Whether you’re the biggest company in the world or a small business just starting out, spending time building your brand is one of the most important things you can do. Simply put, branding helps you define your business to yourself, your employees, and your customers. It shows everyone not only what the business does exactly but also what its values are, and when people can connect with those values, it leads to loyalty and easier brand differentiation.

Your brand encompasses all the experiences customers have with your company, from marketing materials to website content to social network posts. Brands that stand out show at a glance what the business is while establishing credibility and trust at the same time.

To get started, think about what makes your business unique. What value do you provide, and how does that value, as well as your products or services set you apart from the competition? Spend time carving out your own distinct identity. It’s important to try not to imitate the look of big brands; nowadays, consumers seem to be trending toward small business shopping anyway, and larger companies are attempting to mimic their independent feel. If you’re a small- or medium-sized business, you already have leverage in today’s market with an existent customer base.

Next, you need to get to know your audience and pinpoint your target customer. Create a picture in your mind of that person -- what are their wants, needs, and habits? This will help you decide how you want to proceed, since branding should be geared directly to your main demographic.

Brand recognition begins with the name of your business; the more effective it is in immediately telling customers what your business does, the less time you’ll have to spend explaining it to them. This name will become associated with your products or services and will appear everywhere from your website to your business cards to your promotional materials. It’s important to spend considerable time deciding on the name that will make the most impact.

It’s also imperative that your logo be a strong representation of your company. Because it’s often a customer’s first encounter with your brand, things like color and design matter in that all-important first impression. Pick the hues that represent your business’s ideals, and be aware of the emotions you want to summon since different colors can cause a variety of reactions. For example, blue has a calming effect, and red is associated with power and danger.

Once you’ve established a name and logo, think about the look you want for your branding materials such as folders and signage. Consistency in presentation is important for building and maintaining a strong brand, and it leads to familiarity and eventually trust. This includes uniformity in messaging as well. Confusion can result when you have a serious, informative tone on your website and an easygoing, informal one on social media platforms.

Unlike big companies, smaller businesses can take advantage of many opportunities to bring together people who love their products or services. This can be done online with your Facebook page, Twitter feed and website blog or offline with store events like a book club or Friday night sale party. Your aim should be to build long-term relationships with your customers, and this can be created with honest branding. Customers who love your business are often the best referral source.

No matter how big or small a business is, it should develop a clear brand to determine how customers recognize them. How do you want your specific customer base to think about your company? At Fine Line, we can assist you with brainstorming the answer to this question, as well help you with developing your logo and other marketing materials.

Sources:

http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing-strategy/branding/ten-ways-to-build-a-brand-for-your-small-business

https://www.ducttapemarketing.com/successful-small-business-brand/

https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2015/dec/08/beginners-guide-to-branding-small-business

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melinda-emerson/how-to-build-a-brand-for_b_7435354.html

https://mobe.com/10-innovative-ways-to-build-a-brand-for-your-small-business/?aff_id=1760