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[Infographic] Why A Well-Developed Brand is Important

If you feel it’s okay to put minimum effort into developing your brand, think again. A business succeeds on a lot more than a product and a name. Your brand is the little extra that can make your business extraordinary.

Prominence

A well-developed brand adds credibility and familiarity to your business. Effective branding is the reason you can substitute ‘Starbucks’ for the word ‘coffee’ in a sentence – without losing any meaning. Good branding is the reason you know that a checkmark means Nike and three stripes stand for Adidas. With effective branding, you can take your business from just being another company to a one-in-a-million venture.

Trust

People do not relate to products as much as they relate to brands. Because brands appeal to human logic and emotion, they unite people in ways that products can’t. Take a look at Apple. The Apple brand has one of the most faithful and passionate followings in the world. It is seen as simple, yet sophisticated. Just carrying an iPhone makes you appear on the upper end economically, despite the truth behind that image. Pair it with some AirPods and your visual net worth inflates at least two times more. The people who use the brand know what it stands for and knows what the brand adds to them. They trust the company because the brand has been used to effectively connect with them.

Long-Term Profitability

The prominence your brand gives to your business will help spread the word to your audience. As your prominence grows, so will your audience market. People will flock to see what the buzz is about. When they come for the buzz, they will stay for the product. The more they use your product, the more their trust in it (and your brand) grows. Especially when you take their feedback and use it to improve. Increased trust will build your brand’s credibility, which creates opportunities for your business to grow through investments, expansion, etc. All of this, in the long run, will increase the profit you earn from your business.

Whether you’re aspiring to make your business the next Apple Inc. or you just want to run a local brick and mortar store, a well-developed brand will help keep your business afloat and will ensure that you can reach your goals – be it local or global.

3 Tips for a Breakthrough Branding Strategy

You don’t just want a brand, you want a brand that outshines your competition. The purpose of your brand is to make you stand out and catch your audiences’ attention…and hold it. If your brand is not doing this, it needs to be reassessed. Your brand differentiates you from others providing similar services or selling similar products. It should be nurtured and adjusted constantly so it is impactful at all times.

To help you create the perfect brand for your business, here are three major points to build a breakthrough strategy:

Observe Your Competition

Learn from the mistakes and successes of those businesses. If a strategy is working for a similar company, check to see if you can adjust it to suit your business after a thorough competitor analysis. This doesn’t mean your should simply copy what everyone else is doing. Duplicating other’s strategy doesn’t always work because what works for others may not work for you. Also, if every brand is a copy of the other then no company would stand out. Instead, take note of what works and ask yourself, “How can this work for MY company? What can this strategy do for MY company?” Observe the strategies that didn’t work for others and either avoid it or see if you can fix it and use it to your advantage.

Listen To Your Audience

When it comes to branding, you must remember that you are dealing with humans and human psychology. The goal is to appeal to human logic and emotions in a way that benefits and grows your business. Fortunately this is the age of technological interaction. You can use social media to find out what your audience is saying about your product and your brand. At the same time, you can use social media to establish a voice and image for your brand. The connection you make with your audience online will help increase your brand credibility and popularity.

Stay Flexible

The world has changed and will continue to change. The technology we have today was impossible just ten years ago. What people see as normal today was just wishful imagination in the early 2000s. Your brand should be able to keep up with the changes. When using media for your brand, do not stick to only traditional means, make use of modern media too. Humans are an ever-changing species. Your brand has to remain relevant so that your audience does not outgrow it.

Try these tips when building your brand and let me know how they work for you in the comments below.

[Infographic] Branding: The Basics

Your brand is the face of your company. The first image a customer sees: your logo, font, colors, etc. are all a part of your brand. If you’re not sure how or where to start with your brand, we are here to help.

Before you jump right into creating a logo and coming up with a slogan, pause and make a plan. A branding strategy will be the backbone of your branding process. There are a few parts in the planning stages of your brand development.

Determine and Research Your Target Audience

Your brand should not be about you or your products and services, but should revolve around your audience. Because branding is about how your audience views your business, you have to specify your target audience so you do not waste time trying to market your services to everyone.

