Branding for a small business is just as important as it is for a large corporation. And honestly, as a small business, it might be even more important that a unique visual identity is tied to your name. Carving out your space in the marketplace is hard. But there’s one thing we all know about humans that is simple: we are visually stimulated beings attracted to professional, well put together designs, displays, logos, ads, and more.
Large brands like Coca-Cola, Southwest, or FedEx hire the best of the best New York or Los Angeles based marketing agencies to create, build, and maintain their brands. However, those agencies come with a steep price (maybe an arm, a leg, your first born … ).
We aren’t kidding ourselves. Branding and a visual identity are not always in the budget for a small business. But does it have to be this way? Let’s think about it differently. While the actual design execution of a brand may take a professional, creating your brand is actually free of cost. It’s already inside YOU.
Your visual identity is waiting to be unearthed from inside you and your organization.
So, what now? How do you put the brand that’s inside your mind and lived out through your team on paper?
These are a few essential strategies we have identified that will set the process in motion of crafting a strong brand that stands the test of time.
1. Know what goes into a brand.
A brand is not just your logo. Simply put, it is the total sum of experiences your customer has with your business. A brand is the emotional impact it has on your customers. The Starbucks brand is more than just a name on a cup. Starbucks has comfortable seating, good coffee, free WiFi, and it is a place to just hang out. When you create an good emotional experience for your customers, the likelihood of repeat customers increases. Apple has the largest brand loyal population in history. Sure, their products are great and their logo is nifty. But what Apple does is ensures that you feel good about walking into a store, talking to an Apple Genius, opening their creative packaging, and the usability of their products. Their brand was built around making their customers “feel good” in every step of the process.
2. Know who you are targeting.
Create your brand around researching the preferences of whom you are trying to reach. Selecting your brand elements (colors, fonts, styles, language, etc.) should always have a connection with the audience. A high-end jewelry store would not use a childish color pallet with bubble fonts. Be aware that colors, font styles, and language reflect your business and products, but they also convey emotions such as excitement, fun, relaxation, seriousness, or joy. Remember everything your customers encounter should relate to how you make them feel. These elements enhance the emotional impact on customers.
3. Be consistent with your visual elements.
Logo, ads, website, brochures, business cards, eNewsletters, signage, store decor—everything must feel cohesive. They should all have connecting visual assets that make them a family. Use the same color pallet and fonts each time. This applies also to style of photography or illustrations. The more defined these elements are while using them consistently, the stronger the brand will be.
4. Be consistent with your verbal elements.
What personality and message about your company/product do you want to convey? Serious, casual, playful, high quality, low prices? Whether it is the copy in your social media ad, or how you greet someone entering your store, the message and tone should be the same. The way you craft your words (whether verbally or written) adds to the whole brand and should be used the same way in every platform. Consistency reinforces the experience you want your customers have.
At Soar Marketing, we are here to empower small businesses to take flight and soar. Every small business should have access to information and tools that power every aspect of your brand, and those resources should be easily accessible. Whether it’s a simple blog article or marketing tool, we exist to empower you grow and succeed to new heights.