20 Things To Do In 2020 To Upgrade Your Brand

Another year is upon us, which means Dox Design is in high gear, working to help our amazing clients and community build effective brands they love. While planning our strategy for the new year, we put together a list of 20 things you can do in 2020 to upgrade your brand.

 

1. Freshen Up Your Facebook Cover Photo

We’re starting easy peasy here, fur friend! A small thing you can do to elevate your brand is simply to update your cover photo to something more professional and branded, which leads to potential clients taking some sort of action on your page.

There are a couple of ways to do this:

1. Use a free tool like Canva to create your cover photo.

2. Choose the Facebook cover photo template options to make sure you have the right dimensions for your cover photo. Dox Design has our own design shop, where we sell affordable and beautiful editable Facebook cover photos, already optimized for pet businesses. 

 

2. Start Using A Branded Hashtag

One sure-fire way to upgrade your brand is to create and use your own branded hashtag! An example of this is our own hashtag we use on a regular basis: #droolworthy! Dox Design uses this hashtag frequently in our content, whether it’s in our blog posts or on Instagram, which is now attached to our brand. Many people in our community know about our droolworthy hashtag, which represents all that we do – i.e. create #droolworthy design for pet businesses!

Tips for choosing your own branded hashtag:

1. Some businesses choose to just use their business name as a hashtag, which can be a great and simple way to have your own branded hashtag.

2. If you already have a short slogan or phrase that you use in your business, this could be a great way to incorporate that.

3. If you call your clients a particular name, try using that as your branded hashtag, especially if your clients can relate to it!

The goal here is to get your clients/followers to use and search this hashtag, ultimately increasing your exposure, referrals, and community support.

 

3. Create A New Client Welcome Kit

One of the most important tips for you in this blog post is to understand that your client/customer experience is EVERYTHING. A new client welcome kit should essentially include everything that your clients or customers would need to start working with you. 

The goal here is to make sure they feel supported, answer any questions they may have upfront before they have to ask, and easily guide them through the next steps.

Having a professional welcome kit ensures that your process is an easy one for them to follow, which goes a long way in ensuring loyal clients!

 

4. Join Some Facebook Groups

Networking is your best friend, and depending on your area, there may not be a lot of other pet businesses around. Or, maybe you just prefer online communication. Facebook Groups are an amazing place to start to get resources, ask for feedback, and just get support from other pet businesses out there.

Plus, there are groups out there specifically targeted at helping pet businesses with their branding and design! That’s right…Dox Design has our own Facebook Group! You can join here.

P.S. There are also typically several Facebook Groups for different community areas. If you join some of these, you may find that people are specifically looking for your products and services! That’s the perfect opportunity to initiate contact. ☺️

 

5. Host an Event

Now, this one might require more effort on your part, but it can be oh so worth it. Depending on your type of pet business, events can work so well when you bring your community together and meet potential clients face-to-face.

That connection you can create from hosting an in-person event is exactly what pet parents are looking for in a pet care provider. Because, after all, pet parents won’t select a pet business (groomer, veterinarian, dog walker, photographer) without careful consideration. The more you’re able to educate and show up for these pet parents, the more likely they’ll trust and choose you!

 

6. Register for a Webinar

I’m sure you know this as a business owner, but the learning never stops. Webinars are a great way to learn from other entrepreneurs in your industry. The great part about webinars is that they are typically tailored to a specific topic that you may be interested in learning.

In fact, Dox Design is hosting monthly webinars throughout 2020 and we want you to join us! We’ll be talking all about packaging, branding tips and tricks, website best practices, and more. To register for the next webinar, head here.

 

7. Be More Active on Social Media

Social media is the place customers or clients will go to first before interacting or purchasing from your brand. While social media isn’t necessarily the place to immediately convert visitors, it’s THE place to foster community, trust, and overall likability. 

When you only post sporadically on social media, you’re not only missing out on reaching potential clients, but you’re also lowering yourself down on the platform’s algorithm. This means, the less you post, the less likely you will show up on your potential customer’s feeds when you do decide to post!

So, we recommend posting pretty much daily, but make sure you have quality and valuable content for your audience.

 

8. Post Branded Graphics

If you need some help finding great content, because let’s be honest, figuring out what to post can be tricky, Dox Design has you covered. 

