Branding your business is so important, yet can be so overwhelming for small business owners just starting out.
Where do you start with brand building? What does branding your business really look like?
How can small businesses brand themselves in a way that makes an impact?
These are all questions small business owners often have.
So in this post, we’re going to give you 6 simple, clear steps you can take today…
….so that by the end of this post, you’ll know exactly what steps to take to start building an effective small business branding.
Now let’s define what branding means.
Definition Of Branding
This one says branding is, “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.”
It then goes on to say, “Your brand is your promise to your customer.
It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors.
Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.”
So right off the bat, we see that a brand is not just surface-level deep- it’s more than a name or your brand logo.
There should be thought, purpose, meaning, and strategy behind the production of a name or logo.
So the 6 quick steps we’re going to walk you through today will help you identify what your name and logo stand for, as well as what your brand embodies.
6 Steps For An Effective Small Business Branding
Step 1: Write down what you provide, who you provide it for, and why.
You might think you know these things in your head.
But writing them down will not only give you instant clarity about your business but will also make branding your business so much easier.
So let’s look at an example to understand this better.
Let’s keep things simple and say you open up a cafe.
It’s tempting for a lot of business owners- of any industry, not just cafe owners- to want to say, “I want everybody and anybody to be my customer!”
We’re using a cafe as our example here because that mindset often holds true in the restaurant industry because everyone has to eat, right?
But we’ve all heard the marketing saying, “If you’re marketing to everybody, you’re marketing to nobody.”
So even with a cafe where you’re providing food, which is something everyone needs, even then you need to have a certain demographic in mind.
You need to have a target buyer persona nailed down.
You need to determine a clear target audience. So let’s say your cafe offers a vegan menu.
Even though you may get customers who aren’t vegan to come in and enjoy a meal…
…your marketing and branding should still be centered around the vegan consumer.
This will help give you a starting point with your branding because if you can identify exactly who your product or service is for…
…the way you orient your messaging will fall naturally into place from there.
For example, maybe the vegan cafe’s previous messaging revolved around something vague like, “Healthy meals” or “Fresh food for families.”
But if the entire menu is vegan, then your messaging should specifically reflect things your ideal vegan consumer would care about.
For instance, “All vegan menu”, “Plant-based dining”, etc.
Step 2: Ask yourself what makes you unique.
Moving on to the next step in small business branding, continuing with our example, there are countless cafes across the globe, including vegan cafes.
So what makes this one different? What makes your business stand out from the competition?
You’ve solidified who your product or service is for and that in itself will help you narrow down your messaging and audience.
But you now need to take it a step further and ask yourself what makes you different, or specifically better than your competitors?
This means you will need to conduct a thorough competitor analysis.
And we encourage you to be diligent in this step because we think a lot of small business owners think they know what sets them apart.
But, you may be surprised when you actually conduct the research.
Because in order to determine what makes you unique, you need to know what sets you apart from competitors and what your target customers care about.
We’ve shared this before on our blog, but a common example we see a lot are business owners thinking their product is better…
…because it’s cheaper and more affordable than their competitors.
But is the price your customer’s top priority?
In the instance of our mock vegan cafe, maybe people would rather pay more to ensure the food is also organic. Because they value health over cost.
So in that case, even though a lower price would be unique to your cafe and set you apart from competitors…
…it might not prove to be a positive difference depending on what your ideal buyer persona cares about.
This is just one example, so again, the important thing is to sit down and do the research both on your competitors and your ideal target market.
Do you want further guidance on this?
Our social media marketing strategy post goes into more detail and walks you through that research process step by step.
Step 3: Write down your company core values.
You may find that you’ve already inadvertently done this as a result of steps 1 and 2 of small business branding.
But if you haven’t already, now is the time to write down what your brand values are.
Your company values could range anywhere from being internal values like:
- accountability, and
…to being external and worldly like environmentalism or standing against animal cruelty etc.
13% of consumers would pay 31-50% more for your products or services…
…if they were under the impression that your business is making a positive impact on the world.
Your core values could also affect your brand messaging, brand voice, and brand personality…
…as all of these need to be aligned with how you want your target audience to perceive your brand.
So take a moment to determine what matters to you and figure out how you want to incorporate that with your company.
Step 4: Design your name, logo, and brand guide.
Next step on developing small business branding…
…you’ll want your visual elements such as your name, logo, brand fonts, and colors to all reflect everything you’ve written down so far for the following questions:
- What does your business provide?
- Who does it provide it for?
- What do you stand for?
Now we have a lot of resources for you here, if you feel lost on where to start.
We have a post on color psychology to help you pick out the right color palette for your brand.
And, we have another tutorial here on how to create a visual branding guide to help with your brand identity design.
We definitely suggest reading those 3 articles next.
One example of these things in action is that a lot of companies who promote nontoxic, clean ingredient products…
…often have a green, leafy, natural-looking logo. That is because it supports their underlying mission and products.
It would feel out of place if a soothing spa that offers massages and facials had a harsh, black and white logo, right?
Because those colors designed like that don’t evoke a peaceful, soothing feeling.
So beyond the name of your business, your visual identity or the way you display that name and brand your graphics, website, and more…
…all do truly have an impact on your audience.
So it’s important that steps 1-3 are all apparent in the brand guide you design in this step.
Step 5: Finalize your website.
Once you put together your brand guide, you’ll want to update your website to reflect your logo, brand colors, and fonts.
If you want to learn important tips to keep in mind when designing or redesigning a small business website design, check out this post next.
The last step you’ll need to do for your small business branding is setting up your social media accounts.
You’ll want to research to see which social platforms your specific target market spends the most time; is it on Facebook? LinkedIn? Instagram? Pinterest?
Determine the top 2 or 3 platforms and make sure your accounts on there are:
- set up correctly and fully, and
- unified in branding with the same names, usernames, logo profile icon, and colors.
Now we have countless social media marketing posts here so we’re not going to get into how to market yourself from there.
You can check out any of those other videos on our blog for that.
For this step, it’s just important to know that people check out your social media just as much if not more than your website.
So it’s important to have consistent branding throughout because brand consistency has been known to increase revenue by 33%.
Finally, don’t forget to also update all your marketing materials such as your:
- email marketing templates,
- promotional material,
- product packaging,
- business card,
…and more with your logo, brand colors, and fonts.
And that wraps up our 6 steps for small business branding!
We know sometimes branding can seem sort of abstract with no clear starting point, so we hope this post helps give you some direction and clarity!
And if you’re looking for affordable branding services, look no further. Contact us today to learn more about it.