Celebrating the people behind British small businesses

The basics of business branding

By Richard LeCount Director of USBMakers  

Whether starting up your company or looking to re-brand, educating yourself on the importance of branding can ensure that, in this saturated world of business, you can stand head and shoulders above your competitors.

Not only is a brand a promise to your customers, but it tells them exactly what to expect from your products or service, who you are and what you do.

Just look around at some of the biggest brands in the world, their branding is so strong you need only to see the flash of red or an apple, to know which brands we’re probably talking about.

Many small businesses confuse marketing with branding, but in fact these are two separate mediums that simply intertwine. Marketing promotes your brand, and your brand is your business personality in a nutshell.

If you can create a strong brand presence, you not only illicit emotions that will make you relatable to your target audience, but it will become an asset unto itself. A perfect example of this is Coca-Cola.

Because Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand it can charge more for its product than generic fizzy pop. And thanks to this, customers will pay a higher price, and often prefer the brand over any cheaper options available. The same method for demand can be created for your own business model, you simply need to apply the following formula.

Define who you are

A truly incredible brand goes beyond a great logo and tagline. It has an idea behind it and a clear sense of purpose that drives everything that the company does.

Take Apple for example, their logo not only symbolises knowledge but their ‘think different’ tagline has become the epitome of a generation who now see an iPhone, iPad or Mac as a status symbol.

Defining who you are as a business is a time consuming adventure of self-discovery.

It may take week or months until you hit that light bulb moment, but when it all comes together it’s worth it in the end.

So begin by asking yourself some questions:

  • What’s your company’s mission?
  • What are the USPs (Unique Selling Points) of your product or service?
  • What do your customers perceive your company to be?
  • What qualities for you to your customers to associate with your company?

You may feel as though these are tough questions, but the simple truth is, you cannot be all and everything.

You have to set yourself somewhere in your industry. Are you high-end or low-end, an experienced company with traditional values, or a new company with innovative ideas at your core.

Do research into your prospective customers so you know what they think when they see your brand.

Communicate your brand

The foundation of your branding should be epitomised in a strong logo.

Encompassing the very essence of who you are and what you stand for, this should never be created ‘on the cheap’ as they say. Nothing looks worse than a rushed, incomprehensible logo that doesn’t make any sense and hasn’t been designed with the target customer in mind.

You can quickly fail at branding if your logo isn’t on point. Customers will gain an instant first impression about your business as soon as they see the logo. You must ask yourself how it’s going to look on every aspect of marketing, from the traditional letterhead, website to any promotional products.

Even the psychology behind logo design can enable you to create a voice for your brand. Whilst rounded designs are often viewed to be feminine in nature, straight, angular shapes have been proven to resonate well with men. An increasing trend in logo design has been the use of green and blue tones, as these colours represent eco conscious.

Many brands are moving away from busy and outdated image themed logos, and moving to ones with cleaner lines, less imagery and a focus on font. If you choose to create your logo yourself ensure that you are aware of these trends and the different meanings behind colour.

Be aware

Branding is hard, but once you’ve nailed it you then have the difficulty of ensuring your brand message is never tarnished. Being consistent with where your branding is placed, and how it remains true to itself, will reassure customers that your business has integrity.   

From this point forward your brand logo should only be assigned to products or adverts that you feel represent your brand philosophy. Swaying in any way will critically undermine the very concept you took so much time creating. So be protective of your branding when beginning any marketing activities.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge for the basics of business branding, use your brand identity in every part of your business. From the way you answer the phone, right down to the way you dress.  Make sure your business is brand ready at all times, and you will succeed at capturing your audience.