Branding is a core element of any company’s marketing efforts, yet many small business owners put too little thought into branding and don’t adhere to a consistent branding style. Establishing a strong brand identity can make your business stand out online, and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Here are a few easy steps to creating a brand identity for your small business.
What is brand identity?
Brand identity is essentially the face of a brand. It’s the visual component of a brand that represents those larger ideas.
Brand identity includes logos, typography, colors, packaging, and messaging, and it complements and reinforces the existing reputation of a brand. Brand identity attracts new customers to a brand while making existing customers feel at home and familiar with your small business.
Start by identifying what your brand is
The first step to creating brand identity is to understand what your brand really is. Were do you stand in the marketplace? Who is your customer? Who are your competitors? If these questions sound familiar, you’ve likely created a marketing strategy that includes some of these very questions. Use that marketing strategy to help guide your concept of your brand.
What makes your small business unique?
Yes, we’re talking about your unique value proposition: what is it? What makes your small business brand different than the others out there? Remember, you want your brand identity to stand out, clearly define who you are, and showcase those unique attributes to your potential and existing clients. Your unique value proposition is what makes your company competitive, so don’t glaze over this step. Here are four easy steps to determine your UVP:
- Who is your target market?
- Why should customers buy from you instead of your competitors?
- What pain point does your product or service address?
- What’s your mission? What do you stand for?
Choose your brand’s creative elements
This is where you start identifying the look, feel and voice of your small business brand. You want your brand to be genuine so really think about how you want to come across to your audience. Funny? Formal? Educational? Traditional? Edgy? Take a step back and look at your corporate culture, even if you’re a culture of one! Who are you? How do you talk? What’s your tone, your vibe? Now take that company personality and start creating the visual elements of your brand. Logo, colors, taglines… it all needs to pull together to present an impression of who your small business is. Even fonts give off a certain vibe: do you really want everything you create to be in Comic Sans font? Really look at all aspects, from colors to logos, to voice to fonts, etc. All these creative elements are part of building your company brand identity.
Applying your brand creatives
You’ve decided who you are, what you’re good at, what makes you different, and all your creatives support that company vibe. Well done! The next step is to apply those creatives to your marketing efforts. From your social media channels to your website to your guest blog submissions, apply those creatives. Start with your website. Make sure your website content reflects your brand identity. Use a consistent voice. Keep in mind what your UVP is. Really connect with your target audience on your website. And don’t forget the visuals of your site. Consistent colors and fonts, of course, but also the visuals overall. Images, etc. all play a part in the brand identity. Keep it consistent. Then move to social media. Voice, tone, visuals, messaging, etc. …keep it consistent with your brand. Consistent use of your logo is crucial too.
Be consistent but don’t be stale
There’s a fine line with being consistent and being stale. Yes, you want your brand identity to shine through so your audience identifies with you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t occasionally take a second look and refresh your small business brand identity. Here are a few ideas for refreshing your brand identity:
- Update your logo – this doesn’t mean completely change it, but simply update it a bit. If Coca Cola, the most recognized brand in the world can do it, so can you!
- Update your colors – while you may not completely change your colors, maybe it’s time to introduce a new accent color, or put more emphasis on one color over another. Again, this is about a refresh, not a do-over.
- Update your messaging – look at your tagline to start. Does it still reflect who you are and what you do, or does it need to be refined? Sometimes, brand promises change or expand and so the tagline needs to change. Or maybe the tagline who chose originally never really resonated with who you are. Time for a refresh!
Creating a brand identity doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does take some thought and effort. If your small business needs help with creating or refreshing your brand identity, reach out to a small business marketing professional who can help you create the identity that will resonate with your target audience.