Creating a brand for your small business can be fun and effective if you are smart about how you go about doing it.  Here are a few tips from Ablaze Media about how to effectively build and develop your brand:

#1 Start with a Good Design

Unless you are the artistic type, you may feel overwhelmed with the number of font and color choices out there.  Understand that fonts and colors all communicate a message.  Involve a local designer early in the process.  A skilled graphic artist can help you communicate a lot about your business with a color, a few words and an icon.

#2 Build Your Online Presence

Just about everyone goes to the internet to find services and new businesses.  Build your online presence with your website and social media so that you are connecting and engaging effectively with your potential customers.  Post articles, give expert advice and have conversations online about what you know.  A static webpage or Facebook page is a dead page.  It needs to be updated, active and relevant. 

Outdated Websites

#3 Put Your Logo on EVERYTHING!

Building a brand means that you need to help people see your brand everywhere.  It is obvious that you need to put your brand on your storefront, employee’s uniforms, stationary and your company vehicles.  Also think about the other little places where your brand can shine.  Create company pens and notepads.  Make sure the company logo is on emails and memos.  If you post a photo online, make sure your logo is on the photo.

Business Cards

#4 Be Consistent

People go to the companies that they trust the most.  Trust is earned by dependability and consistency.  The same is true for your brand.  UPS Trucks are always brown.  Coke cans are red. The Facebook logo is an ‘f’ on a blue background.

Ask your logo designer to put together a style sheet for your business that provides company colors, suggested fonts and approved logos.  Then avoid these 2 design demons:

  1. Don’t squish, flatten or distort your logo or your text. Always keep it in perspective
  2. Other than changing your colors to black or white, don’t change the colors of your logo.

#5 Don’t Try to Make Everyone Your Target Audience

Successful marketers know who buys their product.  A Lexus is a high-quality car with a certain, exclusive clientele.  However, the local used car lot also has vehicles that are valuable to their clientele.  Your product is valuable to some people and not to others… and that is OK!  When thinking about your target audience ask these questions:

  1. Who makes up 51% or more of your clients? What do they have in common?  Are these the customers you want?
  2. What customers do you want to avoid?
  3. What kinds of promotions, advertising images or opportunities tap into the emotions of your target audience?
  4. Is the product at a price point that gives value to the product, creates enough revenue to be sustainable and is within reach of your target audience?
Everybody Man

#6 Align Yourself with Strong Brands

Don’t be shy about telling people about companies, colleagues or colleges you are connected with!  It creates credibility when a print shop aligns itself with 3M or a detailer that promotes its use of Armor All or a school highlights its teacher who was educated at Oxford.

3 Cs

#7 Do Something Unique

I love it when client asks this question, “What will make me stand out from the crowd?”  Think about ways that you can offer something that no one else can offer.  Have a creative meeting to brainstorm ways to put your brand on something unique.  Consider some of these ideas:

  • Create (or have a designer create) a useful infographic with your logo at the bottom. Post it on your website and on social media
  • Offer a coupon or some free content on your site to drive visitors there
  • Partner up with other complimentary local businesses
  • Wrap your car with an advertisement
  • Run a contest on social media
  • Host a podcast or online radio show. Give away a few tips about your product.  If you are in a small market, contact the local talk radio station and arrange an interview.
  • Put your logo on something no one else puts a logo on. Get creative!
Creative Advertising Idea

#8 Finally, Hire a Great Design Firm

Many of these things you don’t have the time or the ability to do in house.  Your branding is our business.  Let a full-service design firm, like Ablaze Media, come along side you and help!