When you’re starting your own business, choosing an identity that defines who you are as an organization and will resonate with your potential customers is essential. Your brand should reflect the quality of your products or services, what sets you apart from your competitors, and why customers should choose you over them. Although large companies hire branding consultants to create their brand identities, smaller businesses can do it independently and save money in the process. You can use these simple steps to create a company identity that will help you build your business into something big.
What is Branding?
Branding is a type of communication used to distinguish a business or product from its competitors. Branding can be a name, slogan, symbol, logo, design, or any combination thereof developed by an organization for use in advertising and marketing. Successful branding helps make customers feel familiar with your product and reinforces your competitive advantages in their minds. A critical key for small businesses is building brand awareness through digital marketing and strategic campaigns. The more people know about your company and its offerings, the more potential consumers there are for your products. The brand refers to how consumers perceive you as a company and relate to your name and logo within their consumer network—including friends, family members, and coworkers.
Identify Your Strengths
Identifying your small business’s strengths is vital in determining how you should market yourself. Think about what makes your company unique, and then find ways to integrate those qualities into your small business identity. Before you know it, your brand will be standing on its own two feet, and you’ll have more people paying attention than ever before.
The last thing you want is to limit your options, so do your research and look into your business identity options. There are many different types of trademarks and even more ways to create and market them effectively, but there’s no right or wrong answer regarding which brand choice is best for you. Take an honest look at your company’s strengths and focus on creating an identity that works for you—your customers will thank you for it.
Research the Competition
Researching your competitors is essential for any small business, even more so if you’re looking to set yourself apart in an already crowded marketplace. A big part of creating your brand identity is ensuring it has as few similarities with its competitors as possible. Early in your planning process, take time to research what others have done and how they’ve branded themselves and see how you can do things differently.
Establish an Appropriate Message
When creating an identity for your small business, consider who you are as a company. What message do you want to convey? Think of how you want customers and potential clients to perceive your business and how that affects your logo design and overall branding. Use that message in all of your communications with clients and partners. For example, if you want customers to feel like they can trust you or approach you with questions or concerns, as an accounting firm might do, find ways to see it every time they interact with your brand. In marketing materials and social media posts, show employees being transparent in their professional responsibilities or share anecdotes about customer interactions that showcase customer care.
Your company’s identity is essential to your marketing, but you can’t just have a name and logo slapped on everything and call it good. Before you invest in any branding or advertising, get input from others; do research with customers, industry experts, employees, etc. This gives you valuable information about who your customers are—and whether or not they even want what you’re offering.
Focus on Consistency
A brand isn’t just an image you project; it’s how your company interacts with customers and employees daily. All your communication and interactions should center around that consistent brand identity. If they don’t, you risk alienating potential partners or making yourself look inconsistent. Branding is essential if you want your business to be successful long-term, so make sure you get it right.
Maintain and Refine Over Time
Once you’ve settled on an identity for your business, take some time to make sure everything—from your logo, tagline, and business cards through all of your branding materials and marketing collateral—is consistent with it. This can be time-consuming but will help ensure that you have an identifiable brand in front of customers from day one. Keep these components up to date; there’s nothing more dated than an out-of-date website or logo. Updates and improvements will also help you evolve your brand as your business grows without dramatic rebranding.
Creating an effective company identity is important for selling yourself and your brand to potential customers. People are more likely to trust you and buy from you if they like your logo and design. Branding guidelines can be tricky, especially when it comes to getting every aspect of your image in line with one another.