency had grown so greatly externally, we lost sight of what we wanted our agency to be culturally. So, at one of our general meetings, each member received 10 Post-It notes and there was a moderator who asked 10 questions like, “what three adjectives explain Cardinal Communications?” and “what color is our organization?” to which we wrote the responses on each Post-It. At the end of the exercise we had a wall of about 800 Post-It notes that depicted how the members thought we were branded — most of which aligned with one another. It was a really great team building experience, as well as a foundation for how to build our external brand for the future.
Thanks to Ashley Cox, Cardinal Communications
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Infuse your personality
Infuse your personality, because if you don’t, guess what you’re going to have? That’s right. A boring, cookie-cutter company that looks, talks and sells like everybody else’s. And there are a few places to make your business stand-out + up as a witty, lively, boisterous [insert adjective] representation of you. Your logo, mission statement, product offerings or even the typography you use throughout the company shouldn’t be snooze-worthy. Use bold colors, brisk words, big emotion and most importantly, talk to your customers like a human, not a robot. They’ll engage more if they see you shine through your business!
Thanks to Allie LeFevere
Be everywhere your customers are
Alfred Hitchcock was his own brand. So throughout his career, Hitchcock made sure to constantly deliver that brand to his audience in a number of interesting ways. His most unique trademark for the time involved his various cameo appearances. He appeared briefly if not openly in most of his movies. He would conduct numerous interviews in his signature suit and tie. So be everywhere your customers are. What social media sites do they spend the most time on? What other blogs do they subscribe and comment on? What other queries unrelated to your niche are they searching for? Be in their face everywhere they go. Some common, great ways to do this are through guest posting, backlinks, commenting on other blogs, bookmarking websites like Reddit, Delicious and StumbleUpon, and maintaining social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.
Thanks to Vincent Clarke, Cinemarketers
Related Post: How Customers Can Help Promote Your Brand
Building a fun mobile app
Many companies overlook the benefits of having a branded, customized mobile application to promote their business. Building a mobile app can be a fun experience for companies, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Look for a reputable technology company that has existing app experience within your business or industry to create your app. They will have already done a lot of research about your industry and most likely you will benefit from that! We built a fun mobile app for the Naperville Running Company that incorporates a pace calculator for their customers to use when out on runs. This is great because the app then adds value for the customer. It isn’t just promoting the company and allowing customers to shop for new shoes. The app builds the brand’s community and engages customers with an added benefit.
Thanks to Chris Pautsch, KeyLimeTie
Think of good shelf life
When I think of ways to brand myself, I think of shelf-life. Everything we do in beauty is all related to shelf-life and longevity and “lasting impressions.” While personal care products sound like a great idea to give away or brand myself with – they are disposable items and need to be replaced. If a customer is out at another salon or day-spa and picks up a different personal care product, then they are no longer thinking of BILLY LOWE. So I often use things like compact mirrors w/ my branding on them. I also had BILLY LOWE nickel medallions made. These look like small coins (see attachment) and people are less likely to throw these away b/c they look like money. I have people tell me all the time “I still have your nickel medallion.” It keeps me in front of people.
Thanks to Billy Lowe
Creating online videos
One of the first things we did when we launched X8 Drums & Percussion was to create online videos of all our instruments. At the time product videos in the musical instrument vertical were few and far between. As a musician myself I thought ‘how cool would it be to be able to browse an online selection of percussion instruments and see how they sound and look while being played’. We had a fun time shooting the videos and our customers loved it. In fact, while we didn’t know it at the time, our commitment to producing online product videos really became our calling card and helped to distinguish our brand over time. We now have more than three hundred videos with millions of unique views. One other example of leveraging our brand in a fun way was getting involved in the community. After moving our business to Austin, TX we made it a priority to bring the love of drumming to the community. We quickly got situated and started producing the Austin Community Drum Circle. This event is free and open to the public. It’s a way to give back to the community, put a drum in their hand, and rock out. Big drum jams equal fun! We started hosting it once per month and the community responded. We now get on average over one hundred people showing up per event. The age range of people showing up is quite amazing. From four to eighty everyone is coming to have a good time. It’s a humbling feeling to look around at one hundred people jamming out together with big smiles on their faces. The fact that many are playing our drums is pretty cool too!
Thanks to Kristin Stancato, X8 Drums
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Unique business cards
When I was running a Kickstarter campaign for a film last year, one tactic we used to raise aweness and brand the film was to buy business cards for the film with Karaoke slips on the background and give them to some Traveling Karaoke hosts to use in their events. It only cost us about 30 dollars for enough cards to last a month. I regularly go out to karaoke at some of the bars they traveled to, so it was an excellent way to start a conversation and ended up paying for itself several times over in KickStarter donations, and way more in brand awareness.
Thanks to Ben Yennie, Films by Neptune
One of the ways we brand our business is to produce a party for my industry peers on the 2nd Tuesday of June. For the past 21 years, we have thrown a party called Cool Off In Style in which various hospitality vendors showcase their talents for others to see. Each year it is a different theme and at a different location. We start marketing one month out and the word of mouth and social media buzz is incredible. After the event, the photographers and videographer keep the brand going by constantly posting and talking about the event. It is a huge success.
Thanks to Dave Forman, Pour Masters Bartending Service
With a clear understanding of your target market you can have fun
If you have a clear understanding of your Target Market you can have a lot of fun with branding tools for your business. I recommend that people keep it fun, lighthearted and enjoyable. e.g. M & M graphic designs could send a small packet of M&M chocolates with their invoices. From bright shirts emblazoned with the company logo and tag line to sponsoring local school sports uniforms and attending some of their games – keep it fun. Business BBQ’s, charity work – get out and about in your local community and get seen by lots of people.
Thanks to Jaclyn Bold, Bold Connections
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