Branding Your Small Business: Five Things You Need to Know

After years in the industry, you are privy to successful strategies of helping small businesses grow their marketing strategies and assisting with the creative direction of thousands of small business logo designs. Here are the top five tips based on this experience that you can implement now to ensure your small business brand stands out.

1. You Must Know Your Audience
Marketing has developed into a pull economy. With the growth of digital marketing channels, sophisticated segmentation and personalisation has shifted marketing interactions from outbound to inbound. A brand needs to be much more than just a standard business logo design or some cool designs. A brand must build a deep relationship with its customers. To achieve this, it is essential for you to know your audience, as well as their desires and needs, and the challenges they face to progress. You must understand your customers’ purchasing habits, as well as the avenues they use when interacting with businesses similar to yours.
A sub-set of your audience is your niche – those customers who enjoy the most benefit from the type of services offered by your business. You should shape your brand and your marketing mainly towards this niche within a more mass market. As your business develops into new markets you will have the ability to target additional niches. Marketing to niches means that you can design value propositions for each target market, to address distinct needs and triggers for a highly reactive inbound strategy.

2. You Must Know Yourself
How do you create a brand that is compelling to your audience? You must discover and then express the values of your brand – the driving purpose and passion of your company. Think about what the inspiration was for starting the business. Consider what the value is that you offer to your customers.
Stay away from values that are superficial, cliché or statements that vaguely talk about revenue and profit. The values of your brand should be sincere and fervent assertions that demonstrate the prevailing qualities of an outstanding brand. Perhaps you hold authenticity above everything else, or you do your utmost to offer the most straightforward solution to a common problem. No matter what sort of business you are in, you have something essential to present to your prospective customers. If you re-focus on this as your reason for existence, customers will be sure to take notice.
Some brands base their identity on battling against something, but you should avoid comparisons with the competition. Always keep the message positive, and focus on the values of your brand and the benefits of your product, rather than on what the competition does not do.

3. You Must Communicate Well
First impressions set the standard for every customer interaction going forward. Begin with authority and clarity, and continue with responsibility and excellent customer service. The effectiveness of your communication about your product can have a greater impact on the success of your business than the product itself. Even in the instance where a customer has an experience that is negative, with communication that is honest and open you have the chance to make that customer into an evangelist for your brand.
If you treat all stakeholders in an honest and respectful manner, then your reputation will reflect this. The brands that put time and energy into effectively communicating develop long-term relationships with their customers and create vast amounts of goodwill.

4. You Must Design To Impress
A compelling brand is immediately recognizable. Such a brand will have a unique style and design, which evokes an emotional response and which is pertinent to their niche market. High-quality graphic design must be part of all of your business’ marketing materials. The website, the logo, pamphlets, and email communications must be designed for the highest aesthetic appeal. Attractiveness and grace equate with expertise, and evoke feelings of wellbeing and comfort, which serves to reinforce your brand’s value in the mind of the customer.
Impressive design does not have to mean graphics and visual elements. Design functionality includes factors such as the typography, the page layout, intuitive user experience design, and readability, which are all important for a brand image that is effective and engaging.

5. You Must Be Consistent
It’s likely you know the taste of a Coke, you can visualise an iPad and can recall the colours that make up Google’s logo.
A fundamental value of branding for a small business is that it is consistent. If there consistency is not there, then a business will never have the chance to develop into a brand that is sustainable and familiar. Consistency not only builds up trust, it also leads to recognition. In the long term, consistency works to drive larger profits. Capitalise on the values of your brand, its impressive design, and your thorough understanding of your audience, by ensuring a brand experience that is consistently enjoyable. You will become well known not only for the product or service you offer, but also for invoking a specific emotion in your customers.
Every single communication regarding your brand should make clear the best and most compelling thing about the brand. By unifying research and design and consistency of message, you can make enduring and lucrative relationships with your ideal customers.
Your business’ website is often the main presentation of your product or service, and a very important channel of communication for your business.

This article was contributed by Magicdust, a full service digital agency who specialize in business logo design and small business websites.