Having a strong brand for your business leaves an everlasting impression with customers, especially when you’re a small business fighting to make your name known. A big common oversight that small business owners make, is failing to establish brand guidelines. When a powerful guideline is in place, the business looks tidy, professional, and well established. It all helps convey your company’s attitude and as Lindsay Kolowich, Marketing Blog Writer, well defines it, branding shows “what its values are, how you communicate its concepts, and which emotions you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business.”
Branding is the driving force that positions your business within the market. Where does your company stand against competitors? A great way to tackle this is to do a good old SWOT Analysis of your business. Here’s the breakdown:
Strengths - Define what sets your business apart from it’s competitors. What are the advantages your customers are getting by going to you?
Weaknesses - What areas in your business can you see flaws in, things that other competitors have against you?
Opportunities - Define areas for improvement and exploration opportunities. What unique trends can you identify in the market that complements your business? Is there new technology that your business can take advantage of?
Threats - These are things in your business’ environment that could work against the growth of the company. (i.e., Government regulations, demographic changes, etc.)
When all of these are done, then define your brand. What’s the vision for your business? What’s the mission behind everything the company does? What’s the spirit of it all? Is your business “magical” like Disney or “adventurous” like GoPro? These are great questions to answer with your marketing team so you can establish strategic messaging that coincide with the business’ positioning.
Logo & Color Scheme
Is your logo something you pulled from ClipArt back in 1997? If you’ve answered yes, please read on. The logo of your company is the first thing your customers see and studies show, it takes less than a second for viewers to analyze your business based off of it, so make it a good impression! Color schemes also play an integral role of how well your customers perceive your business. Check out this chart below to see an array of colors and the emotions established with them. It’s not a coincidence that a lot of food places like McDonald’s, In-N-Out, and Tommy’s all have red and gold for their company colors.
This can be a long and deep process and if you’re at a loss for what colors and images your business should entail, seek a professional graphic designer for assistance.
Do a walk through of all the materials that your customer sees. Does your brochure reflect the latest logo and color scheme? Glance over all your social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Website), and make sure all the information is up to date but more importantly, if the messaging is consistent. Do you offer unmatched quality on your website, but your Facebook page tells your customers that you’re similar to other strong businesses in the neighborhood? Branding is like a bonsai tree and it’s a constant game of trimming and changing elements to cater to your audience. Solidifying your business’ presence creates long-lasting impressions on your customers. The easier it is for people to remember your business, the more likely it is to gain new customers and grow.