Remember: the narrower the focus, the higher the conversion.

A few demographics to note when identifying your ideal audience are age, gender, income, education level, and location. You also have to know the interests and pain points of the suspected audience that will have higher interest in your business’ products or services.

For example, if your business appeals primarily to college students who study abroad, then you have to understand their goals, their influencers, their psychology, the types of sites they frequent, and their brand affinities (the types of brands they tend to stick with).

Understanding your target audience will help you focus your marketing efforts and ensure that the right people are viewing your ads and reading your content.

Establish Your Brand Mission

You might be familiar with Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It”, but do you know their mission? It reads, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world (*If you have a body, you are an athlete).”

This idea relies on the first step: defining your audience. For Nike, the target audience is everyone with a physical body and their goal is to bring inspiration to their audience. You can see the mission in their ads where they feature all kinds of people who use Nike products to be physically healthy and fit. Their slogan also follows the same theme of inspiration as their mission statement. This consistency is important in branding.

With a small business, you want to start small. Focus on your primary audience, state your mission, and then go from there. When your business expands and your brand loyalty increases, you can then increase your market audience and re-brand to fit your expansion.

Research Brands Within Your Industry

Put simply: learn from other’s mistakes. Find other businesses that do what you do, and study their brands. What is their brand loyalty (how many people like and trust the brand)? Why do people like the brand? What are the pros and cons of their brand strategy? In what aspects did their brand fail and in what aspects did it succeed?

As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun. It is most likely that someone somewhere has had the same business idea you have and has implemented it. Find those businesses and study them. If you can’t find anyone doing the same thing you’re doing, find someone doing something similar.

Do not research only businesses doing the exact thing as your business. Branding strategies take into consideration the location of the business and the demographics in that location. Research businesses based in your area of business, those that have the same target audience as your business, and those that have the same mission as your business.

Combining all this research will provide a sturdy foundation, not only for your branding process, but also for your business’ growth.

What Do You Have That The Others Don’t?

Consumers want to know why. Why should I listen to you? Why should I use your services? You have to highlight something that is beneficial to your audience and that they can’t get anywhere else.

Take Starbucks for example, they sell coffee (so does almost every restaurant in America). If Starbucks went with the slogan, “We sell coffee. Come try it.”, they’d probably be just another local coffee shop in Seattle.

Starbucks’ mission is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” One of their values is “Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.” You can see the mission statement and values reflected in their stores. The ambient lighting, comfortable seating ranging from two-seater tables to tables for large groups, and the variety of music that plays from their overhead speakers. Of course, there’s also free WiFi. Nothing brings people together nowadays like free WiFi.

All the extra benefits that Starbucks offers has made Starbucks a place where you can meet up with friends, work on a group project with classmates, or just chill by yourself. It’s truly a second home.

Like Starbucks, highlight what makes your business a step above the others. It may be customer service, a great quality product at a cheaper price, or an easy-to-use service. Let these benefits show in your marketing and in the way you interact with consumers. Consumers can get coffee anywhere. Make sure they want to come to you for the same thing someone else provides.

Have you started your branding journey? What have you learned along the way? Share with us in the comments below.

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication-production major at the University of Florida and an avid storyteller. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

Tips for Creating the Perfect Style Guide

Let’s talk style guides! Now that you’ve got your brand colors, typography, and logo ready, it’s time to put it all together. Chances are – unless you’re a designer yourself – you’re going to hire a professional designer for the final branding process. The designer will put together all your research into your dream brand, but to do that, they need a style guide. A style guide helps them understand your vision for your brand. Launch Marketing defines it as “a document that provides guidelines for the way your brand should be presented from both a graphic and language perspective.”

So what should be in your style guide?

Well, that all depends on you, you’re free to be as specific or as vague as you want. Be warned though, if you are too specific, the designer may not have space to interpret your guidelines freely. If you’re too vague, the designer’s interpretation may end up varying from your vision. Here are some items commonly included in a style guide.

Mission Statement

Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do it? What do you hope to do? Your brand is a projection of your company so, appropriately, you should start your style guide defining what your company is and why your company exists. Your mission statement influences your brand. Start your guide with it so that your designer can understand what your company is about and use that understanding to build your brand.

