Every new year brings new year resolutions and excitement at the opportunity to start fresh. For businesses, every new year seems to bring new practices and new strategies as well as new technology for businesses to adopt in an effort to keep up with the times and stay ahead of the competition. As a new year begins, looking back at the previous year and determining what worked and what didn’t, both in your personal life and when it comes to your business, is a great way to help you figure out how to move forward.

Although it’s never too late to get a fresh start, what better time than now since we’re still in the early part of the year and are just getting 2018 started?

There are a lot of different aspects to evaluate like your businesses’ spending, the debt you have, your inventory, and your marketing techniques. But have you taken a good hard look at your brand? Unlike marketing, which shares your message and promotes your products, your brand is who you are and how your customers perceive you.

With brand being so important, it’s a great aspect to focus on. Believe it or not, your branding can make or break your business and can have a serious effect on your customers and potential customers. So, whether you’re just getting started or are considering re-branding your company, here are some things you can do to get it in shape for 2018.

#1 Design or Re-Design Your Logo

Your logo is the way that customers and potential customers will recognize you, even without going to your website. It’s an extremely important part of your business, however small and simple it may appear to be. Having a high-quality, relevant logo helps you stand out and gain recognition so it’s important that your logo is well thought out and designed exactly how you want it to be.

Deluxe offers a Logo Maker that lets you create your own logo in a matter of minutes without having to pay the high price of a designer or design team. They offer hundreds of templates that can be customized to fit what you want and need perfectly. Their templates are even industry specific, making it even easier to find the right one.

You don’t even have to worry about your design skills. With the pre made templates, all you have to do is enter your information and make small, simple adjustments to find the perfect design and style. You can even adjust the color so that it’s custom because the right color can make all the difference.

Their logo maker is fast, convenient, easy to use, and you don’t have to pay until you’ve settled on what you want. If you do want to work with a designer, though, to make sure that your logo is exactly what you want it to be and will perfectly represent your branding, you can get in touch and get the help that you need.

Other logo makers or design teams will often charge a lot for a minimum amount of work and you’ll be left with a basic logo that doesn’t fit what you’re looking for. The Deluxe logo maker addresses all of those issues, though.

#2 Design or Re-Design Your Website

Just like your logo, your website is extremely important and gives your customers and potential customers either a positive or negative first impression. Take the time to seriously evaluate your website not only from an aesthetic standpoint, but for SEO, user experience, etc.

Make any changes necessary to bring it up to date, make it easier to read, and make the purchasing process easier to get through. There are a lot of different tools and agencies available to walk you through creating the perfect website if you don’t feel comfortable or have the time to do it on your own.

#3 Connect with an Influencer

There are all sorts of different influencers out there. Social media influencers, industry influencers, etc. Reach out and connect with one or a few that you feel would represent your brand well, and then work with them to create PR pieces and/or partnerships.

Connecting with influencers will help you expand your reach. You can reach from your customer base and audience to their audience as well, and this will help you build up trust and authority among their readers.

#4 Start or Improve Your Blog

Blogs are a great way to build up trust and authority. Because you can publish information about how to use your product, the best uses for your product, or anything else related to your product or industry, you can use it to demonstrate why your product is better than a competitor’s with or without coming right out and saying it. Blogging is another way you can set the tone and personality that you want portrayed from your business and build up your brand and brand recognition at the same time.

#5 Get on or Amp up Your Social Media

Social media is an extremely helpful tool when it comes to creating and portraying your branding. You can use it to communicate with your customer base and potential customer base both professionally and on a more casual level. You can use it to set the tone and create the personality you want your business to have.

Whether you’re on social media already or not, it’s important to make sure that you are present and active on there, keeping up with trends in your industry and communicating, interacting with, and engaging your audience.

#6 Get Involved and Give Back

Your community helped you get where you are today, so why not give back and help others like you or others in need? Not only does giving back provide you with a sense of satisfaction, but getting involved in your community and in your industry in generous ways can help you build up an audience. Being involved helps you expand your reach and brand recognition and it’s good for PR too.

What are some of the things you’re doing to strengthen and get your brand in shape for 2018?Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

David is a professionally accredited leadership and marketing coach who works with young founders and early stage teams to help them navigate through emerging marketing opportunities with a current focus on artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Using the identification of new technological innovations that give way to different paths that can effectively reach customers, David is able to make marketing departments more effective, adaptable, and progressive.