– The basics of small business branding consist of a few key elements: a logo suite, your unique voice, visual design (mood board/colorways/fonts), and your mission.
– If your branding is set up correctly, it is the guiding light for your business to communicate its authority.
– Elevate your brand above the competition by being consistent, clear, and using your character to connect with your customers.
– Don’t overthink it.
What Is Small Business Branding
What is a small business? Generally speaking, the SBA defines a small business as one that employs fewer than 1,500 people and generates a maximum annual revenue of $41.5 million (as of 2017).(source)
If you’re running a small business in 2022, then having a clear brand behind your business is absolutely essential. The basics of small business branding consist of a few key elements: a logo suite, your unique voice, visual design (mood board/colorways/fonts), and your mission.
These days everybody has a brand, so it’s even more important that your business has one. And the businesses that take their brand seriously are the ones who succeed.
But don’t just take my word for it. There are millions of people in the world who would love to be successful entrepreneurs and have a successful small businesses. What is the difference between successful entrepreneurs and non-successful ones? Successful entrepreneurs took the time to set up branding for their business and they execute that branding consistently.
Don’t think that because you’re not a large corporation, or your small business doesn’t generate enough revenue you don’t need a brand. I’m here to tell you that that’s not true. If you want to position yourself as a business to be taken seriously, then you need to have your branding in place.
Why is it so important for your small business to have a clear brand
If your branding is set up correctly, it is the guiding light for your business to communicate its authority. And if you are brave enough to have started a business, then you have authority in that space.
Your branding is the tool that helps you communicate what sets you apart from your competition. Remember that piece of branding I briefly mentioned before called your unique voice? By having your branding set in place, you will know how to communicate your voice authentically without worrying that you are copying someone else by osmosis. This is what helps people to see how you are different from what is out there and it starts to build trust in your brand.
All in all, branding is what sets the framework for your entire business. From how you market, what platforms you use and how you speak with your customers. It is how your customers think of your small business. And it helps you, as the business owner, stay confident in what you are putting out to the world.
“Branding is the process of creating an identity for a company in the mind of a consumer.”(source)
Effectively Using Your Branding Elevates Your Business Above the Competition
Part of human nature is that we crave relationships. And that is no different when it comes to your business’s relationship with its customers. Consumers love to feel personally connected to brands. And as a small business, that’s the kind of customer relationship you are trying to harness because these are your greatest marketers.
There are three key elements that, if done right by utilizing your branding, will build trust with your consumers and set your business apart from the competition. They are consistency, clarity, and character.
Consistency Builds Trust
Think about the most important relationships in your life. The good ones work because there is consistency in them. Your partner comes home every day after work, your friend Snapchats you every week, your children constantly need something. Because each relationship is consistent, you have built mutual trust with these people in your life.
That is what your customer needs from you.
But it’s not just about posting on social media regularly. (Even though consistency in that area is extremely important as well.) It’s about being consistent in your messaging and images.
Your customers want to know that they can rely on you to show up every day in the way that they know you. They should be able to recognize your logos, fonts, colorways, and your voice. Your branding should be so clear that there is no confusion to them when you pop in their feed of who you are. This obviously applies to every type of media, I’m using social media here as an example.
How to Build a Consistent Brand
- Create a brand package. This consists of your logo suite, fonts, colorways, and mood board.
- If this is not in your wheelhouse, hire it out. There are so many amazing designers out there who do this for a living. Don’t be afraid to let someone else take the reins on this.
- Utilize Canva Pro or Adobe Photoshop for easy access to your branding elements.
- Canva Pro is great for small business owners who don’t quite have that creative eye. You can easily upload your logos and fonts, and save your colorways for easy access while creating marketing images.
- Adobe Photoshop is for more seasoned creatives who want more autonomy in their work.
- Make sure that you are using your mood board.
- Moodboards are an essential tool that will help you visualize and create your overall brand feel, especially when creating for different social media outlets.
- It may seem like something you or your teenage sister used to do in junior high, but having this visual will help you stay consistent at all times and across different mediums.
Clarity is What Separates a Strong Brand From a Weak Brand
Brand clarity leaves a warm, fuzzy feeling with your consumers after coming in contact with your business. They know who you are, what you do/offer, and how you can help them. Plus, they enjoyed the experience so they plan to come back for more.
If you were to meet someone new and they introduced themselves by not really telling you what their name is and didn’t want to give any information about themselves, wouldn’t you think that was weird? I have a feeling you would leave that encounter saying to yourself, “I have no idea who that was but I’m probably not going to talk to them ever again.”
When potential customers come in contact with your brand, they should know exactly who you are and what you provide. There should never be any confusion. For example, “Hi! I’m Nike. I sell athletic shoes, apparel, and accessories for people of all shapes, sizes, and ages. I want you to be active so I’ve created all of these products for you. Just do it.”
Your business’s first impression is a direct reflection of whether or not you have clear branding set in place. There is so much information overload nowadays because everyone is constantly connected so you need to make your brand memorable from the start. Nobody is going to take the time to try to figure out what it is you are offering.
When you have a clear brand you are able to implement it into every facet of your business seamlessly.
Know Your Brand Character and Use It to Connect
Every day there are thousands of people starting a new business. This creates a lot of noise in the universe, especially within your niche. That is why knowing your brand voice (character) and using it to connect with consumers is essential to building personal relationships and trust that can eventually convert to sales.
Are you having trouble figuring out your brand character? The best thing to do is to create a persona. Visualize everything from what your character looks like, how she talks, what she wears, what kind of music does she listen to, etc. Doing this will help you communicate to your audience using that voice. (Spoiler alert: your brand character/voice can be your own voice!)
Once you have your brand character down to a T, start connecting with your customers. Whether that is on social media or in person, it is important that your customers know who you are and that you want a relationship with them.
It’s Time to Build Your Small Business’s Brand
Now that we’ve gone over what it takes to build a strong brand for your small business, do you feel overwhelmed? Don’t. Don’t overthink this process. Take your business seriously from day one and your consumers will as well. If your small business utilizes its branding intelligently, then you will stand out from your competitors and success will follow.
Just remember these three things:
- Consistency builds trust. When you meet your customer’s expectations and establish a relationship that they can count on, they will trust your business.
- Be clear in what your small business is and relay that message. This world is constantly connected and brand clarity will help your customer’s from getting confused.
- Show your personality. Your brand character is what makes your business unique from your competition. There is only one you, embrace it and let your consumers embrace it.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to just start. So take the leap, follow these steps, and watch your small business come to life.
If small business branding isn’t something you want to tackle, I’m here to help! You can contact me to set up a discovery call or send me an email if you prefer to chat that way.