Beginner’s Guide to Branding for Small Businesses
This article was contributed by agency Objective.
What is a brand exactly? And do you really need one for your small business?
Mary Van de Wiel, from NY Brand Lab said it best when it comes to branding for small businesses;
What is Branding?
Branding, put simply, is ‘the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.’ (Branding, Entrepreneur.com).
But what else is branding? Branding differentiates you from your competitors. Branding is how you want your audience and everyone else to view your company. Branding is what your audience can expect from your services or products.
How to Create a Brand
1. Define your brand
Before you create your brand you must first define your brand. Clearly define the following to focus your brand:
- Company mission statement.
- Characteristics of your company.
- Characteristics you would like your company to have.
- Who is our target audience?
- What are our company goals?
2. Create the Logo and Color Scheme
First let’s talk colour schemes. Though this may not seem like a super important decision for your brand; let me assure you that it is. Why? The human mind is extremely responsive to visual stimuli, which most of us already know. However, colours play a major contributor in this response, which you may or may not have known.
Each and every color will affect your brand differently as there are underlying messages behind each. The shade and tone of your color will affect your brand as well.
Meanings associated with differing colors:
- Pink: Feminine, Love, Tranquil
- Red: Power, Passion
- Orange: Health, Energy, Warmth, Excitement
- Green: Nature, Soothing, Money
- Blue: Peace, Loyal, Clean, Trust
- Purple: Magic, Creativity, Royalty
- White: Purity, Cleanliness, Simplicity
- Black: Power, Sophistication
- Brown: Rural, Outdoors, Masculine
You need to take ample time when creating your logo, with a professional logo designer. Your company’s logo is a crucial piece in creating an effective brand. Think of your logo as your company’s identity. Your logo is what your audience will learn to associate with your company and its services or products. See what makes a good logo?
When creating your logo, think long term. A good question to as yourself is, ‘what logo would I like to see my company have in 10 years?’
You also want to determine how you are going to use your logo. Are you going to use it online, on billboards, stationary, vehicles, custom cardboard displays etc? You want to create a logo that is adaptable to each and every possible way you plan to use it.
3. Create a Tagline
What is a tagline? Simply put, a tagline is a unique phrase that links your name to your brand.
Taglines are tricky to come up with and more work that one might think. However, don’t get so focused on creating the perfect tagline that your hands start sweating, your temple vein starts pulsing at an alarming rate and you just can’t think or enjoy the process!
Do this instead… Instead of focusing on what your product or service is that your brand represents, focus instead on the benefits of your services or products. This is what your tagline should ‘say’ to your audience.
Examples of great taglines:
- Nike: “Just do it.”
- LG: “Life’s Good”
- Apple: “Think Different”
- Lego: “Play on”
- Walmart: “Save Money Live Better”
- McDonalds: “I’m lovin it.”
- L’Oreal: “Because you’re worth it.”
- Disneyland: “The happiest place on earth.”
4. Integrate the ‘Brand’
Your brand is now ready to be integrated into every aspect of your company. Small businesses have a leg up in this area, because with fewer employees comes the opportunity of being more personable with your audience.
Proper training of your staff will ensure that everyone is on the same page with the brand. Why is this important? I’ll explain using the example of a cleaning services business. If the business is trying to portray their brand as being ‘professional’ and ‘clean’, then an employee who is wearing ‘dirty’ or ‘inappropriate’ clothing will confuse your audience. Proper training of your employees will considerably help with any of these issues.
5. Be Consistent and Authentic
Lastly, but very importantly, make sure every communication you send out in regards to your company is consistent and in line with the brand you have created. A confusing brand will deter rather than attract your audience.
Branding is an essential part of creating a successful small business. Follow the steps above to create a brand that envelops the essence of your company and reap the rewards that come along with it.
About the author: Objective, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, is an ad agency focused on the intersection of design and technology. They specialize in web design, web development, branding and software development. Learn more about Objective.