5 Branding Tips For Small Businesses

As a small business owner, branding can seem to be a daunting and unnecessary task to allot energy to. We all know that companies like Apple, Coca Cola, and Nike pour millions of dollars into their commercials, logos, colors, and other branding cues that come to our minds when we think of that particular business.

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The truth is, branding has never been as important as it is today, and it is easier and takes less effort than you think. Follow these five tips to get on the right track to building your brand the right way.

1. Never Underestimate Its Power
No matter what product or service you are selling, you are creating a brand (Yes even if you don’t have a logo). Take a moment to think about Walmart vs. Target. Walmart doesn’t advertise by saying “come in dirty and broke,” and yet that is the customer I picture when thinking about Walmart (I shop at Walmart a lot). On the flipside, when thinking about Target, one normally would give the opinion that it is “a nicer, cleaner version of Walmart.” This is branding, and every aspect of your business is included in this, from customer service to the appearance of the store.

2. Craft The Story
The author Donald Miller has worked with the likes of Pantene and Chick-Fil-A on the story behind their brand. He says that every great story has the same seven-step process. Follow these steps to create your story and make it your pitch every time someone asks. If your fans have a consistent story and the language to go with it, you will empower them to spread the word about your brand.

4. Stick With Rigid Guidelines
The last thing that your customers want is mixed messages. The best brands repeat their messages and create systems to make their customer service and appearance the same no matter where you are or what time of day you are served. When I go to a Mcdonalds in Texas and order a Mcdouble, I want it to look and taste the exact same as when I order one in Ohio. If it doesn’t, I will not leave the restaurant with a good impression of their brand.

3. Keep it Simple
Earlier I told you that many small business owners get overwhelmed because they look at big brands and see the money and time they spend on their brand.

Here is a picture of Ford’s logo changes from the day they started all the way up until today:

fordI think we can all take a lesson from one of the top 10 companies in the world: you do not need to spend hours every day or thousands of dollars on your brand. The simpler and cleaner the message, the more likely customers and employees will remember it. We are simply looking to syndicate our uniform message to every person that will listen.

5. Stay Away From General
This is the biggest problem with small business brands, especially those that are online. I personally struggled with this on my own blog for a log time because I wanted to appeal to everybody and because I was not disciplined enough to sit down and narrow my brand to a single purpose that was clear and actionable. I want to puke every time I see a homepage describing an organization that looks something like this:

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Tell your potential customers exactly who you are and what you are there to help them with. Be clear and make it actionable.

Although your branding must be intentional, it must not be overcomplicated. If you are dedicated to putting the five tips above into practice, you will be in a great position to form vital connections with future customers.

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