Branding Your Small Business: Critical Steps to Success

Your small business is underway – you have a great service or product, a solid and unique concept. How do you brand yourself to ensure success? A great name and logo are a good place to start, but there’s much more to a successful brand.

Critical Step 1: Choose a name a logo that expresses your small business’ voice, and display it.

Depending on your products or services, and your ideal customer, you’ll need to think about the overall tone and voice of your business’ name, logo, and storefront. A boutique jewelry shop and a used sports equipment store will have very different branding voices. Once you’ve determined what kind of expression you want your store to make, you’ll need to design elements of your storefront to convey that message. Signage, inside and outside the storefront, is the first thing your new customers will see when interacting with your brand. Make sure you spend the time and money to display the same level of quality as your own product has.

Critical Step 2: Get your brand out in public with business cards, flyers, and other inexpensive print methods.

Get your brand recognized in your community. Approach other local shops and ask to display your business cards or flyers with your business information. Offer to do the same for them, and build up a small business network or supportive owners. In today’s electronic media-driven age, business cards may seem outdated, but they are still crucial to interacting with other businesses. It never hurts to send a customer home with a business card or two, as well. Having a physical, solid piece of your brand to hold on to makes a much larger impact than a simple post on Facebook.

Critical Step 3: Develop your Social Media presence.

That’s not to say that social media isn’t an extremely critical component of small business branding. The instant access for you and your customers to communicate is priceless, and virtually cost-free. Having a well-designed Facebook page, website, Instagram, and Twitter account are increasingly necessary for any small business trying to make it in the local scene. Targeted promotions, limitless availability to your customers, and instant updates of your business-hosted events are just a few of the ways you can use social media to increase your small business’ development and reach.

Critical Step 4: Promote more than your product – promote your brand.

Getting your customers to recognize and value your brand isn’t just about a quality product. You must invest the time and effort into having a recognizable and memorable brand, unique to you and your business, if you want to succeed at competing for your customers’ attention. Contributing the effort on the front end isn’t enough – continued maintenance and upkeep ensures your brand stays relevant as times change.