Biz Features

The Do’s and Don’ts of Branding a Small Business

by . March 24th, 2014

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If you’re the owner of a small business, it’s likely that ‘branding’ isn’t on the top of your list of things to do. You’ve got to look after your customers, do your accounts, create staff rotas and chase unpaid invoices; because of this, it can often seem like you simply don’t have time to worry about creating a brand for your business.

In the modern world though, branding is a fundamental tool for success and when it’s done right, it has the ability to supercharge your business and push you ahead of your competitors.

However, branding is a complex subject and many small business owners that attempt to create a brand for their business make mistakes.

In this guide, we’ll talk about what you should and shouldn’t be focussing on when it comes to branding your business. We’ll also look at some common mistakes and how you can avoid them.

The Do’s of Branding a Small Business

Here are some of the things that you’ll definitely need to focus on when branding your business:

#1 – DO Create an Eye-catching Logo

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No matter what size your business is, an eye-catching logo is fundamental to your success. A lot of small businesses opt for relatively simplistic logos (i.e. their business name written in a Times New Roman font) but if you want to push ahead of the competition, this just won’t cut it.

Creating a logo is a complex task and although funds are probably tight as a small business, this is often one of the areas that it pays to hire a professional. You can get a logo created on freelancing sites for just a few dollars (usually anywhere from $50 upwards) so it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

If you prefer to save money and do things yourself, check out this comprehensive guide on logo design from start to finish.

#2 – DO Create a Slogan

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Most of the world’s big brands utilise slogans to define their brand and often, these companies spend millions of dollars creating and refining the perfect strapline.

As a small business owner, it’s doubtful that you’ll have this sort of budget to put into creating a slogan but with a bit of creativity, you can easily create one for free.

Think about what makes your business unique and jot down slogan ideas. If you can make your slogan amusing or catchy, it will often have a greater effect and become more memorable. It’s all down to your creativity.

#3 – DO Embrace Your Business Size

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These days, more people than ever are buying products and services from large multinational corporations (e.g. McDonalds, Coca Cola etc). However, these are often faceless brands that offer atrocious levels of customer service.

As a small business, you have a unique opportunity. People will likely want to do business with you because of the superior level of customer service you’re able to offer.

Therefore, you should embrace your business size. If you only have two employees, don’t think of this as a negative thing. Instead, embrace it and let your customers know why this is beneficial to them.

You can do this by using words and phrases like “our small yet dedicated team” and “personalised service” on your website and other marketing materials.

#4 – DO Be Consistent In Your Visual Identity

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One of the mistakes that a lot of small business owners make when it comes to their branding is being inconsistent. If you look at any large brand, you’ll notice that they use the same colour scheme, logo, fonts and so forth in all of their marketing materials and advertisements.

You should strive to do the same as a small business. It pays to use a set colour scheme for your marketing materials (e.g. business cards, flyers, banners etc) and stick to it. You should also use the same logo and font(s) throughout any marketing materials.

As a general rule of thumb, try and stick to just two or three colours for your visual identity too. Any more than that can often look confusing or unprofessional.

 

The Don’ts of Branding a Small Business

Here’s a few things you should avoid when you’re branding your small business:

#1 – DON’T Try to Mimic Large Brands

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A common mistake small business owners make when branding their businesses is to try and mimic the look and feel of the big brands. This is rarely a good idea.

Doing this can often make you look unprofessional and usually, people can see that you’re essentially “ripping off” the big brands. It may alienate customers and have a negative impact on your business.

What’s more, a lot of consumers are currently actively seeking out smaller establishments and companies as they’re sick and tired of receiving poor customer service, overpriced products/services and impersonalised service from the big brands.

By carving your own unique identity, you have the opportunity to tap into this customer base and create a brand that will perform better in the long run.

#2 – DON’T Be Scared To Be Different

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It’s important to remember that all of the big brands we know today were also small businesses at one time or another. The reason they grew to be such huge household names is down to one simple attribute: they dared to be different.

Just because other small businesses in your industry or local area aren’t actively investing in branding, it doesn’t mean that you have to be the same. If you happen to think of a bold logo design or slogan that feels a bit different or risky, chances are that it will be successful. You just have to believe in it.

Consumers tend to like businesses that dare to be different (just look at Virgin or Apple, for example) and stand out from the crowd. It’s almost always better to be unique than to get lost in a crowded marketplace.

Conclusion

Creating a brand for your small business doesn’t have to be difficult. So long as you make sure to develop your brand and visual identity around your own USP’s, you’ll stand a good chance at making an impact on your target audience.

It also doesn’t have to be costly. Your brand is about much more than just an expensive logo; it’s about creating an identity that your target customers can relate to.

 Header image:captcreate via photopin cc

Author Bio:

Neil WrightNeil is a UK-based design and branding enthusiast with a passion for print design. He works as part of the design team for a large printing company in England.

 

 

 

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