When you start a business, getting your branding right is crucial.
Becoming your own boss is a big thrill! However, it can be very overwhelming too, all the planning, all the responsibility is yours, and you probably want to see fast profit from all the time spent and all your efforts. Here I’ll explain the basics of how to brand your small business like the pros.
If you already have a great idea to start a small business, first of all, take your time to thoroughly choose your niche. This will affect every bit of your product or service characteristics from its image to the pricing.
Give yourself a time schedule and stick to it. Being on your own boss sometimes is twice as overwhelming as working an office schedule. So don’t get lazy you need to work harder to make your small business launch.
Pro tip: online businesses require less capital investment
1. Brainstorm your brand from A to Z
Define your brand’s goal as a company, for your customers and for you. Don’t just consider your logo, think about your brand as a whole. Get inspired by other super companies you admire. Look at their products, their services, their image, their strategies, you don’t have to be a genius to notice that Starbucks always calls their customers by their names so that they feel like they’re part of the brand. Take your time to really observe everything about your future competitors and the kind of business you’d like to own.
2. Determine your target audience
You should be perfectly clear of your average customer’s age, sex, town, likes, dreams, etc. This information is gold in order to adapt your small business branding to fit their needs and catch their attention. In this step, you should determine your competitive advantage.
3. Brand your business image
Your logo stands to represent everything your brand means. Scout your competitions’ logos and identify which are more eye-catching and which are more forgettable so that you can establish a pattern and make an informed decision on your logo design. This will help your design the best logo for your brand.There are three kinds of logos you can choose:
- Font based
- Illustrative logos which display what the company does
Keep it clean and functional. Although there are logo maker websites that do this for you, it is important that you have in mind that your logo is supposed to look clean and clear if you decide to design with other tools or software. Your logo should look good on a business card, banners, on your website, anywhere!
Also, you might want to make the negative version. This means having a design that both looks good over light or dark backgrounds, or having a light version and a dark version to contrast in either situation.
Use your logo to suggest how your customers benefit. For example, if you open a laundry service and you want to state that it is the fastest in the market, then you can use a time-like graphic, a lightning or a tornado.
A logo should be timeless, so don’t get too much into trendy fashions. With time, you will be able to make little adjustments and new versions but your logo essence should always be the same.
Want to make your logo yourself? Save time and money and try an online logo maker. There are custom logo templates for many business niches.
You could take it further with a logo animation video. People are more attracted to animated content compared to traditional logos. It’s eye-catching, it brings a plus to your logo, it’s fun and cheerful. Remember your logo plays an important role in your brand’s awareness so it’s just good sense to increase its level to get a more interested audience.
You can use it everywhere, on your social media, your brands presentation, a video, anything!
4. Create consistent core brand assets
Every visual material must be consistent with your brand. The difference between a successful brand and lesser-known ones has a lot to do with their branding consistency. So, the elements you use in your logo should also be present in your flyer designs, business cards, etc.
5. Use social media branded images
Choose at least two social media networks to work with. Which two? That depends on your business. If your work is very visual your best bet is to try a platform like Instagram, instead of a text-based one like Twitter.
Make a schedule on any platform or program you want, and do some research on the peak hours to post. Schedule weeks in advance using your social media image designs along with great copy, hashtags and locations. This way you are ensuring that you post consistently. You could try using a scheduling platform for this.
Another thing to keep in mind is the size of the images you post. If you use the same exact image for all of your social platforms, you risk having images get cut off. Avoid this by creating images at the ideal size for each social media site.
6. Make a website
Create a website and/or social media pages. There are a number of free or paid-for services out there. Get to know these platforms to start building your online page. If you are not sure what you would even put in there, then be practical: make a landing page where you can say what you sell, put examples of it, your contact information and your social media.
7. Create a dashing business card design
Promote your new small business with personalised business cards. Giving your contact information by mail is very impersonal, there is a certain charm to having your own custom business cards. They are a great direct marketing strategy, it’s your customers first look at your brand and it shows that you are prepared.
You can also think about flyers, posters, online banners, etc. Any visual asset that helps you to spread the message clean and clear!
8. Consider using mock-ups
Always consider your brand in every communication opportunity with your customer. When starting a small business, you will have a tight budget, so at least for now, don’t spend a fortune on things that are not essential. For example, you don’t need to actually print branded packaging, you could simply make a mock-up instead to share online. Images online should have a great quality and be professional, if you don’t have these and you can’t hire a photographer just yet, think about using mock-ups. It’s a great way to save money.