Branding is imperative to running a successful business. There are countless companies in existence whose foothold in the market derives not from the quality of their products, but from an ingenious branding strategy. There are also just as many unsuccessful businesses who offer superior products but fail to differentiate themselves from their competitors due to lacklustre branding. While the most prosperous companies spend millions or even billions on branding, there are some simple and creative solutions you can try to strengthen or expand your brand image.

Give Away Free Stuff

Print up t-shirts to give away free to customers with the purchase of your product or service. While this may seem very basic, its simplicity is what makes it so effective. People love free stuff and shirts are inexpensive when bought in bulk. By cladding your customers in apparel bearing your company name, you are turning them into walking advertisers. Everyone who walks past them will see your logo. If you give the shirt an interesting design, their friends, family, and possibly even strangers will ask them about the shirt, and find out about your business that way. Make sure to include your company’s main logo so as to familiarize people with the image. You may also want to think of more unique items to give away to customers. Consider alternating between t-shirts and lapel pins or custom coins with your company name or logo.

Create Your Own Hype

Clothing companies often pay celebrities to wear their clothes. For a fraction of the price of a celebrity, look instead for a trendsetter or a person who attends many high profile events and pay them to wear your clothes. It should be someone who is considered popular or stylish. This strategy is not limited just to clothing companies. If you followed the previously mentioned step of making t-shirts to give away to customers, pay someone who attends lots of parties, concerts, or important events to wear your logo. The point is to associate your brand with someone who is either well-respected or considered an authority on taste. 

Have Your Brand Grow with Your Target Demographic

If your target demographic is too inflexible, you may lose existing customers or audience as they “grow” out of your product. Children’s media provides a good example of this phenomenon. Young children who enjoy watching television programs such as Barney or Sesame Street now will in a few years refuse to watch those shows and criticize them as being for little kids. The brand only holds the target’s audience for a limited amount of time. The wildly successful Harry Potter series, on the other hand, grows with its audience. The books take place over several years, with the protagonist starting at middle school age and progressing to high school age. As the reader increases in age and maturity, the books also increase the characters’ ages and the reading level. The readers did not grow out of the books, because the books grew with the readers. While many products are targeted to a specific age demographic, most should be accessible by people of all ages in order to stay afloat.

Author: Amanda Thomas is a writer and blogger living in San Diego, CA. She writes for the Monterey Company, which specializes in creative branding products like lapel pins and custom coins.