Branding is a very important part of every business. When you think of brands, there are likely a few that come to mind first such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Starbucks, Macy’s. Anyone can sell anything, but you really stand out in the market when you have a brand. It’s key to the growth and success of your business. Many small businesses choose the easy path when it comes to branding themselves. They pick a name and get someone to create a logo, or worse, do it themselves. Then they get some stationery and business cards. The visual representation of your brand and your brand colors are important, but you need to spend some time thinking about what you want to people to think about your business. You only get one first impression with customers, so you need to consider what it’s like to call your office, or when some sends an email through your contact form, does an actual human call them back? How quickly? How long does a prospect wait to get a proposal from your company? These are all things that leave a brand impression. Here are some tips that will help you to develop a unique small business brand.
What is your business focus?
How do you want to position your business in the marketplace? When you think about your brand presence, you should consider your industry, your personality, and your target customer. Chances are a stock photo chosen at random by the sales-person at a print-shop, will not quite capture the brand impression that you are trying to create. so hire a professional graphic designer to help you. Yes, it will cost you, but if you want to only do this one time, so spend the money to look just like the big boys. If you have keen negotiation skills, you can often find a talented designer who can put together a very reasonable package for you. There are also plenty of websites where you can find designers and view their portfolios such as Fiverr, 99Designs.com, guru.com, and upwork.com. Here are some questions to answer that will help your designer get a feel for your business.
- What is the mission of your business?
- What differentiates your brand from your competition?
- What is your company’s unique selling proposition?
- What do you want people to think of when they think of your business?
- How would you describe the branding of your closest competitors?
- What can you improve upon when looking at your competitors?
Be mindful of color stories as you pick brand colors.
Different colors will cause varying physiological reactions. Here’s a quick overview of the types of feelings and emotions that can be triggered by the presence of popular colors.
- Black: Represents authority, power, and dominance.
- Red: Think Passion. Emotionally intense, it can stimulate the heart to beat more quickly,
- Blue: It’s a calming color, peace, tranquility.
- Green: It represents nature; it’s the easiest color on the eyes, refreshing.
- Yellow: Yellow catches attention, but it can be overwhelming.
- Brown: It can represent genuineness which can be good for business, but it can also come off as mundane, sad and wistful.
If you think back to the companies we mentioned earlier, think of the red one and the green one. There are likely two that come to mind immediately. How does each brand make you feel? When choosing a color to represent your brand, be mindful of the psychology behind that color choice.
Be consistent with your branding
If your business is taking advantage of social media marketing, then it’s important to have consistent branding across all social platforms. For example, if you build a personal brand use the same headshot everywhere. You also want your profile to tell people how to hire you. It’s great that you are swim dad or an Eagles fan. (Yes, I’m from Philadelphia), but it will greatly help your business to promote what you do. Keep in mind my 4:1 Ratio of sharing other people’s helpful content before you promote your own. You’ll also want to tailor your content to fit the culture of each platform and how your potential customers use it. Don’t just post the exact same thing across every social network, that’s a great way to damage your brand.
Don’t be afraid hire someone to help you. When choosing a designer, use a contact that says it’s work for hire, make sure you can get at least 5-7 options, and then refine one down to become your logo. When you get your artwork, ask for the jpeg, pdf and high resolution png files. And get the exact color and fonts on a one-page style guide from them, so you’re not stuck, in case you ever need to move on from that designer. Remember, if you hire a designer, you’ve got to trust them to create something brilliant, but it’s your brand, and you need to make sure convey the impression that you want people to have.