Creating brand awareness and measuring results can be complicated to say the least. As a small business owner, it may be tempting to throw your hands up and float along without investing in your brand. The truth is that it is just as important for small businesses to invest in their brand as it is for big ones and it’s quite possible to do it on a smaller budget. The purpose of building your brand is to make your business stand out from your competitors and make your business memorable so that customers choose your business again and again. Now that the need and purpose of branding your business are established, the next question is how to brand your business effectively.

How to brand your business

Your brand is the broad definition of who you are as a company. It answers big questions, including:

  • Your core mission and values
  • How you treat your customers
  • Workplace culture

Start your branding exercise by taking the time to carefully define these elements.

Next, you will want to answer the following questions:

  • Who are your customers? And what kind of values and visual elements appeal to them?
  • What makes my business unique from my competitors? This is your “Point of Difference” or POD
  • What need am I filling in the marketplace?
  • What can my business do to enrich the lives of my employees, customers and community?
  • How will my business fit into and contribute to our industry?

Once you have done this initial work, you are ready to get to the tactical work of building your palette and visual style. From there, it’s time to create your logo, and design your packaging, signage, social media content and website.

Four steps to building your brand

  1. Define your target audience

If you spend all your time navel gazing, you are forgetting about the most important element of your brand – how it will appeal to your target audience! Once you identify the demographics and psychographics of your target audience, you will be in a position to appeal to them:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Education
  • Location
  • Hobbies/interests
  • Personality traits
  • Personal beliefs and values
  • Lifestyle characteristics

Once you have gathered this information, preferably by using available sales data, it is extremely helpful to form a focus group of people who fit into your target audience. You can ask them about what brands appeal to them and why as well as what their needs are.

  1. Position your business

This is where you decide how your business will be different from other businesses that offer similar products or services in your marketplace. Start by doing a SWOT analysis. This stands for identifying your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. You will gather information about your direct competitors during this analysis to understand what you are up against.

  1. Determine your company personality

Your company’s personality should be well defined and used as a way to draw customers to your business. Are you young and fresh? Middle aged and stylish? Adventurous? Creative? Fun? A world traveler?

Defining your company’s personality is best done through a brainstorming session with several team members who really understand the vision behind the business. A company brainstorming session is a great way to accomplish this task.

  1. Define your brand identity through a logo and slogan

Brand identity covers all the visual elements that create the “look and feel” of your brand, starting with your typography, colors, and logo. It also includes design decisions for product packaging, your website design, and your social media graphics.

  • Your logo communicates the image and personality of your brand
  • Your slogan is a short, catchy phrase that can be used in your first (or next) marketing campaign

Working with a graphic artist who can create visual elements for your vision is ideal for this phase.

Branding help with Softwired

Branding help is available when you work with Softwired. Over the years, we have recognized the need and stepped up to help small businesses brand their business. This important work helps our clients define who they are in order to better reach their target audience and grow their business.

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