So you have a business name, a product or service and a website, but have you communicated your business identity? Have you analysed how clients or potential customers perceive your business? What would make your business special or top of mind?

This is where branding comes into play.

Executive business coach and social entrepreneur Refilwe Khumalo says branding your small or medium-sized business is crucial as it helps you to differentiate your company from the competition. “It helps you to build a psychological identity of your company in people’s minds, which triggers associations, sets your company apart, tells consumers what they can expect from your company and manages the perception people have of it.”

Branding includes the activities and communications, large and small, that create and reinforce what your company is known for, and it’s purpose. It’s all the elements that make up a visual identity such as the logo, packaging, colours and reputation for customer service.

Khumalo adds that branding is a strategic tactic that contributes to revenue, thereby making it a very critical objective of your business plan that deserves at least 10% of your overall budget as a small or medium-sized business owner.

Implement these cost-effective branding strategies:

1. Clarify what your brand stands for

Think of one thing you want to be known for – this could include the best service delivery, highest quality product/service, fastest delivery or the best price. It’s then important to reinforce this in all your company communication channels until you become known and trusted to deliver on it.