Small business branding

Small Business Branding

Explore how branding can differentiate your products and services from your competitors and develop customer loyalty

↳ Annette S. & Matt R.

Establishing a brand identity is one of the first key tasks for a new business to accomplish. No matter what industry you are in, and no matter what your goals for the business may be, branding is essential. The earlier you can think about what you want your brand to represent, the easier it will be to craft that image.

It’s easy to think about branding in terms of visual assets alone. And that certainly is a good place to start. For instance, a brand’s logo plays an important role in how the business will be seen by customers and competitors alike. But branding is about much more than a logo. In fact, the very first step you take in forming your business – giving it a name – is the start of your branding journey. We’d like to walk you through the importance of business branding and how you can chart a course toward establishing a trusted, respected brand of your own.

Why Branding Matters

Some business owners struggle to understand – or accept – the importance of branding. New business owners tend to believe that if they offer quality products or services, at a competitive price, that will be enough. But that is rarely the case. Building a brand is about building an identity for your business, and that identity has the potential to be even more powerful than anything you sell.

Your brand is how your customers relate to your business. It might help to think of your brand as the ‘personality’ of your business. If your brand was an actual person, how would it behave? Often, a brand is simply an extension of the owner of the business, especially in the case of smaller businesses. When a customer gets to know your brand, it is like they are getting to know you personally.

The power of branding is immense for every business from those just getting started to the biggest in the world. How branding impacts your company will depend on your market and how you choose to approach this matter, but some of the key points are as follows –

You can’t overestimate the importance of branding, or the value it can offer your business. When you think about the biggest companies in the world, branding is something they all have in common. Take a look around your home or office – brands are everywhere, and chances are brand identity had something to do with why you purchased those products.

The Big Picture of Your Brand

We hope you are now convinced of the importance of branding for every business. Building a known, trusted brand should be one of your top priorities as a business owner. But what does that mean? How do you go about building a new brand? It’s not easy, but it’s likely to include at least some of the following components.

It should go without saying that the three points above are just a starting point for how you can outline your brand. Other ways to stand out as a brand include being an innovator in your industry, offering products that are highly customizable, serving a very narrow niche better than anyone else, and so on.

While this all can sound a bit overwhelming, it’s actually pretty easy for most business owners to sketch out how they want their brand to look. After all, you had the idea for the business in the first place, so branding it should come naturally as long as it is authentic. Spend some time on the task of outlining your desired image and the following steps should become clear.

A Visual Identity to Match

Finally, we get to the visual piece of the puzzle. This is when the ideas you have for your brand come to life in the form of designs like logos, marketing materials, merchandise, etc. The task here is simple but not always easy – to create visual assets that align perfectly with the desired identity you have in mind for your brand.

If you are just getting started with your business, you don’t need to worry about immediately developing every visual asset you will ever need. There are, however, a few pieces that you will want to address right away.

The combination of logo, fonts, and color scheme will take you a long way toward establishing a solid visual identity to go with your brand. The look of your brand will likely change some over time, and that’s okay – try to stay true to your roots while also allowing the visuals to keep up with the times.

Balancing Identity with Growth

Once you have defined your brand and given it a distinctive look, it will be time to take it to the market and get down to work. If you are successful, you’ll start to gain a share of the market in your field and you’ll be able to grow along with your customer base. It’s a thrilling experience to create something from scratch and have it catch on with your target audience.

As time moves along, your task is going to shift from defining your brand to helping it grow and adapt as necessary. This is tricky because you don’t want to abandon the identity that you established from the start, but you also don’t want to be so stuck in your ways that you refuse to adapt to what the market is telling you about your business. We mentioned above that the look of your brand is likely to change over time – that is also true for the identity of the brand as a whole.

Whether it’s the type of products and services you sell, the way you deliver service, or something else entirely, don’t be closed off to the idea of letting your brand grow. The challenge here is to hold on to what is working and what your customers like about your brand while also leaving room for improvement and change. It’s a balancing act to be sure, but the brands that stand the test of time are constantly paying attention to this challenge.