Branding for Small Businesses: What It Is and How To Use It To Build a Loyal Following

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Branding for Small Businesses: What It Is and How To Use It To Build a Loyal Following


When growing your small business, one of the toughest but most important tasks you will encounter is branding. Branding involves much more than developing a logo; it is the sum of consumers' perceptions of your reputation, logo, advertising, customer service, and values. In short, it is your business's identity. Take steps to shape that identity early on, as it will affect the consumer experience and your bottom line.


Use the guide and resources below to think about how your business executes on its branding.


Develop a Strong Brand


There are dozens of reasons why it is critical to focus on developing a powerful brand sooner in your business journey rather than later. However, one of the most important reasons to invest in branding is that it helps shape the customer experience.


Consumers become aware of and recognize new, up-and-coming companies due to branding. When done right, it provides consistency, which leads to trust. Trust increases the perceived financial value of a business's offerings and ultimately leads to sales. In fact, 75% of consumers cite brand awareness as one of the major contributing factors in their purchase decisions. For companies that can deliver on their promises, branding ultimately leads to customer loyalty.


Understand Your Target Market


You must develop a brand that is true to you and speaks to your target market, which can be tricky. Start by establishing a position, developing brand standards, and creating and maintaining a consistent voice. If you do all this and then some, your target market should flock to you.


However, you can help your audience by researching them and developing your image around their wants, needs, desires, and demographics. How old is your ideal audience? Where do they live? What motivates them to purchase products or services such as yours? What are their education and income levels?


You can learn more about your target audience by hosting interviews, conducting surveys, and paying attention to market research. You can leverage what you learn about your target audience to convert them into customers.


Know When To DIY…And When Not To


Your brand is an investment, and you should treat it as such. However, as a startup entrepreneur, you may be working on a shoestring budget. If this is the case, allocate your budget in such a way that you do "easy" branding tasks yourself and outsource those that require a professional touch. Branding tasks that you can do yourself include the following:


  • Develop a value proposition
  • Identify core values
  • Create a client profile
  • Align your business goals with personal values
  • Come up with an appealing color scheme


In short, you can easily do the planning phase of your brand development yourself. However, if you don't have the time or skills to build a website, you should consider hiring a professional. If you do outsource to, say, a digital marketing agency to design a logo for your business, make sure to weigh reviews, delivery time, and costs. Once you have a logo, it can easily be repurposed to use in various marketing materials and online by using an online tool to change image size. This will ensure that your images aren’t improperly proportioned, and may even help your website load faster.


Use this information as food for thought when developing your business's identity. It can go a long way toward helping you create a memorable and successful brand.


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Written by Cherie Mclaughlin