As a small business owner, branding might be the last thing on your mind. After all, there are bigger things to worry about, right? Things like hiring staff, conducting marketing, and managing operations all take precedence over everything else. Right?
Well, not exactly. Branding is one of the most important things in all of business. It’s what creates an impression in the minds of your target audience and is what separates your business from your competitors.
And while you might think branding is something you can only take on once you’ve grown a little bigger as a business, think otherwise! Branding is something you can – and should – be doing as a small business.
In this article we take a look at some branding solutions for small business, with 5 easy tips to help you start building your brand from Day 1. The earlier you start your branding efforts, the better. So let’s get right to it!
Tip 1: Define your brand identity
One of the most important yet simple branding solutions for small business is defining your brand identity. Even though you may not have a huge budget to spend on branding, you can still start laying the groundwork for what your brand will look like. Defining brand identity is more than just what your brand visually looks like. It’s also about what you stand for (more on that later) and what people can expect from your brand.
You can start by asking yourself ‘what is my brand all about?’. Try summing up your brand in a sentence or picking three words which define your brand. This will give you something to build the rest of your brand identity.
Once you have that starting point, your next step should be to figure out who your target customers are. What do they look like? What age are they? Where are they from? What sort of things are they interested in? Defining your audience will help you create a brand identity that easily connects to them.
The last step in creating the foundation for your brand identity is determining your unique selling points or points of difference. These are things that separate you from your competitors and make your business stand out.
White Wolf’s vegan protein powder is a great USP. Source: White Wolf
Your point of difference could be a number of things. Are you a known expert in your industry? Do you ship to customers in less than 24 hours? Do you use sustainable materials?
These three things can help you kickstart your quest to creating a unique brand for your business!
Tip 2: Take a stand
Standing for a cause or a set of beliefs is a great way to strengthen your brand. Not only does it give your brand substance, but it’s also been shown that people trust and purchase more from brands who stand for something.
That ‘something’ works even better when it’s a cause that people care about, such as the environment or charity.
There are many ways you can demonstrate purpose for your brand. A simple set of mission, vision and value statements on your About Us page can tell your audience a lot about your brand and what you care about.
You can also take it a step further and choose to take action such as directly donating to non-profit organisations or participating in community events. After all, actions do speak louder than words!
Tip 3: Get visual
It’s no secret that a visually compelling brand is more effective in attracting customers than brands which lack a strong visual identity. In fact, consumer research has shown that logos, visual styles and brand colours have all been shown to be the most recognisable brand identifiers!
McDonald’s golden arches are one of the most recognisable logos in the world. Source: McDonald’s
As you can see, creating a visual identity is a must for any branding solutions for small business. Your brand’s visual identity can be crafted through many ways but here are four of the most prominent methods:
- Logo: as we mentioned, logos are one of the most important and effective brand identifiers. Your logo should be highly recognisable while remaining relevant to you and your business.
- Brand style guide: style guides are your brand’s visual in a nutshell. They’ll contain everything from typeface, colour palette and even logo usage and placement. Click here for some great examples from real life companies!
- Website design: your website is the digital face of your company. As such, it should also communicate what your business is all about, through recognisable layouts, colours and copy.
- Packaging: for brands which provide a tangible product or service, your packaging is paramount to brand image and brand recognition. Make sure your packaging is consistent with the rest of your brand.
Tip 4: Be consistent
Consistency and uniformity is one of the most important things, yet are often overlooked as branding solutions for small business. No matter how many platforms, channels or websites you have, you need to make sure your brand remains the same on all of them.
Why? Doing so helps create a single, strong image in the minds of not only your audience, but any potential new customers as well. They’ll be able to instantly recognise your brand amidst a huge lineup of different businesses.
Aim to always use the same colour palettes, fonts and imagery on all channels, whether it be on social media or on your packaging. Remember to use the same brand voice and tone as well – people will take notice if your brand doesn’t sound like ‘you’.
Lindt’s Instagram page uses a consistent gold/brown motif on its social media pages. Source: @lindt
That’s why having a strong brand book or style guide available for your internal team is important – it helps you stay consistent on all business fronts.
Tip 5: Become authorities in your industry
One of the most effective ways to become a business or brand that is instantly recognisable is to become the go-to expert in your industry. When you’re considered an authority in your industry, people will immediately turn to your business when they have a related problem or inquiry.
Take the industry of accounting for example. The most well-known accounting firms in the world include brands such as Deloitte and PcW. Why are they so well-known? Because they’ve become authorities in their industry, businesses that consumers will turn to for reliable information.
Your brand can do the same with two key methods: creating informative yet compelling content; and providing top tier customer service.
When you create great educational content such as tutorials, how-to’s and articles, you build a reputation for reliability and credibility. Likewise, when you respond to consumer inquiries quickly and go above and beyond to solve their problems, you create and reinforce a positive brand image.
Brand building made easy for small businesses
You don’t need the biggest budgets to create a brand that will catapult your small business into a growing one that nets new customers, sales and profits.
With these 5 branding solutions for small business, you’ll be able to create a branding strategy that lasts in the minds of both your existing customers and potential new ones. For more digital marketing articles that help grow your small business, check out the ZipZipe blog today!