Branding may sound big and scary, but it doesn’t have to be. For years, local businesses had a small market share, and they didn’t have to concern themselves with branding because they were only in competition with a few other local businesses in that same industry.
Fast forward to the social-media, online-shopping, 24/7 digital world in which we live, and you now need to have a brand and a way for people to quickly identify and connect with your specific brand. You want them to recognize you and your products from the 100 other handmade soap sellers they follow on Insta or the 1000 other wedding photographers that fill their Pinterest boards.
This seems like a tall order, but it all comes down to remembering a few key things when you are intentionally branding yourself:
- think of how you want to look visually
- think of how you want to sound verbally
- think of how you want your people to represent your company
When setting up your small business, chances are you started with a product or service that you wanted to offer the general public, and then you got started by selecting a name for yourself. After your name, you probably went to work on selecting a logo either by working with a graphic designer, making one for yourself, or working with a logo generator online. All these are great first steps, but visual branding doesn’t end there.
When creating a comprehensive visual brand for your business, you need to make sure all your marketing materials from your business cards to your website to your ads in the newspaper are consistently using the same colors and fonts. Not only will this help your potential buyers quickly and easily recognize your brand and start making brand associations, but it will also help you save time when developing marketing materials because you won’t have to sift through thousands of fonts or spend hours matching the correct shade of blue.
When considering your visual brand, it’s also important to think about color associations made in people’s subconscious mind. If your primary brand color is black, people may associate you with being “classic” or “trustworthy.” If you choose yellow, “happy” and “energetic” come to mind. Be sure that the visuals cues you evoke are consistent with the image you’d like to show your followers and potential customers.
Be consistent with your visual brand and use your logo wherever you can.
Visual branding and determining your logo isn’t the end of the branding process. Having a strong verbal brand is important too. Identify a slogan and mission statement to help your followers and clients connect with your “why” and create an emotional connection to your business.
Are you a childcare facility? Make your verbal messaging happy and fun, full of energy and child-centric. Are you a law firm? Maybe take away the silly and the energy and be sure your web copy illustrates that you are competent and professional.
Whatever your business, you need to be the one who decides how to communicate your mission to connect with your customer. People have thousands of opportunities to shop with people in your industry by doing ten minutes of Google research. So use your verbal branding to paint a picture for your potential clients, tell a story of what they’ll get by choosing you, and communicate what it means to work with your small business.
Want to know more about establishing your brand for the digital sphere? Watch the MKM Live broadcast from Monday, July 23: