Branding is one of those things that we often associate with large corporations – the concept often springs to mind big names such as Qantas, Ikea or Smirnoff . So, why is branding important for small business?

What is branding?

We should probably start by defining what branding actually is. 

The Collins dictionary defines it like this:

“The branding of a product is the presentation of it to the public in a way that makes it easy for people to recognize or identify.”

Your brand may include the following:

  • Logo(s)
  • Font(s)
  • Colour(s)
  • Icon(s)
  • Tagline or Slogan
  • Particular words or language
  • Emotive qualities (eg. Fun, Serious, Professional, Joyful etc)
  • Values

Brand Image

Overall, it’s the look and feel of your product/service/business and the message you convey to your potential customers.

Why build a strong brand for your small business?

Strong branding for your small business may bring the following benefits:

  • Create trust with potential customers
  • Improve your credibility
  • Improve customer recognition
  • Reach more of your ideal customers
  • Increased word of mouth referrals
  • Help you attract the right employees
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Less susceptible to outside influences
  • Increased collaboration opportunities
  • Increase in perceived value

To read more about these benefits and how a strong brand can deliver them, check out our blog on this topic here.

What makes a brand strong?

Positioningwhere does your brand sit in the minds of your target audience? 

The clearer your positioning, the more likely it is that your potential customers will remember you when they need your services.  Consider brands such as Rolex, Rolls Royce or Cartier – we all know they are high-end luxury brands because their brand positioning is clear in all of their marketing messages.  Would you find an ad for Disneyland in a magazine aimed at motorbike enthusiasts?  Of course not because their positioning is very much aligned with family and motorbikes have nothing to do with their brand.

Consider the two hotel images below. Where are each of these positioning themselves?

Hotel Provider 1
Hotel Provider 2

Visual Identity  – how can your target audience identify that what they see belongs to your brand? 

Think about Coca-Cola for a moment.  Odds are, you just recalled an image in your mind of the word Coca-Cola in a particular font in white on a red background (A very specific red). 

You may also have recalled images of a specific type of glass with ice and a familiar dark liquid in it with beads of condensation dripping down the glass. 

You may have even had an image of Santa pop in there. 

This is all because the marketing team at Coca-Cola have created an extremely strong visual brand identity that is specific to their product.  We can’t help but recognise it no matter where in the world we visit!  Your logo, colours, fonts and imagery must clearly identify your brand and products/services in order to build a strong brand.

ConsistencyCan your potential customers identify your brand no matter which of your marketing materials they are looking at? 

Consider the 3 examples below…

Not a strong brand example 1
Not a strong brand example 2
Not a strong brand example 3

Other than the business name, there would be no reason to assume that these 3 posts came from the same business at all.  This is a great example of what not to do! 

Now lets look at the following 3 examples and see the difference…

Strong brand example 1
Strong brand example 2
Strong brand example 3

You can see that these examples show consistency with the colours, the logo, the fonts and the imagery making it much more identifiable across the 3 posts and platforms.

Whilst it would be easy to think that this kind of stuff doesn’t really matter for a little sole trader or partnership business, the truth is that creating a strong brand is important for all businesses no matter the size.  Of course, if finding new customers and keeping existing ones engaged with your business isn’t important then by all means don’t worry about it.  If you want to be recognised and remembered though, your brand needs to be as strong as possible.

Need more help with your small business branding?  Get in touch with us here at Kickass Marketing – we love helping small business owners create strong brands.