Audience Description

An audience description, also known as consumer persona, is your ideal consumer. It could include details like your ideal audience’s age, occupation, gender, and challenges related to your product (i.e. you could include reasons why this person would want to use your product or list possible problems they might have that can be solved with your product/services.)

Color Palette

Your brand colors should be included in this section. For this it would be best if you include a sample of the colors then include the RGB code, the CMYK codes, and the name (hex code), if applicable, below it. Here is the color section of a sample style guide I made:

Color Palette for Style Guide

I drew small boxes in a word document and filled them with my chosen colors. The first line below each of the colors is the CMYK value. The line after that is the RGB values of the colors. The last line is the hexadecimal code of the colors. It is important to include the CMYK, RGB, and hexadecimal values because depending on the medium (print, digital, web, etc) CMYK and RGB values of the same color may render differently.

Check out Netflix’s guidelines for the use of color in its logo:

You can view the rest of the Netflix style guide here.

Typography

Here you should not only include the typefaces you have selected for your brand, but you should also include how you want the text to appear on various mediums. You can specify the preferred hierarchy of text (i.e. the sizes and weight of parts of the text such as the body text, heading text, etc.); an area you want the text to be e.g. if you prefer the text on your flyers to be at the bottom left of the page; or the positioning of imagery.

Try listing the typefaces like this:

Type the names of the typefaces in the fonts you’ve chosen e.g. type “Time New Roman Bold” in Times New Roman Bold font and so on. Also if you choose a font family, type out each of the fonts included i.e. Arial Bold, Arial Light, etc.

Tone of Voice

This refers to what your brand sounds like. Describe your brand’s ‘voice’ whether playful, shy, bold, etc. This will give designers deeper insight into your brand and enable them to make successful suggestions for improvement of your brand.

It is important to remember that your style guide should not be too rigid or too vague. It should be an outline for a designer who will then fill in the rest. You can add whatever you feel would help whoever is reading it better understand your vision for your brand.

Also, your style guide can also help copywriters create a great ad copy for your business, help with website design, creating a slogan, and so on. Having a sense of what you want to use your style guide for will help you know what to include in it. You can easily create a style guide in Microsoft Word and there are various templates available online to use.

Let PivotPath help you create a style guide for your brand and maximize your presence. Contact us for a consultation today!

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication-production major at the University of Florida and an avid storyteller. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

[Infographic] Branding 101: Colors and Logo

Green mermaid and coffee. Yellow arches. White checkmark. If you thought of Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Nike while reading that, you already know the impact a brand’s logo and colors can have on a consumer. One thing these brands have in common is that you don’t need to see their names to know what they represent. Starbucks took its name off its logo in 2011, but that didn’t stop anyone from recognizing it. It takes a while to get to a point where your brand is recognizable without the company name, but that journey starts with choosing the right colors and creating the right logo for your brand.

Logo

For your logo, you can choose to go with a simple monogram of your company name or with a graphic that portrays the story behind your brand. Whatever choice you make, it is important to ensure it is the right choice for your brand because your logo is the face of your brand and your company. When people see your logo you want them to automatically affiliate it with your company. Your logo should be memorable and easily identifiable. Most importantly, it should follow the personality of your brand. Is it playful but reliable? Bold and independent? Your logo should convey whatever message you want consumers to remember about your brand.

Designing or Choosing Logo Graphics

Let’s use a fictional company, ‘Lion,’ for this example. It might be easy to just use the image of a lion for the logo. If another company offering completely different goods/services, maybe even with a different name, decides to also use the image of a lion for its logo, you lose your uniqueness. No one is going to associate the lion exclusively with your company.

Instead of going with the obvious, try word association. Think of all the things you associate with your company name. Using Lion:

Lion → King → Jungle → Roar → Lion King → Strength → Mane

When you brainstorm, the idea is to let everything that comes to mind out.

If you can integrate the services your company does into your logo, even better. For example, Lion is a barber and grooming store. Its logo consists of a suited lion admiring his mane in a mirror.

