Business Branding 101 | Small Business Branding Checklist: 5 Tips For Success
Business Branding 101 | So, you’ve decided to launch a business? Great! You’re not the only one, though: over six million businesses are started each year, making it vitally important that your business stands out in the crowd. What sets your company apart from every other company in your industry? It’s the brand – and building a successful business starts with this key factor. In the startup phase, however, you may not always have the budget to put aside for branding, and for many, it’s an afterthought, which is a bad way of looking at your company.
Think branding is only for large international corporations? Think again. No matter how innovative your small business service or product is, you have to make potential clients aware of it before you can turn it into a success. One of the most important elements of your small business marketing is having a consistent brand – from logos and business cards, to your website and email messages. It’s how your current and potential clients quickly identify you against competitors. Here are some guidelines for building a strong brand that positions your small business clearly and effectively in the marketplace, and helps attract repeat business and referrals.
Define Your Brand | Business Branding 101
Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. However, your efforts to brand your small business won’t get far if they’re not authentic. Don’t try to cast your brand as luxury if you target price-sensitive clients. Avoid being too “fun” if your ideal client tends to be more serious. Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and potential clients. And don’t rely on what you think they think. Know what they think.
Design A Unique Logo | Business Branding 101
It’s hard to argue against the importance of a logo. It’s often what clients first identify with in a brand. The logo can make or break a business, and while it is often the first element seen, it can also be the last thing remembered. As you think about your logo, keep your target audience and products or services in mind because you want your logo to convey your brand and appeal to your audience. A great logo builds trust and will help to pull your brand together.
Find Your Voice | Business Branding 101
What you say is important, but don’t underestimate the way you say it. Your company’s voice is the language and personality you and your employees will use to deliver your branding message and reach your target audience. Your marketing materials, both online and print, should all have the same message, and should be created with the same voice that you use for all other communications. This includes your website, blog, social networking campaigns and correspondence. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. With so many social media outlets and a variety of voices being projected and heard in real time, being able to be heard has never been more crucial.
Keep Your Messaging And Visual Identity Consistent | Business Branding 101
Make sure that once you have agreed which branding you will be using that you use it across all your marketing channels. Why should you care about brand consistency? You should care because brand consistency leads to familiarity, and familiarity leads to trust. Design templates and define brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. From business cards and logo to email newsletters and brick-and-mortar signage, all of your printed communications and sales materials should look, feel and sound like they come from the same source.
Be True To Your Brand | Business Branding 101
Although this is common sense, you’d be surprised how many small businesses ruin relationships with their clients by failing to keep their promises. The money is in your relationships. People refer those they can vouch for, those who they know, like, trust and know will go the extra mile. Clients won’t return to you, or refer you to their friends and family if you don’t deliver on your brand promise. Some companies stop focusing on building great products and services when they become successful. This is a mistake. Even the strongest brand will suffer when it creates average or below average products or services.