How Branding Mistakes Can Drive Away Your Customers – A Quick Guide To Branding Your Small Business Properly

Many small businesses treat branding as an afterthought – not a priority. Often, in the beginning, business owners are so focused on the quality of the product or service they sell that they don’t focus on the big picture. What your business looks and feels like to your target audience may not align with your intentions.

What Does Branding Your Business Mean?

When you think of a brand, often the first thought that comes to mind in the logo or business name. While, yes, this is a part of the brand, it is not the driving force. A brand is any and all emotions, ideas, and associations that are linked to a business. These associations can be made up of personal experiences with your brand, learned experiences from the community, from social media presence, or mention in the press. A brand is not so much about the visual recognition of a label or logo but more about psychological perception.

Business and Brand Should Overlap

Branding your business after launch is common. It may take a while to fully understand the essence of your business and target customers. Strong branding is able to clearly communicate your business goals and key messages to your customers. It is present in everything you do from the services or products you provide, to your customer service tactics, your website copy, and the images and content you share on social media. Your brand should reaffirm your credibility and speak to your community. Your brand represents your business, to the core.

Branding is as much about defining your business image to yourself as it is to your audience.

…it doesn’t matter how good your business is if people can’t find or remember it. - Canadian Businesstext in bold

9 STEPS TO ESTABLISHING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS BRAND

  1. Define your company’s vision and mission. (What do you want to become and what are you trying to do?)

  2. Set business objectives and goals.

  3. What are your core values as a business?

  4. What are you bringing to the market? What are your products/services?

  5. What is your unique selling proposition that differentiates you from the competition?

  6. How does your customer feel before and after they use your products and services?

  7. What do your existing and potential customers think of you?

  8. Outline your strengths, weaknesses, and desired personality.

  9. Determine your brand voice and personality. Pick 5 adjectives that describe your business, like fun, motivational, thoughtful, witty, or trustworthy.

Conducting Research Will Simplify the Branding Processtext in italic

  • Find examples of logos or branding you like and ones you don’t.
  • Look for examples of colors, fonts, imagery, and copy that resonate with your business.
  • Look to your leading competitors. What is effective in your industry?

Don’t Be Afraid of Renaming Your Businesstext in italic*

Chances are your business already has a name. However, there is no shame in realizing your current name is not a good fit. Renaming your business could prove to be one of the most important moves you make. Here are some good reasons to consider renaming your business:

  • Memorability: How does the name sound when spoken aloud? Are you constantly spelling it for people? Can it be typed easily into Google search by your customers? Will people be able to remember it?
  • Availability: Are you able to secure your website domain or social handles? This one can be challenging, but it’s a big consideration when picking a new name.
  • Searchability: Are there other businesses with the same or similar name? Are they in your industry? Is your business name a real word that may have a lot of competition, like Milk or Purple? When it comes to your business, your customers should be able to find it easily. Pick something unique that will rank in search.

If a name change means you are also changing your website domain name, ensure you have a web deleveoper properly make this change as this can greatly impact any SEO work you may have done. Find out more about that here!

Integrate Your Brand into Everything You Do

  • Every employee should be aware of your core principles of branding guidelines. Have them easily available to your team.
  • Your brand voice should be audible in how you answer your calls and visible in how you word your emails.
  • Your brand is a promise to your customers. Always deliver and always be consistent.

BRANDING IS A SHORT-TERM INVESTMENT WITH LONG-TERM RESULTS

The branding process is intimate. After all, it will define your business – your baby. If you aren’t a graphic designer, you might end up wasting valuable time designing your own logo. However, if you are planning on working with a branding agency or freelance designer make sure that you hire someone that takes the time to understand your business. Invest in someone who works well with you, that wholly understands your business and does great work.

When you can finally take a step back and look at your business objectively, it may be easier to see it as a brand instead of a product or service you sell. The decisions you make will be more thought out. Your intent behind what you are trying to convey will be clearer. So often, small businesses put branding on the back burner. If you replaced the word branding with reputation because that is essentially what branding is, would you be so keen to overlook it?

Need help with your branding? Contact us today for a free marketing consultation!*