Branding is a Small Business' Best Friend

Have you ever seen a company that has a useful product, but the worst branding?  From big brands to small, no company is immune to a potential branding mistake.  And as much as we might not like to admit it, branding does impact how we perceive a business.

Humans are pretty judgmental creatures.  We make hundreds of little choices every day and are used to forming opinions based on limited information in order to speed up the process.  That’s why branding becomes even more important for entrepreneurs and startups.  You have a minimal amount of time to leave an impression on potential customers and stand out in the marketplace, and good branding makes your job much easier.

“But the expense!” you say.  We won’t deny that good branding comes with a price, but it’s really an investment you can’t afford to scrimp on.  From customer acquisition to securing capital, there are plenty of things that make small business branding worth it.

 

Get to the truth

You may believe that your product is revolutionary and will benefit consumers, but if your branding doesn’t reflect that, what are consumers likely to believe?  Research shows that brand knowledge contributes to a consumer’s purchases – if your brand has a good image and good brand awareness, people are more likely to buy from you over and over again.  They key here is “good image”:  your branding contributes to a consumer’s overall perception of your company.  Shoppers encounter some aspect of your branding and form an opinion of your company long before they talk to a real-life sales rep.  If your branding is sub-par, that tells shoppers something too.

A little scary, right?  It doesn’t have to be.  Branding influences trust – why should a consumer trust that your product or service will work for them?  Trust has been a hot topic recently, and a new study shows that consumer trust in brands has taken a nosedive.  This is where entrepreneurs have a big advantage over huge companies:  they can introduce both a brand and messaging that consumers can trust, and more quickly adjust to changing sentiment.  Branding can help communicate the benefits of your product/service and highlight the values that make your company unique.

 

The market is crowded, so stand out

Entrepreneurs face an increasingly crowded marketplace, so showing what makes your brand unique is more important than ever.  New products and services pop up every day and have to contend with the sheer reach and marketing dollars of the Amazons and Walmarts of the world.  Good branding differentiates you from competitors and can help you really “own” a space in the way that Apple “owns” mobile phones.

 

Investors care about your branding, too

Besides the obvious consumer-related benefits branding provides, it’s also helpful in securing investors.  Investors are participating in fewer deals, and showing that you can attract an audience will help you in your quest to raise capital.  The easiest way audiences can learn about you? You guessed it, through branding.

 

Where you should invest

So you’re on board for branding – where should you invest your money?  Here are three key areas:

1.     Logo/typeface/colors

This is probably a given, but a well-designed logo can help consumers remember your brand (and make it instantly recognizable).  We all know what the Nike swoosh represents without needing to see the brand name anywhere. 

“Cleverness and craftsmanship are key when it comes to logos,” says Brittany Frazier, Launch Digital Production.  “The ones that always catch my eye play directly with elements of what the company represents.”

So take a tip from Brittany and invest in a good logo.  Along with a logo, you need to select a typeface and brand colors before creating marketing materials.  Your typeface communicates your brand personality, whether you’re innovative and quirky like Google or serious and knowledgeable like The New York Times.  And knowing what colors are popular in your industry, such as blue for healthcare or green for eco-friendly products, can help you choose a palette that stands out in a crowd.

2.     Website and blog

Your website and blog are also key elements that deserve proper investment.  Your website acts as a digital home base and must accurately reflect and build upon your brand personality.  Your blog is another opportunity to further showcase your brand voice through content, helping customers see who’s behind the brand and why they should trust you.

3.     Social presence

When creating your social channels, keep them in line with the look and feel of the rest of your branding.  Utilizing the same colors, typefaces, and imagery across your social channels keeps your branding consistent and more memorable.  You can get a little looser with grammar on your social handles in order to better connect with your audience.