Why Your Small Business Needs a Brand (Not Just a Logo)
“Question: Why does my small business need a brand? I have a logo - isn't that enough?”
With the day-to-day pressures of running a small business - and then managing a family in and around that - I can totally see why the last thing you want to be worrying about is something as airy-fairy as a 'brand'. I mean, you have a logo, the sign out the front looks good, you've got business cards - job done. Case closed.
Do you feel like all your Facebook posts are all-over-the-place?
Does your Instagram feed look like a series of unplanned posts that could belong to 10 different accounts?
Does your print material never quite look like it belongs together?
Well my friend, this is where a brand comes in.
A brand is more than a fancy-pants marketing term reserved for big companies - a brand is the rules that determine how your business looks, speaks and communicates with your customers.
It’s everything from colours, fonts & images to the kinds of words that you use and the overall personality your business portrays. It’s also tied in to your company culture, how you & your team carry themselves and the kind of customer experience they provide.
What does that mean in practical terms?
Well, it means that when a potential customer:
Sees a flyer you have dropped in their mailbox or
Receives an email from you or
Checks out your profile on Facebook or Instagram or
Visits your website for more info on you
they’ll immediately get a strong sense of the personality behind your business and what it might be like to work with you. You might be funny, friendly, young, energetic, professional, quiet or calm. However your business shines in your space, your marketing is not just a sales pitch - it’s the start of a conversation.
But why is this important?
We buy from businesses we know, like and trust. Think about the places you do business with regularly. Your doctor, hairdresser, accountant, coffee shop.
Now ask yourself: why?
Because you know what to expect, you like the way they do business and you trust they will take care of you & meet your needs when you walk through the door.
You have a relationship with them.
Consistent marketing that sends a clear message as to who you are & what you have to offer is the start of that relationship - done right, it’s the encouragement they need to get to know you better.
And ideally go from a potential buyer, to a paying customer, to a raving fan.
So what does a brand look like for a small business?
How do you set yours up to work for you across all your marketing platforms, print and digital?
Well, it’s actually pretty easy.
In fact, I’m going to make it crazy easy by giving you a workbook to compile everything into.
This is based on the exact workbook I use when building brands for my clients. It takes care of practical items that need to be 100% consistent, such as:
Your official business name
Your website URL
Contact phone number(s)
Physical & mailing addresses
Facebook & Instagram handles
These items should appear EXACTLY THE SAME EVERYWHERE WITHOUT EXCEPTION. This might seem super obvious, but you would not believe the amount of times I have seen businesses with variations of their name, street address, website URL and social handles across different print and digital platforms.
Do you know what that says to the outside world?
We haven’t quite got our sh*t together here
We have a lot of cooks in the kitchen behind the scenes
We’re not super professional or organised
We’re a bit of a mish-mash of a few different things
These are what I call subliminal assumptions - conclusions we draw without realising it when we see a brand in action. Now, imagine you’re a potential customer looking at a business whose marketing is all over the place… and you’re starting to make these subliminal assumptions.
What kind of customer experience do you think you’re going to get?
I’ll let your imagination wander for a bit on that one - we’ve all been a customer at a poorly managed operation; the last thing we want is for people to get the impression that ours is the same, based on disorganised marketing.
On a practical level, Google will actually penalise your listing if it picks up inconsistencies in your business’ contact information in a variety of sources. (To read more on this, you can check out this explanation from Moz.com, an industry leader in SEO know-how).
In this FREE WORKBOOK, we’ll also cover areas such as
Your why - the purpose of your business, and why you brought it to life
Your core business values & beliefs
Your USP (Unique Selling Point or Unique Service Proposition)
Your brand personality
These areas connect to the intention behind your marketing as well as the way it sounds. It influences the kinds of words and images that you use and then the subsequent feeling the reader / viewer should have when they hear from your brand.
Think about major brands like Nike, Toyota, KFC, etc. - regardless of whether you’re reading, watching or hearing their advertising, the message and feeling is the same. The colours, sounds, tone of voice and personalities are unchanged between platforms or continents.
And think about how many people are working within those brands - all those opportunities for changes, variations and influence. And yet, the brand stays rock solid.
Your can download your FREE copy here:
Now, you might be thinking, ‘well, that’s all very warm and fuzzy, but how do I keep the visual side of things together?’
Glad you asked - I’m all about the practical stuff. And visual consistency is just as important.
It’s important to cover these fundamentals first - who you are, your core values, what unique gifts you bring to the table - as these heavily influence the visual decisions you make about how your brand should be represented.
So, once you’ve downloaded that workbook & completed it, you’ll be ready to move on to the next stage of the branding process which is developing your brand board (covered in this blog post).
It’s got an equally powerful tool that will help you determine colours, fonts and visual guides so you AND YOUR TEAM can work together in promoting your business whilst still maintaining the strength of your brand.
And that’s the kicker here guys - these two tools allow you to bring other people into your marketing mix to help lighten the load WITHOUT needing to be micromanaged nor straying from your business’ look and feel.
Just think about that for a moment - imagine being able to hand over marketing responsibilities to a key staff member, or a subcontractor, knowing they have all the tools they need to create meaningful marketing for your business?
Imagine all the stress that would take away?!
So don’t forget to download that workbook, and then when you’re done, head over here to get Stage 2: Building a Brand Board.
As a side note: this is all on the understanding you already have a logo available to you in all the file formats that you need. If this is something you don’t have, and you’re ready to invest in this super important piece of your business, by all means send me an email and I can help you out with that too!
Until next time!
|Meredith Paige is a freelance marketer dedicated to giving small business owners the tools they need to DIY their marketing. She creates courses, templates & workshops to make small biz marketing achievable & affordable - just the way it should be. You can check her out on Instagram & Facebook, or send her an email to say hi.|