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The sun is out and the kids are out of school. Yep, summer is here and many of us are still just as enthralled in our work as we were when snow was on the ground. Hopefully you’ve been able to find time for a vacation, but summer might also be the best time to mix things up and try new things at work. There’s just something about long sunny days that inspire new ideas and adventures.

So why not try to spice up your brand marketing strategy? There are plenty of small things you can do to improve the brand image of your company. Even if your company is doing just fine and you have a great brand image, it could always be a little better. You may not need a completely new brand marketing strategy, but there are always little things you can do to make your customers like your brand even more. I’ve come up with a list of 9 easy things you can do this summer to improve your brand image:

1 – Start an Instagram account for your company.

At this point everybody knows the importance of a social media presence for a brand’s image. Hopefully you’re at least on Facebook and Twitter (if not, don’t worry! It’s never too late to get into the social media game). Maybe it’s time you try expanding to the fastest growing social media platform, Instagram. What better way to enhance your brand image than through connecting with customers and potential customers with visuals? If you aren’t very experienced with Instagram, take a look at our blog post, “What is this Instagram thing anyways?”

2 – Have a grill out for your employees and clients.

What says summer better than a good old-fashioned barbeque? A great way to improve your brand’s image both internally and with customers is by inviting them to enjoy the nice weather with some burgers and brats. If you’ve got outdoor space that you could use by your office, this would be a great chance to invite everyone in to see where it all happens. Customers love when companies are transparent, and everyone loves free food. If that’s not an option, find a park or event space to hold your grill out. Make it a family event, and your brand will be loved!

3 – Do a summer contest/giveaway.

I know contests and giveaways sound a little cliché, but trust me, they work! As long as you’re giving away something realistic (not a brand new car or $100,000) and you’re using the right avenues to market the contest, you will see your followers grow and people will remember your brand easier. A great example of this would be a restaurant offering a free dinner for the first person to correctly answer a trivia question that relates to that restaurant. When I was in school in Reno, there was a sushi restaurant that did this at least once a week. They would ask what all the ingredients in one of their rolls were, and me, being a sushi connoisseur (or just obsessive eater of raw fish), would go for it every time. When I won, I wasn’t about to go alone, so they ended up bringing in business and I never forgot to check their Facebook page. You may not work at a restaurant, but with a little creativity I’m sure you could come up with something that would work for you and help improve your brand image.

4 – Make a funny video.

How many times a week, or even a day, do you find yourself distracted by an entertaining video you saw on Facebook? If this doesn’t sound like you, trust me, it sounds like a lot of your potential customers. Consumers like companies that have a sense of humor, so if you really want your image to improve, try to make them laugh! And in case you didn’t know, you can feature a video on your company’s Facebook page (here’s a how-to) so that when people look you up, they can quickly watch the video to see what you’re all about. If your clientele is a bit more serious, it doesn’t have to be all about humor, but make sure you at least show a little personality. The caveat here is to avoid being too corny. Here’s an example of a video we produced for one of our clients, FUSE Coworking:

5 – Start writing a blog.

You might be thinking, “My company doesn’t need a blog, nobody would ever read it!” Well, that’s not entirely true. These days, people are turning to blogs for advice in every aspect of life. You’re reading ours right now! Create weekly or biweekly posts that talk about what’s going on in your business, gives advice, or is general commentary on your industry. You may not directly see how this will improve your brand image, but it will. People like to know what’s going on with companies they’re working with and a blog shows that you care about what you’re doing.

Even if your blog doesn’t have a large following, it has another huge purpose: SEO. If you’re not familiar with Search Engine Optimization, we have a Quick Guide to SEO for you.

6 – Start a monthly newsletter.

Similar to the blog, a newsletter is great way to keep your customers and potential customers in the loop with your company. Out of sight, out of mind is absolutely true when it comes to brand image and awareness. If your company isn’t dealing with your customers on a daily basis, it can sometimes be difficult to keep them up-to-date with what you’re doing and they might start thinking of you less and less. An easy way to avoid that is by offering a monthly (or even weekly) email newsletter club. Make sure that when you’re writing your newsletters, though, that the content you include is of value to your customer. Let them know what you’re doing, what’s going on in your industry, and add some other interesting content, even if it’s not completely relevant.

7 – Send a small gift to all your clients.

One of the best possible ways to improve your brand image is to give your customers something tangible to remember you by. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but a little gift can go a long way. If most of your clients are businesses, send them something for the office. Try to pick a theme (like summer!) and get something memorable and include a note with it. If you have a huge number of clients, this may be a little more challenging, but there are ways to make this happen.

8 – Participate in a charity event or volunteer as a company.

It’s always a great idea to get your company out there in the community helping out. There is always someone who could use the help, and there are plenty of organizations that are looking for volunteers. Aside from being great for the community, participating in charity events like Relay for Life can greatly improve your brand image. It shows that your company has a heart and can be trusted. These are definitely things you want to project to your potential customers.

9 – Send thank you cards to clients you’ve recently finished working with.

The first impression your company gives is always important, but many people forget the importance of the last impression. Just because you’re done working with someone at the moment doesn’t mean there won’t be potential for you to work with them again! Plus, people know people. Don’t be the company that is forgotten after work is complete. Sending a hand-written thank you note saying something along the lines of “Hey ABC Company, we had a great time working with you on XYZ project. We wish you the best of luck in your work and please keep us in mind if you ever need help in the future!” will make you so much more memorable. You wouldn’t believe how much your brand image will improve by doing this small task. Pro tip: the best way to get referrals is to ask for them. Figure out how to include handwritten thank you’s in your lead generation strategy and you’ll be doing more than most of your competitors.