Whether you’re at networking events, workshops, online or at webinars, small business branding is everywhere. But what exactly is a brand and what does it have to do with running your small business?
What is small business branding?
Branding, or your corporate identity, is who you are and who you want to be to your customers. It comprises multiple elements that form your small business’s public image, including, but not limited to:
- Your logo
- Business cards
- Shop front
- Company car livery
- Staff uniforms
- Office/shop décor
- The tone of voice in your emails and on your website
- What you post on your company’s social media pages
- How you introduce your business to potential customers
All of the above shapes people’s perception of your small business.
I’m not saying you take control of every word in your everyday marketing, but it’s always a good idea to keep your vision of your small business branding fresh and up-to-date. And there is one way to easily achieve that.
Find out more about small business brands, why you need one and how to create yours.
Be a stranger!
It’s a simple suggestion, but believe me, this technique can actually save you money: Once a month, imagine you’ve never heard of your brand; you’re a stranger just walking by your office or shop, or somebody who spots your latest advert in their favourite magazine. Now you can see your business from a new perspective.
The more elements of your small business branding work harmoniously together, the more professional, confident and reliable your small business looks.
To help you with this, I’ve created a checklist to evaluate the effect your current corporate identity has on your potential customers.
Small business branding checklist
1. Does it represent who you are? Is it in keeping with the times?
Changing your entire logo is rarely a good idea, but you can refresh it to keep up with your company growth and target group.
2. Does your logo look exactly the same across all of your media?
Your logo is your signature, so make sure people recognise your company van and your shop (for example) as part of the same company. Would you trust someone whose signature looked different on each document?
1. Keep your eyes peeled or ask a friend to come and visit
Whether you have a shop or an office, a stranger’s point of view is major important as it’s easy to ignore things we see on a daily basis, like that broken light bulb in the shop signage or the discoloured poster in our window. Never underestimate the power of the first impression!
2. Is your brand well represented?
Are your logo, corporate colours and image clearly visible both inside and out? Giving your premises a professional look doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, sometimes a little touch-up will do the trick.
Your business cards & co.
1. Show what you have to offer!
Quite often we’re trying to save, save, save, which is fine as long as it’s needed. But take care! If you offer high profile services, luxury products, or expensive interior design, you may want to think twice before deciding to promote yourself with a cheap business card; wealthier clients may discard you, thinking you’re not in line with their needs.
2. And vice versa
The same goes for the opposite: Don’t go for the expensive, premium letterhead with gold foil if you are targeting a price-sensitive market with your services.
Your digital footprint
1. Keep it together!
As with your print material, the main struggle online is to keep control of your overall appearance. The same principle applies: Consistency is key.
2. Be in sync
For your website, make sure design goes hand in hand with functionality. Ideally, working with both a web designer and developer guarantees you the best of both worlds. To get the results you’re looking for, make sure they work seamlessly with each other – something we happen to be really good at at Guizzo :)
3. Don’t forget about social media
Your social media profiles are also part of your brand, so make sure they’re displayed on your business cards (the profile names, not just the icons!). Also, try and use the same handle for each channel as this ensures people can find you wherever they are and won’t confuse you with someone else.
And I know how much fun it is to change your profile image and cover, but remember, you’re a company! Play around with your cover image as much as you like, but keep your logo where it should be: in your profile picture.
Now you know how to be in charge of your company branding – be a stranger!
If you’re thinking about creating or updating your brand, or want to get an expert opinion on your logo or signage, you can find out more about Chiara and Guizzo below, follow her on Facebook or get in touch to discuss your options on 0779 9635 974 or by email.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
Small Business Brand: What Is It, Why Do I Need One & How Do I Get One?
Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses: Why You Need One & How to Define it
What’s a USP, Why Do I Need One & How Do I Get One?
Ideal Clients: How to Define & Attract them to Your Small Business