Whatever logo you choose, be sure to make it perfectly suited to your company. Ask the people around you for their opinions. Other people may have a perspective you haven’t considered.

Color

Your company colors are going to be on everything that relates to your company. From your packaging to the labeling of your logo, your colors will be on everything your customers see. When it comes to color, you should stick to a few guidelines.

  • Your colors should match your brand identity.

If the theme of your company is sturdy and loyal, pick colors that convey that, like green and blue. If your company’s image is classy and vintage, use a classic color like black. Although the way a color is perceived differs from person to person, researching the general meanings of colors can be helpful when deciding what colors to use. A simple google search on the meanings of colors will produce multiple articles.

  • Your colors should complement each other.

Mix and match the colors on your list and see what goes together. It is important to play around with the colors so you can see what it would look like on your logo or how it makes the company name look.

Your colors should also complement your company name and logo. Red and yellow might be a good match for a restaurant because together they invoke a hungry response in viewers (e.g. McDonald’s). They are not a good match for a barbershop though.

  • Your colors should be flexible.

Some colors do not do as well on print as they do on the web and vice-versa. You can pick colors that will deliver the same saturation (the intensity of a color, expressed as the degree it differs from white) on plain paper, a billboard, or a website. The color should be easy to recreate as you will use it on different mediums. If the color doesn’t recreate well on paper, look for a color that is similar enough.

Pro Tip: Instead of picking multiple different colors, try to make a new one from a color you already have.

A shade is a darker version of a color made by mixing the color with black. A tint is a lighter shade of a color made by mixing the color with white. This gives the illusion of a brighter color. Try making various shades and tints of a color. Shades and tints complement each other well because they are of the same color family.

Also, if you need help making a color palette, try Adobe Color. It is a free website where you can create your own color palette. You could select a base color on the color wheel and receive suggestions for a palette. The suggestions can be adjusted according to a preset color theme like shades or can be custom adjusted to your liking. Another cool thing about the website is that you can upload a picture or graphic you like and a palette will be made from the colors in the picture. The colors in the palette can also be adjusted. When you are satisfied with your creation, you can download it as an Adobe color file or as a JPG file.

How are your color and logo journeys? Share any hits, misses, and advice with us in the comments below.

Need a custom logo? Contact us for a consultation today!

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication production major at the University of Florida and an avid storyteller. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

Branding 101: Typography

Have you ever looked at a piece of text and just felt like there was something wrong? The words may have been constructed appropriately but something visually seemed odd? Many times people use typeface on a whim.

pivotpath typography

Without considering how typography affects the message they are trying to pass across, they end up with graphics that may make for a good laugh but do not make for good business. Understanding the significance of text in your brand is important to your brand identity.

It is important to note that there are professionals who can help you work out the technicalities of typography (PivotPath plug!) . All you need to do is share your vision for your brand with them. For busy business owners, delegating the job is a great way to save time but the fees can add up. If you prefer to do work it out yourself, I have some tips that will help. First, let’s define some technical terms.

Type: printed characters or letters.

Typography: the style or appearance of type.

Typeface: a particular design of type (e.g Times New Roman, Arial).

Font: a particular style, weight, and size of typeface.

Font family: a group of fonts with similar design characteristics (For example, the Times Roman font family will include Times Roman Bold, Times Roman Italic, Times Roman Bold Italic, etc. These fonts are all of the same ‘family’ but are slightly different).

Medium: a means by which something is communicated or expressed. (In this case, digital or print such as websites, flyers, etc.)

Weight: the thickness of a type in relation to its height.

Tip 1 – Don’t Go Overboard

When you start your research, it is easy to get a little distracted. You may find a thousand fonts that would make your company name stand out visually, but you’ll have to narrow it down to about 5-10 fonts. Of those, 2-3 will be used to establish your visual hierarchy, or main/most important fonts where you want a readers’ eye to catch most.

However, try not to use more than 3 when combining fonts as readers will become very distracted (see?). These are the fonts that can be used across different platforms like your website, product packaging, flyers, etc. If you keep this in mind, you won’t waste time on what you don’t need.

