When setting up a small business, you probably won’t have the multimillion pound budget needed to create the successful international brand you would like to begin with. To start with your company branding may simply consist of just a logo design. The difference between branding for a large business and a small business is huge, but you can still use some of the tactics of big businesses branding without the massive price tag.
Make your mark
Whether you have been in business for a while or just starting up, you will benefit greatly from branding appropriately to project a professional image. The easiest way to start is by ensuring your logo, company colours, fonts, copywriting tone of voice and strap line appear on everything you produce, including your business stationery (business cards, letterheads, compliment slips, invoices etc.), company brochure and marketing material, press ads, product range, packaging, website, social media channels and so on.
Keep branding consistent
We have already touched upon the importance of projecting a professional brand through consistent use of colour, font, tone of voice etc. but to build up a brand, you have to consistently deliver the same message to your customers, particularly when it comes to your visual branding. For example, big brands are so consistent with their branding that if they choose to change a small aspect of their logo, it can become international news. Nike is recognised around the world simply by its ‘swoosh’ the same for the ‘golden arches’ for McDonalds. Repetition can help to imprint your brand in your customers’ minds as you build your business. Becoming recognisable to your audience through consistently branding your marketing efforts professionally and paying attention to detail can go along way. This can be as simple as making sure that all of your employees have the same formatted email signature or that all of your press advertising has the same footer panel that contains your company contact details, website url as well as your social media information.
Know your values
Although a brand is normally represented by a logo, branding is so much more than this. Your brand is about how your customers feel about your business and how it represents your company values. In many ways, highlighting your values is easier for a small business due you knowing what you stand for. It could be affordability, sharing information, fair trade, environmental issues or whatever you feel strongly about in your business. At BlueFlameDesign we put the focus on creating affordable business branding packages to assist new and small to medium sized companies build a stronger, consistent and more professional brand image for their business. We are also passionate about helping our clients look at the whole picture for their marketing efforts and will suggest ways in which their brand can be realigned to project their image professionally. Due to our friendly, straightforward and approachable nature, BlueFlameDesign are considered to be an additional ‘team’ to some of our clients and the companies we work with.
Tell a story
Storytelling in business is nothing new, but it is one of the current buzzwords thanks to social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ which focus on letting users (and companies) tell their stories through words and images. People love a great story and storytelling makes spreading the word about businesses easier. Stories are memorable and your customers will naturally share your story with their friends and family. Storytelling also enables you to distinguish your brand from competitors as they won’t have the same story as you. Your story will be completely unique, perhaps it’s a rags to riches tale, a moment of eureka inspiration or a story of travelling the globe, as one of our clients did recently on the search for a very rare and old La Cimbali Espresso Machine. The story of BlueFlameDesign is of a business idea born out of frustration …. but that’s another story!
Whatever your story is, from your initial inspiration to your journey into business, make it engaging and tell it to your customers. Big brands are adept at storytelling and use the social media channels effectively, such as Facebook to publicise their story using techniques which can be utilised by small businesses too. Use old photos, team profiles, landmark events, news coverage, behind the scenes insights, hobbies and interests, work in the community, partnership and sponsorship stories to tell the story of your brand and the people behind it.
Keep your content fresh
Big businesses keep their brands in the forefront of people’s minds by constantly being visible through a range of marketing tactics including everything from sponsoring major sporting or fashion events for example to producing adverts for TV, print and online. By constantly keeping their campaigns fresh, big businesses are able to stay at the forefront of their customers’ minds. If you’re on a tight budget then the best way to keep your brand fresh is to regularly update the content on your website, blog and social media channels. Creating interesting content is a great way of building up your brand and people will be waiting to hear what you have to say next.
Start small but think big
Try not to be overwhelmed by the task of branding your business and remember that you don’t have to do it all at once and at the same time. For many it will be easier to take it a stage at a time, and if you are fortunate to have BlueFlameDesign working with you then you are already half way there!
One piece of advice we would always share is to ‘Start Small but Think Big’. Your business brand will not grow over night and for those starting in business or on a tight budget it will take time to become recognised. Visual brand consistency is key to building a strong and professional business brand image. BlueFlameDesign (blueflamedesign.biz) have developed a series of affordable business branding packages tailored to help new start up companies and small businesses brand, refresh, re-align or rebrand their business professionally and to a budget.
Let BlueFlameDesign ignite your business brand and set your marketing alight!