• Melissa Chito

What Every Small Business Needs To Know About Branding

Updated: Jul 3, 2021

Many businesses still believe that branding starts and stops at a logo. Yes your logo is an important and integral part of your branding, it is not the only piece that helps your business grow and become established as a market leader.

Let's start by defining the differences between what a brand is, what branding is, and what a brand's identity is.

What is a brand?

A brand very simply put is how the world - or more importantly your customers and prospects - view your brand. It is their perception shaped by all the experiences they have had with your brand (logo, online, in-store, on the phone, talking to customer service, word of mouth, reviews, the list goes one and on).

This includes both actual experiences they had first hand and reading, hearing about others experiences through online reviews, chats, media, and so on.

You have no control over your brand - your customers do.

Now, if you happen to be a type A personality (like me) who likes to be in control of any and all situations - I want you to know that all is not lost! There are ways and strategies you can take to help shape, shift, and transform the image of your brand. This process is known as branding.

What is branding?

Branding is the process of purposefully, methodically, and intentionally creating strategies and actions to help shape and transform the image of your company - i.e. your brand.

It's all about differentiating yourself from your competition. Focusing on your both your purpose and your customers is a great way to do this.

Branding is one of the most important things you can do for your business - we will get into the why soon I promise - but before we jump into that, I need you to realize that branding is more than creating an amazing logo (although that is a very important piece of the puzzel).

Branding sets the tone and tells your customers what to expect when they interact with your brand. Consistency and cohesiveness is critical to a successful brand strategy.

  • What is the impression you want your clients to have of your business and your brand?

  • What is their actual impression?

If there are gaps, you may need to relook at your strategy and see where the expectations and the experiences do not align. Think of your branding as the promise you make to your customers every single time they interact with you and your business.

What is brand identity?

Now, once we understand how we are perceived, and how we want to be perceived as a brand, we can start to assess your brand identity. Your brand identity is the collection of design elements that create your unique brand image. This includes:

  • Logo

  • Tagline

  • Colours

  • Typography / Fonts

  • Brand Voice

  • Brand Name

Let's talk about these in a little more detail..

Your logo design

Probably one of the most important pieces of your brand identity. This is where most businesses start and stop with branding.

Some businesses will create their own logos, some will hire a designer, some will purchase pre-made stock logos. No matter which road you choose, please keep this in mind...

Your logo is often the first impression a person has with your brand. It says everything about you to your audience. It is a symbol of trust, commitment, and promise to your customers.

Now with that in mind - look at your logo - what impression does it give?

  • Is it one of credibility?

  • Does it reflect trust?

  • Does it represent your values?

  • Does it communicate your promise?

  • Does it reflect your likes and desires more than that of your customer?

  • Is it clear?

  • Is it professional?

  • Is it memorable?

  • How does it make your customers feel?

  • What does it make your customers think?

Put yourself in the eyes of your customer... If your logo is low quality, off-brand, hard to read, not memorable, or does not evoke the feelings or emotions you want it to in your customers... perhaps it is time for a new logo.

BUT if your logo represents your values, your brand promise, and your audience, you likely are on the right track to building your brand in a way that will connect, inspire and resonate with your customers.

Remember to ask yourself this: Would you invest in a company that wasn't willing to invest in itself?

Colours & Typography

Both colours and typography (fonts) you choose can have a huge impact on the feeling and emotions your brand evokes from your customers.

Colours, fonts, can all impact the way we perceive a brand. Serif fonts (think Times New Roman) feel more conservative, traditional whereas a sans serif font like Helvetica is more modern.

Whatever your brand, whatever your design, be purposeful in understanding how the colours and fonts will represent your values and your promise to your clients.

Another benefit of strong and consistent brand colours and fonts is that they work to create a sense of consistency and familiarity with your brand.

So when you look at your logo colours and fonts - ask yourself - what feelings do they evoke. How do they represent the look, feel, values, that I want to communicate to my customers and the world.

Brand Name and Tagline

For me, when I was creating my brand for my business, the name and tagline were two of the hardest parts and it took me months to finally narrow it down to my top 5 and eventually to choose Sweet P Marketing & Design (my brand name) - Create memorable brands to inspire audiences and grow your business (my tagline).

Here is thing you want it to be clear. You want your brand, your name, and your tag line to clearly state who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. If your audience can see your logo and tagline and instantly understand the answer to those questions - you have a winner!

Remember, we have very little time to capture and engage someones attention, so make every second count.

You tagline needs to tell your customers and prospects what problem you solve for them. It should help them understand how you can help them be successful.

Your brand name should differentiate you from your competition. It should be memorable. And it should be easy to remember and communicate.

Brand Voice and Tone

Last but certainly not least if your brand's voice and tone. This is how you share with the world the amazing personality your brand has.

Not every brand is built the same.

If your audience is conservative, you likely wont have a sarcastic, outspoken brand voice that pushes boundaries.

Whereas if you have an audience who loves warm, authentic, and genuine experiences, you are more likely to have a fun but profession, warm, approachable voice and tone.

Think about your audience, your competition, your industry... how do they speak? What is their tone? Then think about your values and how it will align with you brand voice.

Your voice helps you connect on a deeper and more authentic level with your audience.

So now that we have covered the basics of what is a brand, branding, and brand identity, we can talk about why branding is so important to your business.

Many small businesses make the mistake of overlooking branding efforts because they think of themselves as a business and not a brand - many fail to see the relationship between sales and branding.

But let me tell you...

Branding matters.

With the right branding, it will:

  • Builds trust and credibility

  • Creates recognition and build awareness

  • Supports marketing and sales initiatives

  • Builds financial value in sales and profitability

  • Inspires employees and helps to attract and retain the right employees

  • Generates new customers and increases the value of each customer

  • Create loyal customers who will advocate and promote your brand for you!!!

Still not convinced investing in your businesses brand will help grow your business?

Think about this...

The most profitable companies in the world all have one thing in common...

They have a strong brand presence that they are continually investing in to improve their customers experiences and continue to position themselves as industry leaders.

This all started with a strong logo and brand identity.

And if you are still not convinced... here are some statistics from Forbes about how branding can impact your customers and your business.

  • Presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. - Forbes

  • It takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember a brand. - Pam Moore

  • 10 seconds are enough for people to form an opinion about a logo. - Crowdspring

  • 43% of customers spend more money on brands they are loyal to. - Fundera

I encourage every business to take 1 hour and look at all your brand assets from your logo to your website to your social channels to postcards, business cards, the customer experience online, in person, on the phone, over email…

Ask yourself how do I want my business to be seen? Experienced? Known for?

What are my values?

What do my clients, customers, audience actually think about my brand? What are their experiences? Expectations? Do they know my brand?

How does the way you want to be seen align with the way you are actually seen? What are the gaps?

This will help you narrow your focus, time and strategies to build a stronger brand. Reach out and find a marketing or design professional who can help guide you through the process.

But most importantly, be patient. It takes time to create a powerful brand that resonates and starts to generate more value. It is an investment that needs nurturing and love but once you build that connection, set consistent expectations, you will attract a tribe of loyal brand followers who will love and live your brand.

As always - be memorable and inspiring. 💕

~ Melissa

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