How to Brand Your Small Business

When you first decide to start a small business as an entrepreneur, there are a few musts that need to happen to get off to a great start.  We have touched on a few of these things in previous posts, but a major item is branding for your business. The most important aspect of branding is that it defines an overall business persona.  It gives a business an identity, a voice, and helps to establish recognition to your target audience.

Where to start with creating a successful brand?  Identifying your target audience is the first step.  This can be accomplished by creating a client avatar and determining a niche.  A couple of key questions to keep in mind are:

  • What can your clients expect from you in terms of products or services?  

  • What makes you different from your competitors?

  • What problem are you solving?

  • What is your mission?

  • What are your brand's values?

These questions will help you in finding your brand's voice and identity.  Branding should align with your audience, but take this opportunity to let your personality shine.  Always remember that you can't be everything to everyone, so focusing on a clear brand is crucial. What type of clients are you targeting for your services or products?  It would not be beneficial to have a cold, professional voice and tone when your ideal consumer is a stay at home mom. Are you in alignment with the budget of your client?  If your brand strategy includes laid-back communication and bright colors, it would probably not entice high-end Fortune 500 business owners. Always having a clear brand image could be the determining factor in making your entrepreneurial journey a successful and profitable one.

Now that we have a strategy in place, it is time to define all of the visual elements that go along with a beautiful branding package.  This is the ultimate creative outlet for small business owners. This can be the most stressful yet the most rewarding part of starting your business.  We need to determine our logo, color palette, typography, and branding style guide. The visual elements are typically curated into a brand mood board or inspiration board.  

Your visuals should be overall aesthetically pleasing and be cohesive but interesting.  A brand board should include the following visual elements:

  • Main Logo

    • for use in marketing

  • Logo variation

    • a slight variation of the main logo

    • typically smaller, simpler, and can be used as a favicon or profile photo

  • Main color palette

    • typically 5 colors that represent your brand aesthetic

    • includes hex color codes

      • can also include advanced RGB, CMYK, and Pantone values

    • can include supporting color palette that is complementary but cohesive

  • Pattern

    • adds style and refinement

    • can be used for social media graphics

  • Typography

    • can include 3-5 fonts for Headings, Subheadings, Body, and Headers for copywriting

    • font pairings need to be complementary

    • include names on brand board

There are some useful templates and tutorials for business brand boards that can be found with a quick search on Google.  The Brand Style Guide is a useful tool for your business and is different from the visual board. The style guide can include specific details on each visual element.  This guide is beneficial for designers if you need to outsource your branding. Items include very detailed instructions down to as an example, how much distance should be left around your logo.  The main goal in branding should always be to keep everything consistent whether it be on a website, printed marketing, or social media. By utilizing these components of your brand, you can help your business stand out from the rest and gain profitable success.