Tip 2 – Narrowing It Down

Now, you know you will need only a maximum of 10 fonts, but how do you choose only 10 from the 100 you like? There a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • Is it flexible? Step back for a minute and look at the big picture. You may need typefaces for your website, packaging, posters, signs, etc. Rather than picking a typeface for each medium you might use, having one that can run easily on multiple platforms is better. Try the typeface you are considering out on your website, then print it out and see what it looks like on paper. Is it legible when the font is small? Does it look odd when you increase its size?
  • Is it expansive? Your business is bound to grow over time. Can the font you choose grow with it? Does it support multiple characters? Can it support other languages in the situation that you expand abroad? Is it available in various sizes and weights?
  • Is it legible? Are the character’s distinctive? Using a cursive typeface for a large body of text will not end well. Do some of the characters link together in odd ways (like f & i) or are some of the characters spaced together oddly (like e and r)? You do not want to end up with a sign like this one:
Doesn’t sound very relaxing…

Lettering artist Jessica Hische invented the “Il1” test. Type a capital I, a lowercase L, and a number 1 next to each other.

If you cannot tell the difference between the characters you might have trouble with them later on.

Tip 3 – Know Your Medium

On digital media, serifs don’t always do well. That is because the display resolution on a digital device is much less than that of a printed book. In a book, serifs look clear and defined but on a digital device, serifs tend to look blurry and are harder to read, especially in large bodies of text.

The serifs on the characters blur and make the text look like one big blob.

So while serifs might do well in a printed work, on the other hand, the minimal clean-cut sans-serif does well on digital devices but becomes harder to read in large quantities on a print medium.

Note: This can change depending on the type of serif or sans-serif you use. In the end, the choices you make concerning your typography come down to your perception. If you are in doubt, ask someone else what they think. Others may be able to make a clearer decision.

Tip 4 – What’s Your Personality Type?

Your brand has an image and that image is what you are trying to show your audience.  It might be modern, simple, shy, friendly, vintage, tough, etc. Besides actual graphics, typography can also help convey your company’s personality. Serifs are considered vintage, more formal, and classical. So you may see a serif font on the cover of a book about the civil war.

Sans-serifs are simpler and modern so you may find them in the logos of technology companies who want to convey a simple and trendy image like Apple and Microsoft

Display fonts (those with a lot of personality, also called script fonts) should be used sparingly and only for heading or accents. They may be fun but they’re not always very legible. Keep your company’s image in mind as you choose your typefaces.

pivotpath personality image typography tip
Typography Mistake: It says Harley-Davidson but I’m getting a girl scouts vibe.

Tip 5 – Use Your Fonts Wisely

Do not use more than two typefaces in one piece. If you really need to, stick to a maximum of three. Having up to four or five different fonts on one flyer or poster is distracting for the audience and makes your work, whether it’s an ad or a website, seem disconcerting.

The fonts you use together should complement each other. If you are pressed for time and you just need some fonts, you can pair a serif and a sans-serif from your shortlist. The contrasting fonts usually pair well.

A great source to find font pairs is FontPair. On the website, you can edit font pairs and see how well they fit the text you want to use them for. You can also find examples of pieces where the pairs have been used before.

Consistency is another thing you should consider when using your fonts.

The fonts you use on one page of your website shouldn’t differ from the ones you use on another page. Because the font is part of your brand identity, a consistent font choice will tie your brand together across platforms and cement your brand identity in the minds of your consumers.

Tip 6 – Hierarchy

Imagine this article filled with fonts of the same size, weight, and color. It would look like one large, endless blob of text and you wouldn’t really want to read it, right? Hierarchy helps determine what is important for the viewer in text. With proper hierarchy, a reader will be able to skim through a text and pick out the main points easily. 

A header should be the largest thing on the page. It should be in thick large font because its job is to grab the attention of the viewer.

A subtitle should be clearly smaller than the header text. You could italicize it to make it stand out more.

The body text should be the smallest text on the page. It should be easy to read (consider the medium to be used) and it shouldn’t have too many font styles vying for attention i.e. there shouldn’t be words in bold or underlined words all over the body text. It is okay to underline some words within the body text or put some of the words in bold but if you overdo it, your text will end up looking uncoordinated.

