Branding is often overlooked by smaller businesses that think it is expensive and only for enormous corporations.
However, branding is just as important for small enterprises as it is for big businesses. And in contrast to many people’s perceptions you don’t necessarily need a multimillion-pound budget to build your brand.
What is a brand?
It is often a very misunderstood term, so let’s start by defining what we mean by the term ‘brand’.
It is often categorised as logos, labels, advertising and catchy taglines. It’s true that those things are part of what makes up a brand, but a true brand is so much more than that. A brand is a badge of identity, a promise – of the product and the accompanying quality of service and the benefits, it is what your business stands for and the what your customers think of when they think about your business.
Especially in the early stages of growing a business, developing a distinctive brand that people can relate to, understand and find appealing will help your business stand out.
Five tips for creating your brand:
Understand your audience. The most important thing to understand about your business is that you can’t and won’t appeal to everyone. Focus on a particular group of customers, understand their individual needs and aspirations and build your brand in a way that acknowledges and delivers a solution to these needs.
Be clear. It’s vital to be clear about what your purpose or ‘brand promise’ is – why your business does what it does and more importantly why it matters to your customers. Make sure that it is at the heart of your brand and informs every part of your marketing activity moving forward. Start by defining your Why:Why does your business exist? Why do you get up in the morning? What problem do you solve? Be as succinct as possible – it will give your business, brand and your future communications more clarity and focus.
Think about how this why translates to a customer facing message. How do you communicate your why and your proposition to your customers in a way that they understand and want to be a part of. The more focused you can be in your brand message, the easier it will be for your busy target audience to understand it. Keep the message simple and direct.
Think about visual identity. Consider how your logo and other design elements support your brand message and bring it to life. Visual aspects such as colour and photography can be incredibly powerful and when aligned to the words you say can ensure your audience engage with your brand and understand it quickly and easily.
Be consistent in design. Avoid the temptation to change the way you present your campaigns and design collateral from one campaign to the next or across different marketing channels. Building a strong, recognisable brand starts with consistency in how it is executed. It’s possible to develop different messages creative executions for different personas while retaining a consistent visual identity aligned to your brand strategy.