Last updated on March 15th, 2023
If you’re a small business owner, 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 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 done right, it can 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.
This guide will discuss what you should and shouldn’t focus on when 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 need to focus on when branding your business:
#1 – DO Create an Eye-catching Logo
No matter your business size, an eye-catching logo is fundamental to your success. Many small businesses opt for simplistic logos (i.e., their business name written in 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 for a small business, this is often one of the areas in which 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 these logo-designing tips to help you stand out.
#2 – DO Create a Slogan
Most of the world’s big brands utilize 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 create a slogan, but with some 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 anymore significantly catchy, it will often have a more significant effect and become more memorable. It’s all down to your creativity.
#3 – DO Embrace Your Business Size
Nowadays, more people buy products and services from large multinational corporations (e.g., McDonalds, Coca-Cola, etc.). However, these are often faceless brands offering atrocious customer service levels.
As a small business, you have a unique opportunity. People will likely want to do business with you because of your superior customer service. There are lots of ways to communicate these days! You can use a business phone system, email, chatbots, and various social media marketing tools.
Therefore, you should embrace your business size. If you only have two employees, don’t consider this unfavorable. Instead, embrace it and let your customers know why this benefits them.
You can use words and phrases like “our small yet dedicated team” and “personalized service” on your website and other marketing materials.
#4 – DO Be Consistent In Your Visual Identity
One mistake many small business owners make regarding their branding is being inconsistent. If you look at any large brand, you’ll notice that they use the same color scheme, logo, fonts, and so forth in all their marketing materials and advertisements.
It would be best if you strived to do the same as a small business. It pays to use a set color 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 marketing materials.
As a general rule of thumb, stick to just two or three colors for your visual identity. Any more than that can often look confusing or unprofessional.
#5 – DO Hire Professionals
One crucial aspect of branding a small business is to have a strong online presence. A website serves as a virtual storefront for your business, and it’s often the first interaction customers have with your brand. Therefore, it’s essential to have a website that looks good and is user-friendly, responsive, and optimized for search engines.
Hiring a professional web designer can make all the difference in achieving this. Professional web designers have the skills and expertise to create a website that reflects your brand’s identity and effectively communicates your message to your target audience. They can also ensure that your website is optimized for search engines, which can help increase your online visibility and drive more traffic to your site.
The Don’ts of Branding a Small Business
Here are a few things you should avoid when you’re branding your small business:
#1 – DON’T Try to Mimic Large Brands
A common mistake small business owners make when branding their businesses is trying to mimic the big brands’ look and feel. This is rarely a good idea.
Doing this can often make you look unprofessional. Usually, people see that you’re essentially “ripping off” the big brands. It may alienate customers and harm your business.
What’s more, many consumers seek out smaller establishments and companies as they’re sick and tired of receiving poor customer service, overpriced products/services, and impersonalized 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
It’s important to remember that all the big brands we know today were also small businesses at one time or anothcolossalThey grew to be sa straightforward household names 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 doesn’t mean you have to be the same. It will be successful if you think of a bold logo design or slogan that feels slightly different or risky. You have to believe in it.
Consumers like businesses that dare to be different (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.
Creating a brand for your small business doesn’t have to be complicated. So long as you make sure to develop your brand and visual identity around your own USPs, 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 to which your target customers can relate.
Header image:captcreate via photopin cc
Neil is a UK-based design and branding enthusiast passionate about print design. He works as part of the design team for a large printing company in England.