Small Business Branding Basics
When it comes to your small business, branding is vital to its success. A strong brand can attract new customers, create a narrative of professionalism, and communicate your offerings clearly to potential leads. A poor brand can confuse customers, turn them away from buying your service, and create a negative reputation amongst peers. The worst part is you might not even be aware of how your brand is being received or not understand the extent of which your brand impacts your business daily.
What Is a Brand?
Branding is not just a recognizable logo, memorable tagline, and an aesthetically pleasing website. Your brand identity encompasses every interaction you have with a client. From the way you answer your phone to the wardrobe choices you make getting dressed in the morning to the writing style of your follow up email, your brand is an accumulation of all the visual, verbal, and nonverbal messaging you send your client.
How Is Your Brand Perceived?
When combined altogether as a complete user experience, your brand will be viewed as being consistent or inconsistent. A consistent brand is perceived as positive, trustworthy, and predictable. Your customers know what to expect and what quality of work they will receive. An inconsistent brand leaves your customers questioning how they are spending their money and if they will receive the intended outcome of their interaction with you. Your brand messaging can make your business or break your business depending on how it is perceived. The best way to understand how your brand is being perceived is by auditing it, taking stock of how your brand is being presented, how your messaging is being understood, what your customers say about it, and how your brand stands up to competitors.
How Do I Audit My Brand Without Feeling Overwhelmed?
Branding doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to send a clear message that resonates with your customers. What experience do you want your customers to have when interacting with your business? What do you want your customers to say to their friends when describing your business? Get into the mindset of thinking about your customers’ needs daily. What questions would they have while working with you? Would you be satisfied with the service you received if your roles switched? Where are there gaps and inconsistencies between what you are saying and what you are providing? Keep your audit targeted in order to keep it simple.
Help! My Brand Has Gaps and Inconsistencies. What Should I Do to Fix It?
First, identify if your brand needs a rebranding or a brand refresh. They might sound similar but they are actually very different and will influence the approach you take to kickstarting your new and improved brand. Here is a brief explanation:
Rebranding is the act of dismantling your brand’s identity completely and starting over with a clean slate. This might be perfect for a new business that hasn’t ever truly established their brand and needs to start from the ground up. Rebranding might also be helpful for a business that feels stuck and confined by its current brand identity and needs to shake things up dramatically to change the trajectory. Businesses evolve and so do the offering you provide. In order to keep up with your business’s evolution, you might need to rebrand making dramatic changes in your brand identity. Ask yourself these questions:
- How old is my business?
- Has my business plan changed dramatically since I started my business?
- Am I serving my clients well or am I holding back from serving them properly as a result of my brand?
A brand refresh is an act of polishing your current brand, filling in the gaps, and unifying your message. A refresh strengthens your existing brand without dismantling your brand’s identity completely. A brand refresh is often all a small business needs to get to the next level of success. A brand refresh is an exercise in examining your business from top to bottom in order to make edits and refinements. Think to restyle as a result of a brand makeover. Ask yourself these questions:
- What am I doing well that customers appreciate?
- How can I improve my customer’s experience with my brand?
- What changes to my brand could help me unify my messaging?
Once you have identified your needs for rebranding or a brand refreshment you can begin the process of crafting a more successful vibrant small business that reflects just how amazing you are and highlights your strengths!
Is a Rebrand or a Refresh the Right Choice for You?
We created a free guide to help you determine which is right. Begin your creative branding journey here with clarity. Just fill out this form to receive your worksheet by email.
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