So you’re a small business and think you probably don’t need branding, you might think it’s something only big businesses have to worry about but you got it all wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’re a startup or large business, you need to consider branding from the jump. Sure, bigger companies have bigger amounts of budget to throw to create a bigger connecting and effective branding strategy. But you don’t need to have a large budget to create an impactful brand, it’s actually more affordable and very cost-effective.
Today I’ll be your branding consultant for your small business that’ll help you get to the next level.
Define your brand identity
You may think digital branding is simply a logo design but it’s much more than that. When you reach out to a digital branding company for their service you’ll learn that. Branding is the look and feel of your visual assets. So before even starting with your logo you need to the tactical steps in your branding strategy that’ll create the connection your business will have with your audience. Things such as who you are a company, how are you going to treat your customers, this is your brand identity.
Figuring out your brand persona
Some people already know how they want their business to interact with their audience and others don’t but that’s OK too. For that you’ll need to ask yourself some deep and meaningful questions in regards to your business expectations in the long run (5 years from now). Try asking yourself the following questions:
- How would you describe your business in three words?
- How would you like to be viewed as in your own industry?
- What’s your mission and core values?
- What sort of impact do you want to have in your industry?
The more in touch you have with who you are, the more connection you’ll have that’ll help you stand out with your competition and gain customers.
Figure out who your target customers are
A lot of businesses put more effort into figuring out who they are and not who they’re trying to sell their products/services to, resulting in a poor experience with your audience. This is neglect and you will suffer from it. Take your time, who’s your ideal customer? How old are they? What’s their income and education? Are they all male or female? What companies do they normally do business with? How do they make their final decision to purchase? And how would you come into that process with your product/service? Why would they need it? Once you understand who your target market is, you can use this a guide to your branding strategy, resulting in a much meaningful impact that truly connects and makes sense to your customers that you want to work with the most.
Establish what makes you different
So there’s a big chance there are many other companies doing what you are trying to do so what will make you stand out? What makes you different than other businesses? Are you the best at providing customer service with your services? Is this a family business for decades? Whatever it may be, you want to show this and infuse it to your branding strategy.
No matter what your business does, chances are, there are already other companies doing the same thing. So, if you want your business to stand out, you need to figure out what makes it stand out.
But what’s working already for you?
So you already have customers and something is working for you, you want to bring that along with you to have most effective branding strategy. If you haven’t found what’s working for you just yet, you can do some research in your industry. Where are they most active and what techniques are they using? Ofcourse you don’t want to steal anything from them but you want to consider what they’ve gotten right and make sure you’re not making mistakes. A prime example would be social media, what channels are they using? If you’re an architect you don’t want to spend most of your effort on twitter, you’ll want to do it on Houzz because that’s where your customers are more active. Also, what colors are they using in their logo? It wouldn’t make sense to have a bright red logo when everyone else is using low tone colors because it doesn’t scare their audience. But it’s different for every industry to that’s why it’s important to do your research.
Getting your visuals
Now you have everything to start designing your brand using the guides you’ve created for yourself that’ll make you unique. This step is important for everybody, small or large businesses.
Below are some key points to start designing your brand.
- A brand style guide. Before you start designing, it’s important to figure out the details of your design strategy, like your brand color palette, fonts, and design do’s and dont’s. A brand style guide is a great way to organize your design details and make sure you, your designer, and anyone else working on your brand is on the same page with your brand’s direction.
- A logo. Your logo is like the face of your company; it’s the first thing most of your customers will see when they encounter your brand—and it’s the visual asset that will be most closely tied with your business. Your logo should be the first thing you design, as it will act as the jumping-off point for all of your other visuals (like your website and your business cards).
- Business cards. If you’re in business, you need a business card—and the design should match your logo and your other design assets.
- A website. Your website is like your company’s piece of digital real estate—and when people visit your website, the look and feel should be consistent with the rest of your branding.
Your business might need additional brandings such as packaging or letterhead. But what’s the most important thing to keep in mind here? No matter how a customer encounter with your brand, the look, and feel and design should be consistent. If you’re not consistent when branding, you’re risking confusion with your customers and could lose them to the competition.
There is much more to branding than your logo, there’s marketing strategies and how you should go about grabbing the customers’ attention, but most importantly, what do you do once you connect with your customers. You want to keep the experience with your brand to have a positive impact. This will help you succeed in the long term, you need to be the superhero for your customers and make customer service your top priority. This will have your customers talk good about their experience with your brand and recommend you to their friends.
Look for opportunities to improve the customer experience within your business. Is it confusing to place an order on your website? Revamp the design to make it more intuitive for your customers. Is it a hassle to make a return? Send customers a prepaid return label and clear instructions to make the process easier and more straightforward. The point is, the better you can make your customer experience, the more you’ll be known as a company that cares about its customers—and the more customers you’ll get as a result.
You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to effectively brand your business. All you need is a little creativity and some good, old-fashioned hard work.
And now that you know how to effectively (and inexpensively!) brand your small business, all that’s left to do? Get out there and get branding!