Our 2020 Master Social Media Planner includes nearly 150 captions for daily pet holidays, up to 3 other campaign ideas for each holiday, over 50 monthly and weekly holidays for each month, as well as many other post/campaign ideas for you! Not to mention graphics. It’s a no brainer and, of course, made with you in mind!

If you’re not up for the calendar, we recommend starting with something like Canva to make branded graphics for your social media feed!

 

9. Utilize Video on Facebook Live & Instagram Live

Speaking of social media, there’s more to it than just posting pictures to your feed. Facebook and Instagram have ‘Live’ features, where you can record yourself or the pets in your care in real-time for your audience to see. 

Video is in right now, and definitely increases engagement and trust when people can see your face and hear your voice, which is why we’re adding it to the list!

We know this one may be hard for some of you, so start small. You can always delete it if you hate it. But, over time, we think you’ll learn to love it – & so will your followers!

10. Use Instagram Stories

Yes, we know. Several of these tips include social media. For good reason, though. 

If you haven’t utilized Instagram Stories yet, your engagement is probably suffering. Instagram Stories is a way to share behind-the-scenes footage of your business as a way to supplement your curated feed!

We recommend experimenting with all of the features Instagram Stories have. Bonus points if you create a custom gif!! That’s right – you can create a custom gif for Instagram that your clients, customers, and/or community can use on their own posts.

Ready to create your own GIF? We can create & set up a custom one just for you for only $15! Click here to get yours now.

11. Tell Your Story

Remember, people don’t buy from your business, they buy from you. That means, they want to know who’s behind the business. So here are some things you can do to highlight your story:

1.  Write an About page on your website and include information on yourself and how you got started

2. Get on an Instagram Live and talk about why you started your business

3. Write social media posts answering random facts or tidbits about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ or share a personal story

4. Weave yourself into posts about your products and services

5. Add photos of yourself on your website and social media

12. Start Blogging

Now, this is a big one. And one that’s wayyyy underutilized in the pet space, which means you have the potential to grow exponentially. The most common scenario we see is that pet businesses will blog for 1-2 months and then give up because their business hasn’t grown yet.

Let us preface the blogging topic by saying that it’s a long-term strategy. Your SEO and your presence will increase over time after consistent blogging. The best thing about blogging is that once a blog post gets traction, as long as the topic is evergreen, it will continue to grow over time (compared to social media). Once you post on Instagram, the next day, it’s essentially gone!

So, we recommend setting a blogging schedule and get to blogging! If you need some help, we’ve got your back with Dox Design’s sister program, Sit. Stay. Grow., where we help with your content marketing needs, from social media and email newsletters to blogging and design support.

13. Send out a 2020 Newsletter

We know, we’re asking for a LOT more content out of you this year, so instead of committing to monthly newsletters, we’re challenging you to start with posting just one 2020 newsletter.

Include information like:

• Your 2019 recap

• What’s changing in 2020

• Recent blog posts

• Social media links for them to connect with you

•  A CTA to book your services or purchase your products

•  A little heartwarming note from the owner specifically addressing the clients/customers

If you send just one newsletter out this year, your clients will LOVE you for it…and you may just find yourself wanting to send out more! We’re telling you, people LOVE newsletters from their favorite pet businesses. When we work with our Sit. Stay. Grow. clients, we constantly hear the amazing feedback they receive every time – & it never gets old!

14. Consider A Rebrand

Is it time for a rebrand? Typically designers will recommend a rebrand every 5 or so years, and if you’ve never invested in professional branding, now might just be the time!

You want to make sure that your target audience aligns with your brand, otherwise, you may not be as busy as you want to be. Or, maybe you’re super busy, but you’re not working with the dream clients you’ve always imagined. Your branding encapsulates all of those missing pieces and without it, your business can suffer. 

Next steps??

For those interested in learning about our services, head here to see how we can help.

For our DIY’ers who aren’t quite ready to invest, check out our blog post series on How To Successfully DIY Your Pet Brand.

15. Get Some New Print Materials

If you’re still using something like VistaPrint to design your business cards, it’s time for an upgrade. Business cards are ALL over the place and if yours don’t stand out, it’ll get lost in the pile or end up in the trash bin.

