3 Ways to Establish your Brand Identity as a Small Business
In 2014, McDonald’s spent $1.42 billion on advertising in the US alone. Since McDonalds does have this kind of money, it makes sense to spend it reinforcing its brand identity as one of the largest and most recognisable in the world.
But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a strong brand identity. In fact, if your brand identity is strong enough, it will make its own money by doing the advertising for you.
We look at three of the best ways to build your brand identity as a small business.
1 – Why do you need branded stationery?
Brand building starts at home. That’s why investing in branded stationery is a great way to start developing a strong brand identity. Pens, pencils, notebooks and paper adorned with your brand logo create a powerful sense of a brand in the minds of anyone who visits the office, and anyone you give these items to.
Branded stationery experts StuPrint have written this informative business stationery guide to help you work out the finer details of your branded items.
According to a recent study carried out by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA), 66% of people will remember the name of a brand that gave them a branded item in the past year. Items that work best are usb sticks, electricals and mugs. The fact that simply giving away a branded item can make a company stick in a consumer’s mind for such a long time is testament to how effective promotional branded items or branded office stationery can really be. Compared to the cost of running an advertising campaign, investing in branded items is little investment for a potentially huge return.
2 – What is the importance of a company logo?
If you are relying on the strength of your brand to bring in clients, guests or customers, it is imperative that you are confident your brand logo and imagery has the potency to stick in people’s minds. If you are unsure of this, you might want to consider rebranding completely. This helpful list takes you through the important things to think about when designing a logo so you, your in house designer or a freelancer you know can design a logo for you that fits the image you want to project; and this logo printing guide helps you prepare your logo for display.
A memorable logo is one that suits the industry, but is different enough to stand out. Certain colours can have certain meanings in customers’ minds. This interesting colour guide looks at the meanings different colours have to consumers. For example blue, used by Facebook, intel and Skype, tells consumers a company is smart and liberal, but also cold. And orange, used by Etsy and Amazon in their logos, tells customers a company is warm and friendly.
Recently companies have found success with minimalist logos, leading many businesses to rebrand with a simpler logo. Gumtree ditched their complicated logo of a branchy tree in the sunset with a simple tree outline next to the company name in plain font. This move was generally hailed as a success, though the new logo’s similarity to another logo was widely criticised on social media.
Sometimes a big part of a logo, your company name is a very important part of your brand identity. You can have the greatest logo in the world, but if the name just isn’t right, you will never reach the level of brand recognition you aspire to. Even if you are happy with the name of your business, you should read this guide to naming your business to check if you current name ticks all the boxes.
Your company name doesn’t just have an effect on your brand identity, it also affects how likely your company is to show up when people search for your services online. It may be less stylish, but a company name that describes what the business does will show up much more prominently in Google searches than one that does not. A recent name study found that the url DivorceLawyer.com did 298% better in searches than the more specific VladimirLaw.com, even though both urls lead to similar companies.
3 – Have your company speak with one voice
Your company’s ‘voice’ is another of the most important aspects of your brand identity. This is something you should think about when you first form your brand identity. There are many different types of company voice a business can adopt, from speaking off the cuff to seem casual to communicating in a very formal manner to appear professional and everything inbetween.
Looking at the voices of other businesses in your area is a great way to determine what kind of brand voice works best for your specialism. If you run a small, upmarket homeware store, you can look at House of Fraser’s recent catastrophic attempt to change their tone to appeal to a younger audience, and conclude that a brand like yours should not trade in its dignity for emojis.
This in-depth article from CopyHackers goes over the several factors that should influence the style of your tone, from the makeup of your target audience to the way you want your customers to feel. A strong, individual and recognisable tone can go a long way to helping the general public remember your brand as an important contender in your field.
Cover photo credit: Yu-Jen Shih / Flickr
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