The Importance of Small Business Branding

Every business owner likes to believe that their product or service is the best. Yours might actually be the best, but some potential customers may take some persuading. This is where a strong brand identity comes into play. In this post, we will go over small business branding. This will include a brand strategy discussion, some tips for getting started, as well as tools that can assist in building a brand.

 

Why Does Your Small Business Need to Brand Itself?

When looking at a company, there are certain things that stand out and make it unique. The few that may come to mind are logo, color scheme, and fonts used. However, brand can go much deeper than that. As defined by merriam-webster.com brand is “a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted.” From that we can conclude that brand is an all inclusive term in which its status is continuously updated. This is why keeping in mind the identity of your business is critical, especially for a small organization that thrives off of community and local perception.

 

What Steps Can You Take To Get Started?

1. Do Your Research

The first step in almost any marketing strategy is research. Find out who you are planning on attracting with this brand. This step can be thought of as defining your target audience. Something we have done here at the SBDC that proves to be beneficial, is creating customer personas. This is the process of creating a fake consumer and identifying what they like, where they shop, how they spend their free time, etc. The persona can then be used to make assumptions about a wider range of customers and target them effectively.

2. Develop Your Resources

After identifying your target audience, its time to get to work. This is where you want to develop brand materials. Things like logos, color palettes, style guides, and a stock of photographs should all be developed. When creating these assets, keep in mind that they should properly represent your business and what it is that you do. Also, your brand resources should be easy to understand. Keep in mind things like your social media and website. The message and identity should be clear and consistent across the board.

 

3. Identify a Story for Your Business

If you’ve ever watched ABC’s business reality show, Shark Tank, you know that the best proposals always have an interesting back story. This is especially important for small business branding. Because the focus is typically local consumers, a good story will make it that much easier for customers to support you. With assistance in developing this story, I can recommend this book by Donald Miller. Miller goes through 7 steps that allow you to effectively develop that story. Essentially, it’s all about identifying a problem that you target audience has and providing an answer to that struggle with a product or service.

Things to Keep In Mind When Building Your Brand

Remember, brand is an ongoing commitment. It is not a set and forget type of strategy. Keep your brand materials organized and evaluate them from time to time. Yes, the creation of resources, online presence, and all of that technical stuff is very important. However, you cannot forget to create memorable experiences for your consumers. That is part of your brand as well. Good, quality services is perhaps one of the most fundamental strategies for small business branding.

 

Written by Zachary Balla, Pennsylvania SBDC Lead Office Marketing Team

Zachary Balla is a graduate assistant at the PA SBDC and current MBA student at Kutztown University. He is from Exeter, Pennsylvania and enjoys reading and playing the piano in his free time.