And, of course, as designers, Dox Design knows how to create print material. So, here are three ways you can upgrade your business cards and other print materials for your pet business:

1. Design them yourself in something like Canva or InDesign. Just be sure to do some research into business card design and stay consistent with your brand!

2. Select one of our semi-customizable print materials. Dox Design will change it to your brand colors, update in the information, print, and deliver them to you all ready to go! 

3. If you’re one of our branding clients (AKA part of the Dox Design family), you have special access to the Design Lab, where we help you continually execute your brand in every capacity you need – i.e. business cards and other print materials (or digital for that matter)!

16. Partner With A Local Pet Company & Host A Workshop

Again, fostering a community with your potential clients/customers is priceless. If you already hosted an event and you’re looking for more, we also recommend partnering with another company and hosting an educational workshop!

Some examples of this could be…

• A doggie daycare partnering with a dog trainer to host a puppy socialization class. 

• A dog groomer partnering with a pet photographer for a day of pampering and modeling

• A veterinarian partnering with a dog walker to teach clients all about vaccines and wellness

• A seller of collars and harness to partner with a trainer on the importance of loose-leash walking

Not only are you nurturing your community, but you’re also expanding your awareness by including another business owner of a similar market!

17. Create An Official Marketing Plan And/Or Strategy

Without an overall objective or strategy with your marketing, you’re essentially just winging it and hoping something will resonate with your audience. And, that’s definitely not the way to go! 

As you plan your 2020 (or heck, even if you’re reading this towards the end of 2020), it’s time to sit down and map out your goals, objectives, strategies, and plan your content around that.

This can be a time-consuming and complicated task to complete, so if you need some extra help, Sit. Stay. Grow. can help! We create custom content strategy guides for our clients, which include your message hierarchy, voice/tone, target audiences, high-level strategy, social media campaign ideas, KPI’s, hashtag strategy, and more.

If it’s not in the budget or it’s something you want to tackle on your own, we recommend doing some research on how to create a marketing plan, do some competitive market research on the businesses around you, and start to list out the goals you have for your business. From there, your marketing strategy/plan will be easier to complete. Be sure to also check out our blog post on why you should be content planning.

Trust us – these are the things that help you create the content that converts!

18. Add Some Branded Touches: Refreshed Website Banners, Branded Apparel, Etc.

Your brand is always evolving. As things come up and your business grows, you’ll notice that your brand will require continuous TLC so your company can, as we call it, stay up to snuff. In other words, if you get a new brand and don’t nurture it, you’ll still be missing some necessary pieces to set yourself apart from the other pet businesses out there.

Whether it’s a refreshed homepage banner, branded apparel, or packaging for your pet products, Dox Design offers the support you need.

If you’re a client of ours, you gain access to our Design Lab (which we talked about a bit in number 15). The Design Lab is essentially our way of being your in-house designer without you paying for the full-time salary! For details on how it works, head hereLong story short, your brand will expand as you expand, which means it will need continued care as you execute a thoughtful brand presence everywhere your brand lives!

19. Follow Some Of These Pet Brands For Inspiration

Nothing’s better than a little inspiration from fellow pet industry pros! Give some of these accounts below a follow to help inspire you towards a brand image that truly speaks your message.

Dox Design – designer for pet products and businesses (I know, we’re a little biased 😉)

Wild One – essentials for pets and their people (learn more about them here in our #droolworthy blog feature)

The Foggy Dog – bandanas, collars, beds, and more

Open Farm Pet – ethically and sustainably sourced pet food

Earth Rated – poop bags!

The Dapper Dog Box – subscription box full of treats & goodies for your dog

Ripley And Rue – maker of dog goods & bandanas

You may also be interested in our blog post on 5 Brands That Are Killing It On Instagram.

20. Enjoy the process!

After all, you’re in the pet industry for a reason, right? It’s time to enjoy the process of promoting and growing it, am I right?! If you’re struggling to do every single one of our 2020 items to upgrade your brand, we get it. We know it can easily become overwhelming.

The goal here is to pick and choose what applies to your business and make small changes over time. And if you never need extra help, you know who to call (and no, we’re not talking about Ghostbusters 👻).

This Could Be You!