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Branding for Small Business: Visual Identity vs. Brand & What It Means to “Be Your Brand”

Branding for Small Business

Visual Identity vs. Brand & What It Means to “Be Your Brand”

Branding for small business (or any business, for that matter) can be tricky. It’s no secret that branding is a big deal. There are thousands upon thousands of articles, blogs, social media posts, websites (the list goes on) about branding. If you’re reading this, then chances are you’ve probably read a few (or more than a few) of those very articles. So what makes this post any different than all the others about branding?

Let’s find out.

Branding for Small Business

What Is A Brand?

As a small business owner, when you think of your brand, I’m going to go ahead and guess that your thoughts immediately go to an image of your logo. Am I right? But guess what? That’s NOT your brand. That’s your logo. It’s your visual identity. It’s what your branding looks like, but it’s not your brand.

Let me repeat it. Your logo is NOT your brand. Okay, so now that we’ve cleared that up, you’re asking, “What is my brand”?

Your brand is YOU. Yes, you read that correctly. YOU. ARE. YOUR. BRAND. Your brand is a feeling that people get when they think of your company: a community, a tone of voice, an idea. Your brand is how people perceive your company, your products, your services.

What Does “Be Your Brand” Actually Mean?

If you’re like me, as a small business owner, it can be hard to take an objective look at your brand. But let’s try.  Take a figurative step back from your company. What do you see? What does your company look like to your customers or potential customers? Is your brand serious or funny? Happy or stern? Is it approachable? If I asked you to describe your company like you would tell a person what words would you use? Are those words the same or different than a customer would use?

Profitable brands can give people a feeling about their brand that keeps them coming back for more. They want to engage with your brand because it’s easy and enjoyable. Your brand adds value to their life in some way. If the words you chose to describe your brand/company are less than desirable, you might want to consider how this is affecting your business. Could a change to your brand lead to an increase in business?

Successful brands actually live their brand. They are consistent. They have a branding guide that allows everything customer-facing to emote the brand’s essence. Employees have a clear understanding of how they should act, how they should treat customers, what they should and shouldn’t do, what they should and shouldn’t say. They understand what the big picture is, and they want to help be a part of that branding story.

My Brand Needs to Change. Now, What Do I do?

If the self-assessment of your brand isn’t everything you want it to be, then it might be time to make a few changes. Change can be challenging! It can be scary! But you can do it. Start with the small step of just living your brand. Be your brand. Once you start doing that, your customers will notice. Your employees will notice. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Tell Your Story. Be genuine. People connect to stories. They want to know about you and your business. If they feel like you’re real with them, they’ll start to trust you (and your brand) more.
  2. Define Your Values. If you don’t have a clear idea of what your company’s values are, your employee won’t either. You and your employees need to have a clear understanding of how your company should be operating and the values they should be exemplifying.
  3. Be consistent. People want to know what they can expect. If your brand isn’t consistent, they won’t trust it. Consistency builds trust. Trust builds loyalty. Loyalty builds your brand. It comes full circle.

Branding for Small Business

Branding for Small Business doesn’t have to be hard or scary. It all comes down to how you want people to perceive your company. Be your brand. Give your customers a feeling that keeps them coming back for more.

Need Some Help?

If you’re interested in getting started with a brand analysis and need some guidance, JW Creative would love to help. Perhaps you’re happy with your branding and would love to have a refreshed brand identity. We can help with that too!

Take a look at some of the projects we’ve helped our current clients with and then head over to our contact page and reach out to us! We’ll be waiting next to our inbox for your email.