A business owner's hand holding a pen over a notebook with icons and words related to branding, marketing, and ideas scribbled on it

The Small Business’ Guide to Branding

Many small business owners wear many hats. You are the CEO, CFO, marketing department, sales team, and janitor all rolled into one. So, it’s no wonder that branding often falls by the wayside. After all, there are only so many hours in the day, and you can’t do everything yourself. However, if you want your small business to be successful, you need to make branding a priority.

Your brand is what sets you apart from your competitors. It is what makes you recognizable and memorable. Think of some of the most successful brands in the world—Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple—what do they have in common? They are all instantly recognizable, and they all have a strong brand identity. That’s because they have invested time and resources into building a strong brand. And that’s what you need to do if you want your small business to succeed.

What is Branding?

Branding is the process of creating a name, identity, and image for your company that will distinguish it from your competitors. A strong brand will instill trust in your customers and make them loyal advocates for your business. If you have a strong brand that customers trust, they will recommend your products or services to others, which 74% of customers trust over everything else. This also sets up an expectation of excellence from your business which, if you manage to live up to, creates another loyal customer that will in turn recommend you to others.

Why is Branding Important?

There are many reasons why branding is important for small businesses. First and foremost, branding differentiates you from your competition. In a sea of sameness, a strong brand will make you stand out. 24% of customers go to a business that they have a good first impression of. Secondly, branding builds trust with your target audience. When customers know what to expect from your products or services, they are more likely to do business with you. The quality of your product or service living up to your brand plays a huge part in this as well.

Finally, branding helps you attract new customers. After all, if you are the business that customers like at first glance, you will be their first option. A strong brand will generate word-of-mouth marketing that will help you reach new audiences, too.

A man looks closely at a product's label and branding while in a supermarket

How do I Improve My Brand?

There are several things you can do to improve your brand. First, take some time to define what your company stands for. What are your core values? What is your mission statement?

Once you have a clear understanding of who you are as a company, start thinking about how you want to be perceived by your target audience. Do you want to be seen as fun and approachable or serious and trustworthy? Once you have a handle on how you want to be perceived, start working on developing a visual identity for your company. This includes things like logos, color schemes, fonts, and overall design aesthetic. These design elements have the power to evoke emotions in customers as well as make them think that your business exudes emotions.

Last but not the least, make sure your products and services live up to the image you are trying to create. Every aspect of doing business with you has to match this brand, especially in the customers’ eyes. For example, if you are trying to establish your brand as a friendly, approachable expert in nutrition, customers and clients should be able to reach you painlessly and they can talk to you on familiar terms. The messages they are getting should show them that you know what you are doing and that you know a lot about health. The design cues on your website, promotional material, or even products should be clean but not sterile.

This is one of the hardest parts of creating and maintaining a brand. If you are unsure of how to build up your brand, you should consider getting a branding company to assist you. That way, you can have a clear direction in mind, and you can focus more on other things that you are more familiar with, such as operations, customer service, or financial management.

Final Thoughts

Branding may seem like a daunting task for small businesses but it is essential if you want to be successful. By taking the time to define your company’s values and mission statement and develop a strong visual identity, you can create a brand that will set you apart from your competition and build trust with your target audience. Investing time and resources into branding now will pay off in the long run as you attract new customers and grow your business.

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