Small Business Branding – What and Why
Every business needs branding. Small business branding is a way to ensure everything within your company works well together and connects your service or product to your customer.
Branding incorporates the look and feel of your brand as well as how it works. It is your visual identity, your values, and how you communicate with your potential customers and clients.
Creating your small business branding is a thought-provoking process, but one that will help you stay on track in all areas of your business.
Create Your Purpose
Your purpose is your reason for starting and running your business. To create your branding purpose let’s break it down into a few sections.
Your Brand Purpose
This is your “why”
Why are you a business?
Why did you form your company?
What impact do you hope to have?
Why should people care about your brand and company?
Your Brand Values
Evaluate your “how”.
How are your solving a problem?
How do you accomplish your purpose?
How do your represent your core beliefs?
How do you bring accountability?
Your Brand Mission
The “what” for your brand. This should support your values and bring depth to your brand.
What are your values?
What problem does your service or product solve?
What makes you unique?
What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years? 10 years?
Create Your Mission Statement and Vision
Now that you know your purpose (why), values (how) and mission (what), you can put that all together into a mission statement for your brand. This should be a short summary of the vision and values of your brand.
Your mission statement should be a few sentences. This should provide a quick look into your company values and guide your potential clients as well as your employees. Your mission statement should encapsulate the who, how and why of your business in a motivating and purposeful way.
Create Your Elevator Pitch
You’ve dug deep into your purpose. You have created a mission statement. The next step in your small business branding is to create an elevator pitch. This is just as it seems, a short introduction to someone, which tells them, who you are, what you do and why you do it. This is called an elevator pitch because it should be close to 30 seconds of information, well written and memorized. Use this any time someone asks you what you do.
Your elevator pitch should include:
Who are you.
What your company provides.
What makes you different.
Your ideal client.
Call to action.
Your elevator pitch should motivate and inspire your potential customers and employees. This will be a backbone for your company, a way to ensure you make decisions that align with your brand vision.
Do Your Research
Your small business branding does not stop there. The next step is research.
Research your competitors asking:
Who your competition is in the market?
What is working (and not working) well for them?
What makes your company different and better?
What strategies are they using for marketing and advertising?
How can you stand out among your competitors?
Target Audience Research
Your audience research should help you understand your customers:
What are your target audience demographics (age, gender, occupation, etc.)?
What are they looking for?
What are their interests, needs, wants, etc.?
Are there statistics about your target audience that help you to understand them better?
Once you have a better understanding of your audience, you should create a customer persona. This will allow you to have a “person” in mind when creating marketing and visuals later in the process.
Create Your Brand Personality
Like a person, your brand has a personality. This should be consistent throughout your branding. Be sure your personality is authentic and memorable.
Is your brand playful? Strong? Serious? Etc..
What is your brand’s tone of voice?
This will be incorporated throughout your visuals and customer service. It will make your brand more human and relatable to your customer.
Write Your Brand Messages
Your brand messages reflect the values and purpose of your business. This is the way your customer will relate emotionally to your company.
Your brand messages should include:
Consistency is key. Your messaging will be the selling points of your business.
Develop Your Brand Story
Creating a brand story brings all of the work you’ve done in the branding process into one piece.
Your brand story should include:
Who you are.
Why you are important.
What makes you stand out among your competitors.
The problem you are solving.
Now comes the part everyone thinks of for small business branding, the visuals. The visuals you choose will be what catches your potential audience’s eyes. It will be what makes them want to learn more.
Professionally designed visuals are an important part of your branding. A designer will take the work you have done to this point and bring it to life.
Your visuals should include:
Logo(s), icons, etc.
A great addition to these pieces is a style guide. Your designer can put together a guide to create consistency in your brand. This will outline how and when to use your visual pieces. A style guide ensures consistency throughout your marketing and in-house pieces.
Integrating Your Branding
You’ve done the backend work, now you get to incorporate it into your business. Taking your branding into the world. Remember consistency is key. Your branding reflects who your company is and why you are important.
As your business grows, changes may need to be made to keep your small business branding in line with your values and mission. Evaluate what is still working and what may need to change, there is nothing wrong with revising your branding as your business changes. Like your business itself, your branding is a dynamic piece of your business, be sure it fits with who and what you are as a company.