Although these tips are a great starting point, there is so much more to know about typography especially if you are a beginner. Choosing the right typography for your brand is a long process.

My advice is that you don’t do it alone.

Share the workload with someone. That way you will be able to exchange ideas and you won’t be alone through the journey.

As time-consuming as the process is, it is certainly very rewarding to see your hard work fall in place as your brand comes to life. Share your typography hits and misses with me in the comments below.

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication-production major at the university of Florida and an avid story lover. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

Resources for Small Businesses

Hacks for your business.

If you have ideas but don’t know where to start, this guide is for you. As a small business owner, or someone interested in starting a small business, you probably know that the right resources are vital to your business. Some resources are easy to find while some require you to dig a little deeper. Here is a basic business startup resource guide.

Legal Know-How

At Incorporate.com, you can incorporate your business (i.e turn your business into a company formally recognized by the State it is incorporated in). They also offer a free guide to LLCs and corporations with an easy application process.

Another resource is Rocket Lawyer. They offer an easy application for incorporation. You can sign documents online, chat with lawyers by phone or email and get a 7-day free trial when you sign up to be a member.

Websites and Magazines

A community is important when starting a business. With online journals and magazines, you can find a community of startup owners like you and also find answers to the questions you have.

Forbes is a popular magazine but there are others like The Wall Street Journal: Small Business and the less popular, Startup Nation. Utilizing various sites and magazines will help you find different perspectives for your business.

Entrepreneur.com is tailored for small business owners and small business starters. It offers business plan guidelines, templates, interactive business planning tools, and online workshops and podcasts.

Government Resources

The Small Business Association’s (SBA) website is a must know when starting a business. It offers a lot of free guides and planning guidelines including a section that guides you on drafting your own business plan.

SCORE is an SBA resource partner. It offers one-on-one counseling, business tools and training programs to small business starters.

Hiring Personnel

According to an Entrepreneur article, community colleges are a great place to find the talent for your business. Besides just community colleges I believe any college would be a great place to find people to hire. Colleges are filled with people eager for experience in the work field. Colleges also offer certificate courses which can help your workers if they need some extra training. Whether it’s interns, part-time, or full-time workers, don’t forget to check out your local college.

Do you know of any resources that help small businesses? Share them in the comments below.

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication-production major at the University of Florida and an avid story lover. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

The Community and Your Business

How to engage the community and further your business

Small businesses may be the center of their communities but the communities are the lifeline for small businesses. The saying “Charity begins at home” applies especially to small businesses. Engaging your immediate community can help your business grow.

Here are four ways you can become involved in your community:

Volunteer

As a small business owner, you probably have a lot on your plate already. That being said, whenever you have the time, volunteering in the community is a choice you will never regret. If you can’t make it personally, encourage your employees to volunteer. Choosing one work day where the entire organization goes out to volunteer is an even better idea. Your act of volunteerism supports good causes in the community, cultivates relationships and increases your brand awareness. It’s a win all-round!

Sponsorship

Local school teams, booster clubs, and organizations welcome sponsorship from businesses. For example, your business can sponsor a D.I.Y event for a local craft organization. Communities have a personal connection with business owners who actively participate in community events such as football, county fairs, the local YMCA, the local cheerleading club, etc. The support you offer to the community can position your business as a good corporate entity, thereby enhancing your public image.

Community Online Communication Connection Concept

Working with other local business owners

Collaborating with other business owners in the community provides a way to form strong relationships and enlarge your market. A local bakery, for example, supplying baked goods to a local cafe provides a way to increase market audience while forming a partnership in the community.

Reward loyal locals

Giveaways, special deals, and hosting events for the community are other ways to engage the community and promote the exposure of your business brand. You could give a free book to customers that purchase a certain number of items from your bookstore, host a giveaway in honor of a local holiday, or give a free donut with every purchase on National Donut Day. All these are ways you can leave an impact on your community.

These strategies on community engagement increase brand exposure, help build a good reputation in the community and help to cultivate relationships that will strengthen your business. Local businesses and communities thrive when they work together.

In what other ways can local businesses impact their community? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication-production major at the university of Florida and an avid story lover. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.