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Business Branding Basics for the Small Business Owner

Article by Dean Burgess

Part of a comprehensive and successful marketing campaign involves getting your branding right. This is important no matter what size your business is, no matter what product or service you sell. If your marketing seems to be stagnating or your business productivity sluggish, you should evaluate your present branding and make sure you’re not making any missteps, and that you are following best practices for small business branding.

What is business branding?

On a superficial level, branding has to do with your company’s logos, style, and images. But it’s not just about surface or appearance. It has to do with the way the public interprets these images, and the perception it forms about your company. Branding is basically a language that communicates something to your potential customers. So, it’s important that your brand successfully communicates what you are trying to convey. Additionally, it’s important that the customer service and the products you offer verify that the statements made by your branding are justified. Here are some techniques for making sure you’re sending the right message, and that the message you’re sending is factual.

Know the basic steps of branding.

When you prepare to brand your business for a marketing campaign, you should start by asking: whom am I trying to communicate with? Who is my target audience? Once you know the answer to that question, you know how to position your business to communicate with them effectively, and what message you want to send that they will find interesting or attractive. This will help you to think about how to develop not only your company’s image but its actual identity and personality. This will give you the basis for deciding on logos, slogans, and imaging.

Know what mistakes to avoid.

First, make sure your brand images and messages are unified across different platforms. Even something as simple as using a different font for your company name can throw people off. Next, be careful about striking a balance between the overly personal and the overly formal. Customers appreciate polite engagement but when rhetoric gets too friendly too quickly it feels fake or invasive. And above all, make sure your name or logo or images aren’t inadvertently conveying the wrong message, especially if that message is accidentally vulgar or comical in the wrong way. Newcomers to the world of marketing or business ownership can be pardoned for making some of these common mistakes. But they can still harm your company’s progress.

Be willing to change your brand if needed.

Avoid falling for the “sunk cost fallacy” and thinking that if you’ve already put a lot of effort into a marketing strategy you must keep investing it even if it’s not working out. Be willing to get creative and change your branding if it’s not working, if the market shifts, or your demographic changes. Ideally, you will track your marketing analytics so you can see when a campaign isn’t paying off before you begin actually losing money on it. It can also help to use several different marketing methods so if one isn’t working you can simply divert energy and resources to another.

When to hire a marketing professional.

If you feel that you are in over your head, or that your different methods aren’t really getting you anywhere, it may be time to hire a professional marketer, designer, or branding expert. Not only will they be able to help you coordinate and hone your branding efforts, but they will also easily take care of things like website and logo design that might be sucking up your time. Small businesses in search of great design and branding can contact Creative Instinct and ask about their varied services and packages.

Once you get the hang of branding, you may find you really enjoy it, since it’s just another way to communicate effectively with customers. And working on branding can even help you understand your own business and mission better.

Need a beautiful new brand for your business?

Creative Instinct can help! Contact Gwen Canfield to arrange a free consultation today!


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