5 Effective Steps for Creating Your Small Business Brand in 2021
Updated: Apr 30
What is Small Business Branding?
I have been asked this question multiple times in the last week.
After doing a quick check of a few of my friend's businesses, I realized that most people don't understand what branding truly is.
Branding is more than just a logo, business cards, and a good-looking website. To create a powerful small business brand you need to go beyond this.
You need to display who you are and communicate the things that you do differently.
Branding is built around this core idea of creating a unique name in your customer's mind so that when they think of your product or service, they think of your business.
Slapping together a logo and calling it your 'brand' is like putting 2 pieces of bread together and calling it a sandwich.
A logo might be a core element of your brand, but it is not the whole brand itself.
Understanding Brand Elements
All brands have different elements to help get their message out there.
A logo, brochure, and website are all different elements of a brand. Here are some of the more common elements most brands have:
Brand colors - Different colors that come together to provide a visual representation of your business.
A logo design - The main symbol behind the entire identity of your business.
Stationery design - Letterheads, business cards, forms.
Marketing Collateral - Flyers, brochures, social media profiles, blog, website, advertisements.
Products & Packaging - Products sold and the packaging in which they come in.
Apparel Design - Clothing items that are worn by employees or sold as part of the business's strategy.
Retail Design - Interior and exterior signage as well as the interior design of physical stores.
Email Design - Email template design for newsletters and in-house memos.
You could go as far as saying that any interaction that customers have with your business is an opportunity for you to develop your brand.
So how do you create a brand that your customers love? Here are 5 practical steps.
1. Find Your Unique Selling Point (USP)
Your unique selling point is what differentiates you from your competition. It helps craft a unique market position in the mind of your customer.
Without understanding (or creating) your USP, your branding strategy will not be effective.
Your USP can be built around your products/services, the customer service you offer in your business, or even the values of your business. I could write a whole blog on unique selling points because of how important they are to your business.
If you're not sure what your USP is, here are some questions to help you discover it:
What are some of your core business values?
What does your business stand for?
What features and benefits make your product/service unique?
What does your customer get from you that they can't get anywhere else?
What features of your product/service are difficult for competitors to copy?
Take time to answer each of these questions as the answers will form the base of your business' USP.
2. Develop Clever & Creative Brand Messaging
Messaging forms the backbone of your brand and getting this right in the eyes of your customers has the power to make or break your business.
Your brand messaging is what the customer will remember about your business. This includes your business name.
The goal is to create catchy and exciting phrases, sentences, and terminology that your customer will remember. It should leave them with a sense of wanting to know more about what you have to offer.
Brand messaging can also be used across different elements to help drive sales and leads in your business. Just remember to keep your brand messaging similar across all of your marketing channels and collateral.
3. Create Stand-Out Brand Designs & Graphics
This is the part where you get to create your logo and other important graphical elements.
Your brand design and graphics are the visual representation of your unique selling point and brand messaging. What you wrote above, should be brought to life with color, shape, symbols, texture, and typography.
The first thing to do is to think of symbols and shapes that will represent your brand.
When a customer sees those symbols and shapes, they need to get an understanding of what your business does and who you are as an organization.
Now think about the kinds of emotions you want your customers to feel when they see your business. What sort of colors and textures match those emotions?
Lastly, your customers will likely have a preconceived idea of what your business should look and feel like, based on the industry you are in and the products/services you offer.
Do your graphics enhance your customer's understanding of your business or do they look like they belong somewhere else?
Getting your brand design right from the beginning is important. If this isn't a skill you have, getting a professional design agency to help you is a good idea.
4. Maintain a Holistic Marketing Plan
Now that you have your unique selling point, brand messaging and graphics, it's time to get it in front of the right people.
The first thing you need to do is set up an impactful website. Your business website will be the base of all of your marketing efforts.
You may have heard that small businesses can get away with only having a Facebook page or Instagram profile. But if you are serious about your business, you need to build a website.
Set up relevant social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram. When choosing the social media pages to set up, consider where your customers are most likely to be hanging out and focus on those.
It's better to be committed to 1 social media channel than to be mediocre on 3 channels.
Now, how do you get your brand in front of your customers?
The fastest way to grow your business and brand is through paid advertising on platforms such as Facebook and Google Ads. You could also set up a blog on your website and aim to post 1-2 times per week, producing content that educates and excites your customers.
Each blog post should be at least 1,000 words long and give your customers information they won't find anywhere else.
5. Get Up Close & Personal
Did you know that your customers want to see what your business looks like on the back end?
Using tools such as Instagram stories and even TikTok gives you the opportunity to showcase the culture of your business and the people behind all the hard work.
You can instantly connect with hundreds of people online and share the day-to-day activities of your business such as what it's like to work there, the kinds of projects you are working on, and even interesting thoughts and insights.
The opportunities are endless.
Use your creativity to brainstorm some ideas of ways you could give extra information and value to your customers daily.
You Can't Afford to NOT Spend Time on Branding
Getting your brand right is important. It forms the understanding of your business in your customer's mind.
Ensure that you spend time developing your brand as a whole and focussing on the specific elements of your brand that matter most.
If you don't have the time or knowledge to build your business brand, hire a professional agency to help you with it.