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Small Business Branding the Right Way

Growing your small business requires one critical ingredient: a brand. If you’re looking to help your small business rise above the fray in the online market, there are a few things you’ll need to know. Sure, a brand helps set you apart from every other business out there, but what makes a good brand? You want your brand to tell your story, but to do so in a way that’s appealing, memorable, and compelling. Don’t fall prey to the common pitfalls that plague most small businesses. Here’s how to build your brand right.

Effective branding tells your story in an interesting, memorable way, differentiating your brand from your competition.

What does “branding” mean for your small business?

Branding is the part of marketing that tells the story of your business. What do I mean? Think of a brand you know well—how about a small business that went big like Ben & Jerry’s. When you see their logo, you connect instantly with their company values. At the very least you know a little about them—progressive, socially conscious, environmentally conscious company that sells ice cream with fun names and natural ingredients.

Good business branding should tell your story with your company name, symbols, designs, and logos. According to Entrepreneur, branding is “your promise to your customer.” Nike’s swoosh promises you fitness with solitary drive. Ben & Jerry’s promises good ice cream that contributes to social causes. Starbuck’s promises strong coffee served by company “partners.” These are distinctly different promises from what Adidas, Breyers, or Dunkin’ Donuts offer. That’s branding.

How do you create a brand that says all it needs to say about your business?

There are five key ingredients to designing a good brand for your small business:

1 Know what you have to offer

Your business is as unique as you are, so incorporate some of that wonderful ‘you-ness’ into your brand. What do you believe in? What are your business values? What is the passion behind your business? What is your reason for coming to work every day? These are important aspects of your business’s identity, and letting your customers know what they are will give them something to connect with when they walk through your door or click onto your website.

You aren’t just another run-of-the-mill big box store. You’re a small business, and small businesses have special relationships with their clients. You play an important role in your community and an even larger role for your loyal customers. Make this feature a focal point so the whole world can know just how important you and your business are.

2 Know your customers

Your loyal customers come back to you for a reason. You probably know why. If you don’t, then ask. I’m sure your customers will be happy to tell you why they return. Once you know what this reason is, you can incorporate it into your brand to ensure that all of your potential clients know why they should come to you instead of your competitors.

Customers are loyal to a brand because of perceived value, satisfaction, and trust. Understand your customers’ commitment to your brand.

3 Design for your demographic

If your business caters to a specific demographic, make sure you use a design that will speak directly to that audience. Your web page typography, layout, symbols, imagery, and design should appeal to your targeted customers so they know from the first glance that you’re talking to them.

People appreciate things that are visualy appealing, but there is a time and a place for everything. Nothing screams unprofessional like a Comic Sans fault on a law firm website. Don’t rely on a design just because of how pleasing it looks to you. Ask yourself, what does this say to the customer?

business branding typeface example

4 Transparent communication

Be honest and clear about what your business has to offer. Put yourself out into the marketplace just as you are. What I mean is, don’t try to be everything to everyone. This is the primary rookie mistake we see when trying to help businesses brand themselves. It’s like your mother always told you, be yourself. And remember that customer service will make or break even the most powerful of corporations.

Authentic branding can build your business by clearly communicating your company’s message and mission.

5 Consult with a specialist

When it comes to getting a small business to really stand out in the marketplace, there is a lot to know, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact us to get help making your small business impact the marketplace the way you want it to.

With countless businesses to choose from online, the best way to convince customers to choose you over the other guy is to leverage what makes you special. Creating a brand helps you broadcast what you can specifically offer customers in a way that makes them pay attention. By choosing a design that fits your demographic and being transparent about what you have to offer, you’ll build a base of loyal customers to engage with.

small business branding tips graphic

Jon Whitbeck

As a web designer and developer, I have managed, built, launched, and maintained websites that meet my clients' objectives. I develop dynamic websites with content management systems based on the latest design trends. My background as an educator and instructor helps me create user-friendly interfaces and teach my clients how to update their own sites.

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