Branding your small business can be a daunting prospect and that’s understandable – because if you don’t get it right, the ramifications will be huge. Many a small company has either closed up shop or spent ungodly amounts of cash on rebranding because they didn’t nail this crucial step the first time around. Your brand identity determines how people perceive you, and it can be the difference between being seen as an awesome firm, or an unreliable cadre of hucksters. But how can you make sure you’re not seen this way? How can you ensure that people perceive your brand the way you want them to instead of leaping to mistaken conclusions?
Well you can start by devouring every last drop of content in this article! Our Small Business Branding Checklist will give you everything you need to make sure your company makes an awesome first impression on all who come across it.
#1 Create a Customer Persona
Before you even think about doing anything else, you want to ask yourself who your business is aimed at. This will form the basis for everything else you do moving forward to market your business. Are you targeting teenage girls who idolize Justin Bieber? Young men in their twenties who love the violence of MMA? Or baby boomers who want to relax and enjoy their twilight years?
Sit down and draw up some audience profiles to represent the type of people who make up your target market. Make each profile to be about a specific imaginary person and write as much info about them as possible. Name, age, gender, job, hobbies, and things they hate etc. The clearer an image you have of your target audience the more you’ll be able to tailor your brand to their particular sensibilities.
#2 Think About Your Brand’s Personality
Now that you’ve figured out who your target audience is, you need to think about the sort of personality they’ll gravitate towards deeply embed that into your brand’s psyche. Pewdiepie, one of the most popular YouTubers on earth, is a huge hit with kids aged 7-14 (57 million subs and counting) because his wacky, zany, and fun loving personality speaks to them on a primal level. What will your audience be moved by? Know this, and half your battle would have already been won.
#3 What is Your Unique Selling Point?
Your unique selling point (USP) is exactly what it sounds like, the specific points that make your brand unique to its competition. Are you unbelievably creative? Fastidious and conservative? Do you make the finest watches for the cheapest prices? Do you have a sense of morals and ethics that are above and beyond all reproach? What exactly makes you unique? Have a good think about this because your USP will bleed out into the other points on this checklist.
#4 Have a Catchy Name
Now you need a name that grabs attention and speaks to your audience. Keep it simple, keep it unique, and make sure it’s easy to Google. Also; remember that clever wordplay is your friend. Cash 22 is a brilliant name for a pawn shop and Melon Cauli is a lovely name for a vegetable store. Take your time and come up with the perfect name for your business. #GetCreative!
#5 Create a Great Slogan
A memorable slogan will differentiate your brand from the unwashed masses while also letting people know what you stand for. It’s effectively an elevator pitch and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Nike has “Just Do It.”
Dollar Shave Club has “Shave Time, Shave Money.”
MasterCard has: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
What can you come up with for your brand?
#6 Choose the Right TOV (Tone of Voice)
Now you want to create a TOV that gels with your brand’s personality. This is how you’re going to communicate with your customers via emails, advertising, social media, telephone chats etc and is extremely important. Just remember that the way you talk to your audience will hugely impact how they see your brand and make sure that you do so in a way that lets them see exactly what you want them to see. A wacky and zany TOV is a terrible prospect for a bank or law firm that needs to project authority and dependability. But on the flip side, a serious TOV is a terrible prospect for a company that sells funny and quirky gift cards. What will your TOV be?
#7 Choose the Right Colors
This is an area of branding that a lot of small businesses ignore to their peril, but thanks to this guide, that won’t be you. People subconsciously associate different colors with different emotions so this is your perfect chance to subliminally give them the right impression of your business. Red connotes action, energy, and danger. Orange is youthful innocence. Black is strength, power and professionalism. Yellow is optimistic, creative and warm. Green is organic and natural. Blue is trustworthy and stable. Purple is regal, mysterious and sophisticated. What colors will you use for your brand identity?
#8 Have an Amazing Logo
Your logo is the first thing potential customers will see and it’ll either make or break their impression of you. Having one created by a professional designer can cost serious money and significant back and forth, and sometimes you know what you want but just need the right guidance and tools. Fortunately [online logo makers] have come a long way and are now a great and affordable option that’s faster than working with a human designer. A company like Logojoy, for example, uses artificial intelligence with hundreds of rules established by professional graphic designers to make sure you don’t stray to the dark side of design. Something to consider.
#9 Have an Active Social Media Presence
Your brand wants to be active on social media but you don’t want to spread yourself thin; so rather than using all available sites, settle on no more than 2 to focus on. Instagram and Pinterest are the places to be for visual brands, while Twitter is the undisputed king of news sharing. If you want to properly engage with people and create discussions, then Facebook is the both the Holy Grail and the Magic Lamp. Experiment with all options and then decide on what’s best for you. Just remember to have your logo as your profile pic, your slogan in your bio, and to use your company TOV in all your posts and messages.
#10 Making Sure Your Online Listings are in Place
After you’ve made sure that everything we’ve cited above is in place, the only thing that’s left to do is make sure that your listings on all directories and websites are intact. Having consistent NAP and logo information on your listings across all the top websites is essential for you to reach your audience effectively. With social media and listings playing such an instrumental role in helping small businesses market themselves, one can’t even imagine not being listed on Facebook or Google. Besides, listings allow you to get people to review your business, and positive review will further enhance the
Getting listed online is not a very arduous task – you can manually list yourself on websites or use a tool like Synup to get listed automatically.
And that’s that! You now have a free, simple to follow, but incredibly powerful checklist to make sure that you nail your branding first time and help to bring in massive revenues for your new company.
(P.S. Take a look at our Small Business Checklist that is filled with all the tasks you need to do start a small business.)