Cheat's Guide to Small Business Branding

By Stefanie Neyland, Content Developer at BizLaunch Media Inc.


We hear the word “brand” everywhere, but new entrepreneurs often wonder what it really means. A brand is the image that you create for your company, product or service. Your brand may suggest economical or expensive; fun or serious; quirky or sophisticated – whatever it is, by building your brand at every point of contact with your customer, you differentiate yourself from your competitors and help customers recognize you in a crowded marketplace.


What will a brand do for your business?

A familiar brand comforts your customer – it makes a promise. It tells them what to expect from your business. If they know what to expect, risk is removed from making a purchase. People face enough risk in their lives so they seek out the familiar. By building your brand, you make it easier for people to buy from you, and that will eventually reduce your marketing and selling costs. Your brand is also your biggest business asset. Why? Because it carries all the customer goodwill you’ve built up over the years – and that can eventually be sold, franchised or used to introduce new products and services.


There are many elements that go into developing your brand, including your company history, mission, business name, slogan, product packaging, community involvement, product or service quality, pricing, advertising choices, image and customer service.


Branding basics


  1. Focus on the visuals

The world’s most recognized brands (McDonald’s ‘golden M’, Nike’s ‘tick’ or Apple’s ‘apple’) are visually memorable. While the name of your company or product is important, it’s the visual that will stand out. Work with an experienced designer to bring your brand to life graphically.


  1. Be consistent

Once established, your brand must appear on everything. Put it on your business cards, website, emails, promotional materials, invoices and even your vehicle.


  1. Cultivate a positive image

Since your brand is an assurance of quality, back it up by doing what you promise to do. Deliver a quality product that doesn’t break, offer a quality service that surpasses customer expectations and always address any customer problems or complaints. People purchase based on reliability, so implement systems that ensure the customer enjoys the same great experience every time they buy. Set your brand’s standards down in writing so all employees know exactly how things work.


Designing your brand from scratch

Your company name, logo, the colours of your marketing materials, the paper used – even whether the corners are round or square – tiny details all affect your business image and brand. To get these details right, it’s important to hire a professional. Your business name should say what you do, and it should be memorable and distinctive. Your domain name should do the same, and your slogan or tagline should reach out to your target market with a clear expression of what you stand for, what you offer and your key benefits. e.g., De Beers  – “Diamonds are forever.”


However, rolling out your new branding involves more than just putting your logo on some stuff – it’s about becoming the brand. Remember, your brand is about who you are and what you do, so make sure every customer touch point supports the image you want your brand to project.


  • Design an identity package including business cards, letterheads, envelopes, signage, email, stationery, invoices  – whatever you’ll need.

  • Staff uniforms  – develop a standard dress code.

  • Staff attitude – train your employees to offer service in line with your brand. For example, you may want them to answer the phone a certain way.

  • Set a pricing policy that is consistent with your brand. Your prices will help you to reach your ideal customers and build your brand. Want to be known as the economical choice? Sell a little to a lot of people with low prices. Going after the luxury market? Price your products high. Make sure the rest of your business reflects your pricing policy. Customers paying $500 a night for a hotel room will expect fancy soaps and shampoo!

  • Establish appropriate customer service standards to support your brand, such as same-day response, delivery on demand, no-hassle refunds or personal follow-up calls.

Have you cultivated an established brand for your business? We’d love to hear how you did it! Leave your comments below.

By Andrew Patricio

March 18, 2015