3 Creative Ways To Boost Your Brand Image
Your brand image is a customer’s or client’s overall impression of your business. A positive brand image makes for smooth(er) sailing, whereas a negative one means hard(er) times ahead. With so much competition for the market share, it’s super important that your brand stands out from the crowd for the right reasons.
The good news is you can influence your brand image by encouraging positive interactions and creating meaningful connections with consumers. This article discusses three creative ways to boost your brand image — from a quirky take on company merchandise to adding the social to social media and finally, cultivating purpose-driven community change.
#1 Stand Out With Merchandise
Giving away free merchandise to entice prospective clients and customers is somewhat old news, and pretty much every brand does this. However, just because something is commonplace doesn’t mean you should abandon it entirely. For a start, EVERYBODY loves free stuff; this is tried and tested. The real trick here is finding a unique angle, or item in this case.
Think about it; if you can provide something useful yet incredibly quirky/unlikely or just plain beautiful, YOUR merchandise will easily stand out from the crowd. People won’t think twice about using your freebies first and foremost. And what’s more, it doesn’t have to break the bank, and you don’t have to be an expert designer either.
Did Somebody Say Free?
There are plenty of high-quality free design resources available for personal and commercial use. You can access them at the click of a mouse and save you time and money.
Some quirky merch design examples include:
- Funny snowman mustache mask designs — a perfect way to lighten the mood in any office or home during the socially distanced holiday season.
- Stunning floral elements to adorn to miniature plant pots. They are sustainable and incredibly useful, freebies! Plants help to reduce stress, increase productivity, boost creativity, and clean the air.
- A motivational design for a water tracker to help valued customers and clients stay hydrated AND keep up that positive mental attitude.
The design resources above are compatible with the most popular design software and digital cutting devices on the market. And if you don’t have a cutting machine, use a home printer along with a craft knife and cutting mat or scissors. Meaning you can send away your designs to be printed on your chosen items, or you can get crafty with a DIY approach.
Remember to add your logo and contact details to your designs. You can do this by uploading your design resource into free online software like Canva or Monogram Maker. The software will let you customize the download, including applying the correct dimensions for your chosen merchandise and adding brand-specific details.
#2 Stand Out On Social Media
One of the keys to social media is the social element. But brands forget this — no judgment here, by the way, there are so many other things to do while running a business, after all. Many focus on blasting out their latest offers and regularly sell, forgoing the part where they build meaningful reciprocating relationships with their social audiences.
Keep the 80:20 rule in mind, and you won’t go too far astray; this means 80 percent relationship building and providing value and 20 percent selling products and services. Before you share something, evaluate how/if it adds value to your audience.
Adding the Social To Social Media
Create reciprocal relationships by replying to comments, hosting virtual events through Facebook Live, hosting weekly Twitter chats, and using social listening to engage with people who are talking about your brand.
Here’s a top tip:
Research consistently shows that social media posts with images experience higher engagement. Use the social media post templates in Canva, along with free design resources from Design Bundles to make your graphics stand out from the crowd.
Connect With the Blogosphere
Those in the blogosphere have spent a considerable time (years in some cases) building an impressive web and social media presence. Many are even industry leaders in their chosen niche.
If you see a blogger whose niche/audience matches your product or service offer, it makes perfect sense to collaborate. Consider offering free product samples and paid social share opportunities, or ask them to host a Twitter chat on your behalf to promote your brand.
#3 Stand Out With Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
We are living in one of the most socially conscious periods in human history. Consumers are looking for brands to bring more to the table than just their products and services. This 2017 study by Cone Communications found that 63% of Americans want to see businesses leading toward social and environmental change.
Consumer demand is, in turn, driving investors and stakeholders to push for the same. So if you’re looking to build lasting relationships and form new ones with customers and clients or hoping to attract investors, CSR is a must. Besides the business benefits, giving back feels pretty darn good!
CSR isn’t a box-ticking exercise, and if you approach it as such, it could backfire and damage your brand. One of the most important things to consider is the meaning behind any CSR effort.
Ask yourself how you can thoughtfully align your actions with your brand mission and purposefully improve the local community.
If you have no idea where to start, connect with local groups, foundations, and even other businesses to identify community needs, and collaborate to make meaningful change happen.
Creative CSR Ideas
Incorporating CSR into your business/brand strategy doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. Rather than massive monetary donations to global campaigns, your grassroots efforts in the local community are often more engaging and impactful.
For example, food waste is an environmental issue that can be meaningfully affected by food waste initiatives and when consumers purchase locally produced food. Local farmers, supermarkets, groceries, and even restaurants and coffee shops could collaborate and donate excess food to people in the community who would otherwise go without, rather than throwing it away.