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12 Small Business Branding Best Practices

5 Mins read

What is one best practice for small business branding? To help you with branding your small business, we asked successful small business owners and marketing experts this question for their best tips. From focusing on one niche to defining your brand’s voice, there are several pieces of advice that may help you with branding your small business in the future.

Here are twelve best practices for small business branding:

  1. Focus on One Niche
  2. Remain Consistent
  3. Consider Influencer Marketing
  4. Establish a Visual Identity
  5. Offer Your Expertise to Cement Authority
  6. Make Use of Storytelling
  7. Continuously Develop Your Brand
  8. Focus On Your Target Audience
  9. Remember Why You Started It
  10. Create Branded Visuals
  11. Learn Who Your Customers Are
  12. Define Your Brand’s Voice

Focus on One Niche 

The goal of building a brand is to create an emotional connection with existing customers. By trying to be everything to everyone, you may wind up falling flat with everyone — so choose one niche who you really resonate with. Say, for example, you’re an ice cream shop. Are you the ice cream shop for families? For couples on a date? For gourmet diners who are looking for something new and unique? If you pick one niche and build your brand around it, you’ll have a much higher likelihood of building the loyal following you’ll need for long term success.

Elliott Brown, OnPay Online Payroll

Remain Consistent

A consistent brand is key for small businesses. This means having a well-defined logo, color palette, typeface, and voice that you use across all your marketing materials. It also means sticking to these elements – because over time, they will become synonymous with your business.

Jonathan Baillie Strong, Spotlight Podcasting

Consider Influencer Marketing

To help build your small business brand, consider influencer marketing straight away. When it comes to influencer marketing, authenticity is the name of the game, meaning bigger is not necessarily better. This makes it ideal for small businesses who may not yet have the budget or cache to partner with the “biggest” influencer or reach the largest audience. For smaller businesses, opt for more affordable micro influencers because, while they may not have as many followers as a pricey macro influencer, they tend to boast more engaged audiences, as a key takeaway

Ryan Rottman, OSDB Sports

Establish a Visual Identity

Your brand’s visual identity is what people will know you for (except for the services or products you offer). It goes beyond the style guide for your website’s design or logo. Visual identity spans from business cards, the design of your offices, to the color palette your brand uses in marketing. The best way to go about it is to do a little brainstorming. You should create a story around your brand and make sure it appeals to your target audience.

Salman Aslam, Omnicore

Offer Your Expertise to Cement Authority

Branding can be an expensive process, yet there are efficient and cost effective ways to solidify your business’s image and perhaps one of the best methods is establishing your authority. It is important to remember that you have other assets than just products and services, you have expertise. Offering your knowledge through blogs, newsletters, webinars, and other digital platforms will not only provide consumers an online presence and something of great value, but will also showcase your business as the authority in your marketspace. 

In addition, by opening your expertise pathways to other entities or synergistic businesses, you can further enhance your image. By offering your expertise, you can cement your brand into potential customers, and make your business the first that comes to mind when they have a need in your field.

Adelle Archer, Eterneva

Make Use of Storytelling

Inject some form of storytelling into your brand — these could come in the form of your business’s origin story, how you uphold the tenets of a certain value system in your brand, etc. Remember that a good story has a main character (your customers), a sidekick (your business), a problem that needs to be solved, and a happy ending. When your brand has a story, it makes it easier for potential customers to connect and relate to your brand.

Francine Kaye Acelar, Formicidae, LLC

Continuously Develop Your Brand

Building a brand is a never-ending process. Your brand identity will need to evolve in the same way that your website needs to add relevant and usable aspects. When your customers expect a fresh new look, you must pay attention to changing your brand strategy. You’ll need to invest in market research and customer feedback, just like significant firms have done throughout history. Social media platforms provide you with unique insight into where you’re successful in wowing clients, where your efforts are falling flat or backfiring, and where possibilities to develop ties with the community your business serves are emerging. You may utilize those platforms to get feedback, which is a terrific method to not only strengthen relationships but also to turn your most loyal clients into “brand evangelists.”

Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group

Focus On Your Target Audience

When branding for a small business, it’s important to perform a SWOT analysis and identify your areas of opportunities, weaknesses, and target audience. As a small business, it’s very important to know your target audience as they help to determine your marketing strategy. Within this strategy, you want to make sure you’re creating content that is marketed towards them to keep them coming back while creating a bond with your audience.

Chris Hunter, ServiceTitan

Remember Why You Started It

Small businesses are often born from a really compelling and personal story. It’s this story that informs your reason for existing, your brand (and business) values, your compass for decision making, your visual brand expression, etc. Perhaps most importantly, it is most in service of your distinctiveness; making sure you stand out and stick in people’s minds. Your brand is what makes people give you their attention, it’s what makes people remember you, it’s what gives people a feeling that helps them understand if you are ‘for them’ or not, and at it’s best, it’s what makes people love you. As small businesses start to grow, it can be tempting to look at what the ‘bigger’, ‘more successful’ brands are doing, and try to emulate their brand or borrow their approach. But the moment you do this at the sacrifice of why you began in the first place, the moment your brand starts to dilute. Never forget why you started your small business, and keep it in the heart of your brand.

Hannah Ray, TAKE Coaching Amsterdam

Create Branded Visuals

It’s important to create branded visuals that will align with your target audience. In this digital world, creative posts on social media can make or break a business. A strong social media team can effectively build brand identity. Marketers can consider creating how-to posts or a live demonstration of using products. In doing so, companies can keep up with modern business trends and relate to their audience in a virtual setting.

Natália Sadowski, Nourishing Biologicals

Learn Who Your Customers Are

To create a brand identity that resonates with your customers, you need to understand who your customers are. Take the time to truly learn what they like and dislike, who they look up to and who they hate, and know exactly what is important to them. Develop detailed personas and get into their heads. By the time you’re done, you should feel like you could write an autobiography about them.

Kristi Mitchell, KM Consulting

Define Your Brand’s Voice

Often overlooked, identifying and shaping a small business’s brand voice can have a huge impact on the life and growth of that business. From a content marketing perspective, every brand has some small quirks – from the language they use, to the way they use spacing and punctuation, to the ways they spell out numerals vs using the actual digits. These all play into a brand voice that people begin to associate with a business over time. And setting that up early, means you can steamroll that recognition into bigger and bigger brand awareness over time.

Dylan Miller, DSM Story Forge

Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Terkel, a Q&A platform that connects brands with expert insights.  Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published. 

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