The idea of branding goes all the way back to ancient times. Farmers would brand their livestock to mark ownership. Nations stamped special signs or pictures of their royalty on coins to designate it as their money. Artists, writers, and tradespeople all signed their work with their name or a symbol to grow their own reputation.
These applications are all still in use as branding methods today, as are many others. In its simplest definition, a brand is an identifier. When we see that mark, we associate the thing we are looking at with its owner or creator. Some brands have become so familiar that we don’t even need to see the mark to recognize them. We know them by their language, the font in their messaging, design features, or special colors.
Is developing your own small business brand a worthwhile investment of your time and money?
In a word: Yes.
Why Does My Small Business Need Branding?
To elaborate on why your business needs branding, consider this question: Is the world, particularly the digital landscape, noisy? In today's fast-paced world filled with 24-hour news cycles, myriad social media channels, music and audiobook streaming, podcast platforms, and video services, the cacophony is undeniable.
In this cacophony, don't you want your messages to stand out and be heard?
As I mentioned, we know the really popular brands by much more than their name or logo. Those companies actually create extensive documentation that spells out exactly how every bit of public facing material should look in image and content. The result is a consistent message, more efficiency in every level of marketing, and a deep connection with their audience.
Your small business needs the same, with an investment proportional to the size of your business. Of course, your audience is smaller (although maybe you hope to be an international household name one day, too), but the principles are the same.
By creating a brand for your business, you will:
Become easier for your target audience to identify
Establish familiarity with your customers
Grow your internal sense of pride
Build credibility and reputation
Building a brand is so much more than stamping a mark on your product or service. It introduces order and methodology to the way you do everything in your business. This makes you more efficient. But what’s really valuable is that it makes your customers more efficient as well.
When people begin to recognize you, they spend less time trying to identify things that come from you and more time actually consuming your content. Rather than taking several seconds to associate content with its creator, they register the brand in an instant and already know whether or not it will hold their attention.
What are the Essential Elements of Creating a Brand?
Create your brand elements with careful introspection, an understanding of marketing principles, and an eye on the future. All of these things are important to building the aesthetic that draws in your ideal client, cementing your pride of ownership, and setting the stage for your future goals.
The values you hold and the words that best convey them
Your personal style of speech and tone
The ideas or thoughts you want people to have when they recognize your brand
The colors and fonts that align with the tone and personality of your business
A name and/or tagline that quickly tells people the focus of your business
An image style that fits well with the business type and personality
Phrases that are consistent with the business style
Plural style pronouns if you plan to grow a team
A brand guide that specifies color codes, fonts, acceptable phrases, and ideal client personas
A professionally designed logo available in multiple file formats
While you don’t need to build your entire brand in one sitting, establish the basics so that you have a foundation. Build on this over time, adding details and revising as your business grows and takes shape. Your logo, tagline, and phrasing might all evolve as you gain footing in your market and respond to what is most effective with your clients.
Don’t forget to protect yourself and your brand as you go along. Check for trademarks to verify that your brand assets do not infringe on anyone else’s business. It might even be a good idea to trademark your business name and logo.
How Does Branding Make My Life Easier?
Once you have your brand materials all compiled, your marketing activities will be more efficient. As you build content or advertising assets, you will develop many templates that make every new marketing effort much easier.
You’ll begin to intuitively know what to post to social media, what blogs to write, what images to use, and even which marketing opportunities are a good fit.
You’ll have confidence that your logo will be displayed properly by third-party vendors, your employees will be empowered to use consistent messaging, and your customers will recognize you more easily than ever before.
If you are trying to determine what next steps in marketing you should take, contact us for an initial consultation. Marketing to Mission works with businesses that are ready to take action in their marketing to move their business forward.