Surely more than once you have heard of branding strategies for small businesses. This term is more than known to those of us who work in the world of marketing and design, but from personal experience, I know that many clients who are unaware of the subject and who are starting a small business, may feel intimidated or lost when talking about these strategies.
Every business, company, or entrepreneurial project needs to have a branding strategy that consolidates the identity of its brand. Branding is comprised of all the characteristics, values, principles, and attributes that form the brand identity. Building that branding and communicating it correctly to connect with our target is a matter of strategies.
It does not matter if you have a very large or very small budget, there are always basic and low-cost strategies with which you can begin to shape the visual and communicative identity of your business. Here I share which are the main ones so that you can have quality branding from the first moment:
5 Branding Strategies for Small Businesses
1. Define the identity of your brand
As obvious as it may sound, to design your branding and establish some strategies, you must first define who you are as a brand, and it is not enough to know what you do, or what the name of your company is. It is about clearly defining your identity and the values that characterize you, the personality of your business, how you treat your customers, your mission, and your vision, and then translate it into visual and communicative language.
1. Who are you?
So that the process of defining your identity does not become confusing and overwhelming, there are some simple questions and principles to establish, with which you will get a quick answer:
- What adjectives or words would you use to describe your company? Aim for 3 to 5.
- What is your mission or main objective?
- What is your vision?
- What makes your brand different from the competition?
- How would you like the public to recognize you? For what characteristics, values or services do you want to be remembered?
You can add any other information that you consider important and influential in the personality of your brand, remember that the more clarity you have in your identity, the better the branding development will be.
2. Who is your target?
Many times this specific point is added to the list of previous questions, as one more characteristic. However, the importance of thoroughly knowing your brand’s target audience is such that the success or failure of your branding depends on it. In other words, you can have the best-defined, best-designed branding with the highest-quality content, but if you can’t connect with your audience, all your efforts will have been in vain. Therefore, you need to dedicate more than two or three lines to clarify this point.
Who is your ideal client? What is your age range? Are they men or women? Young, old or old? What do they do and what do they do in their free time? Why do they need to use your products or services? Why would they choose you and not the competition? Depending on your type of business, there are many questions that can be added that will help you learn, not only who these individuals are, but how you can effectively connect with them.
3. What are the most current trends that fit the profile of your brand?
We know that your brand has to be different, have its own personality and of course, stand out from the competition, but it is also convenient that you know what are the visual and communicative trends that companies in the same sector use to connect with their target.
No, we do not want you to repeat or copy them, but we do want you to know how to use the tools that are proven to work with your potential clients. For example, if you have a vegan recipe blog, you may notice that other vegan bloggers advertise their articles on Instagram, using predominantly green and earth tone color palettes. Implementing these colors in your own brand can be part of a strategy to attract the attention of this specific target, or you can increase the traffic of readers on your blog, through other social networks such as Instagram.
4. Appeal to the audience’s emotions
Emotions sell, we know that very well. How do you want the public to feel when they are in contact with your brand? Cheerful or relaxed? Nostalgic, or energetic? Transmitting an emotion or feeling can reinforce the identity of your brand in people’s memory, which in the long run translates into greater consumption of your products, an increase in the use of your services, or the number of your followers. Seek that all the branding of your company, from the visual image to the written communication, transmits the emotions or sensations that define your brand.
2. Development of visual identity
Now, with a clear idea of your brand identity, it’s time to start designing! The graphic pieces that you will develop may vary according to your type of business, but the basic and most important are:
1. Visual style guide and Mood board
Before getting to work and starting to design, it is important to create a visual style guide to clarify certain guidelines such as color palettes, fonts, and if there are any specific restrictions regarding the design. A Mood board is also a very useful tool to define the general visual aesthetics that the brand will have. The idea is that everything you design, maintains coherence and the same visual style.
It is your main visual symbol, the face of your business in front of the public. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the logo design conveys the full personality and identity of your brand. It is also the starting point to create all the rest of the graphic pieces.
3. Business Card
For almost any business, even for entrepreneurs or freelancers, the business card is an essential basic, which denotes professionalism and seriousness.
Not all businesses require the design of complete stationery, but for those who want to personalize their office supplies, the same design of the business card can be applied and the necessary variants developed.
Probably, after the logo, the website is the most important tool that you will need in your business. Today every brand that wants to be recognized must have a presence on the Internet, and your website must clearly and consistently contain all the branding of your company.
Developing more graphic pieces will depend on your type of business: if you need packaging for products, advertising flyers, or a digital banner. The important thing is that any design associated with your brand, keep in mind the branding of your company, in a consistent and coherent way, so that your target recognizes you easily.
3. Presence on social media
Like the website, social networks are one of the most powerful marketing tools today. And that is the wonderful thing about our time, that even if a company does not have the budget to invest in offline marketing, it can quickly become a recognized brand if it knows how to sell itself effectively in the online world.
If your brand’s audience moves more through Instagram or Facebook, or if instead, they are more regular on Pinterest, you should create profiles of all the social networks that your target uses the most. And what does your company profile need? High-quality images, articles, and content that transmit your branding, in addition to obviously using your logo and all the visual identity of the brand.
A good branding tool is the copies, captions and those written in the posts, which, written in the same style and with a characteristic personality, can become the voice of your brand.
4. Content marketing
Once we have a website and profiles on the different social networks, we have to start generating content. But, amid so many articles, information, and images on the Internet, how do you create useful, original, and memorable content?
Knowing in-depth the needs and tastes of your audience can be key to taking your brand content to another level. Instead of copying the competition and following trends without generating something new, you can do some simple research that will allow you to explore new topics of interest to the public. In an age like today, where generations are more environmentally conscious and concerned about leading a healthy lifestyle, creating content that points in that direction are sure to grab their attention. If you have, for example, a clothing brand, you can write articles about the health and environmental benefits of using only textiles that are oeko tex certified.
The idea is that the content you generate has its own style and characteristic of the brand, which is unmistakable, easily recognized, and of high quality, not only in your visual branding but also in written communication. the quality and originality of your content!
5. Partner with other brands
Human beings are social by nature, and this principle can be an opportunity to earn your audience’s trust and greater recognition. Partnering with other brands that are not your direct competition can be a good strategy to boost both companies. If a recognized and trusted brand works hand in hand with you, their audience will most likely accept the letter of recommendation and start using your services as well.
For example, if you are a pastry chef, you can partner with an event planning company to make desserts for a wedding, christening, or birthday. It is an effective way to increase the popularity of your business, and an opportunity to reinforce your branding.
As you can see, with some skill, knowledge, and motivation you can develop your brand’s branding without having to spend exaggerated amounts of money. In addition, I guarantee that the process of discovering the visual identity will be fun, rewarding, and loaded with a lot of creativity.
What are you waiting for to start with your branding?