When starting a small- to medium-sized business (SMB), you’re faced with the daunting task of creating your company’s brand identity. Your first year is essential to establishing your brand's look, feel and voice, which in turn feeds your business growth strategy.
Branding isn’t a random logo your cousin drew for you on a napkin at the bar. According to Strategy New Media, branding is the way your customers perceive you. You want to create an identity that people will remember and relate to. Successful small- to medium-sized businesses have strong branding.
Here are the six best practices you can follow in order to create a strong brand identity and ensure SMB growth:
- Beyond Colors & Logos
- Embrace the Cheese
- Social Media, Web Content and Email
- Sleek, Modern Business Cards
- Less is More
- Be Patient
Beyond Colors & Logos
Effective branding isn’t just about colors and logos. Branding is about your voice, values and culture. SMB branding needs to say something about who you are as a company and not just what you are. Ask yourself what you stand for and what you want your company to be known for, and people will remember you. Putting your customers and company culture first will make you stand out from the rest.
Embrace the Cheese
Most Everyone loves cheese. Have fun with your branding process and embrace your cheesy side! If you enjoy your job and have fun, it’ll show in your branding. It’s a natural draw for customers and new hires alike. You want to appeal to the next generation of the workforce. Show potential hires it’s not a bad thing to have fun at work.
Social Media, Web Content and Email
Now that you’ve established the personality of your brand, you can now dig deeper into the look and feel of your brand identity. Utilize tools like Fiverr to help you design a standout logo. And infuse your social media, website content and email marketing with your new identity!
You don’t have to be a social media guru to excel in spreading your brand to your customers. Use your voice to actively engage with your clients. Answer questions, post frequently and don’t be afraid to show the faces of your company. Don’t worry about sounding like a company. Just be yourself.
Send emails that use first names (both of your customers and who’s sending the email). These personal touches make a huge difference. Post content that your customers would find interesting and make sure to encourage feedback.
Sleek, Modern Business Cards
We’ve all seen the business cards that look like they’re straight out of a 90’s time capsule. Most people aren’t going to trust someone whose business card uses Papyrus font or ancient clip art. If you walk into a tradeshow or meeting with baller business cards, people are going to remember you. And having customers remember your company is half the battle in branding.
These days, not everyone has to be their own graphic designer nor do you have to hire a designer. There are plenty of options for business card templates online. Once you’ve chosen a design, don’t change it. Check out these templates at Vistaprint and Overnight Print to get started!
Less is More
Seriously, less is more! Don’t go overboard in designing or branding your logo or content. Stick to your brand and change if only necessary. People are easily repelled from too much branding or change, and if you spend too much time trying to be something you’re not, you’re going to lose. Be yourself.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that effective SMB branding won’t happen overnight. It takes time. And you’ll likely have to change and adjust your strategies several times. Be authentic to yourself and don’t be afraid to take risks. Once you find your brand voice, embrace the hell out of it!
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