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A Branding Guide For Small Businesses

Updated: Apr 2, 2018

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, consumer or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive world.

What Is Branding?

A brand is not only the name, term and design, but the promise made to customers and gives customers an idea of what to expect from your products or services.

Imagine a brand as a person, what kind of brand personality will it have? Each brand with a unique personality will elicit an emotional response from a specific consumer segment. There are five main types of brand personalities, excitement, sincerity, ruggedness, competence and sophistication. The theory is that potential customers are more likely to purchase a brand with a personality that matches theirs.

Accurately defining a brand personality that will resonate with the target audience will result in an increase in brand equity, defines the brand's attitude and will lead to successful marketing campaigns.

How To Develop A Brand Strategy?

A brand strategy is how, what when, where and to whom a company communicates their brand messages. A well-defined and executed brand strategy leads to a consistent brand message, an emotional connection with customers, higher brand equity and perceived value for its products and services.

In the case of Apple, its brand personality is that of sophistication. Apple is committed to deliver exceptional customer experience through elegant devices and simple user interfaces. The brand markets its products as premium to affluent, millennials and teenagers via various channels (e.g. outdoor, online, social media, broadcast, print) with consistent marketing messages.

How To Define Your Brand?

Ready to start building your brand? Defining your brand is the first step in starting a company and it can be daunting, time-consuming and sometimes costly. We have designed five simple questions and a checklist to help you on your branding journey.

Five Simple Branding Questions

  1. What is your company's mission, vision and values?

  2. What are the benefits and features of your products or services?

  3. How do existing and potential customers perceive the brand?

  4. What qualities do you want customers to associate with the brand?

  5. Do you understand your target segment’s needs, habits and aspirations? If not, conduct marketing research to find out.

Brand Checklist

  1. Design a great logo

  2. Define your brand messaging

  3. Develop a tagline that is memorable, meaningful and concise

  4. Create a unique voice and tone that reflects your brand (casual, formal, fun)

  5. Integrate your brand (tone, image of salespeople, collaterals)

  6. Design templates and create brand standards for all marketing materials

  7. Be true to your brand (deliver brand promise)

  8. Be consistent

Why Create Brand Guidelines?

A good practice is to develop and maintain a set of brand guidelines. A detailed and clear set of rules for marketers and designers to follow when crafting brand communications. Read our article on Brand Guidelines to find out more.

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