Branding For Small Businesses

November 1, 2009

It may seem like branding is only of concern to those behemoth companies such as Pepsi or Nike, who can afford to focus on the hazy concept of "the brand," which falls somewhere between marketing and advertising. But you don't need millions in revenue to amp up your business' brand. In fact, with a little bit of reflection and creativity, even freelancers and small business owners and can craft successful branding initiatives.

Just try the easy four step process below to begin building a brand for a new business or to rebrand your current materials. Step 1 - Consider leading brands across many sectors. Think about the heavy-hitters in automotive, software, retail, food and beverage, resort and other major sectors. Include your favorite brands that you are loyal to and also any favorite publications and magazines, which are really good resources for this exercise. Go to each company's website and click through, download brochures, go to product and order pages. Check out the companies' logos, fonts, color schemes, copy writing and design tones, and take notes on what stands out the most about each brand. Try to write down a list of adjectives that describe each brand. Step 2 - What is your brand like? Keeping Step 1 in mind, go through your own website, business cards and any promotional materials such as letterhead, brochures, or mailings, which represent your business. Take stock of fonts, logos, tone of copy and design, and again note the adjectives that come to mind which could describe your brand as it is. It's important to note any inconsistencies you may find. Step 3 - If you could be any brand, what would you be? What brand would you want to be if you could choose any? This question is a bit out there, but just think about it. If you were a car, any car, what would you be? What about if you were a retail clothing store? What is it about the brand that you are drawn to? What does the brand reflect about you? How are these points communicated in the company's own branding, logo, color palette, design? Step 4 - Rebrand. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. By analyzing what makes leading brands tick, and which brands you admire the most, you should be able to generate a great list of ideas for use in your own branding. Whether it is how you treat your logo, what color palettes you use, or how your fonts work with your logos; all of these things can affect a graphic designer or copywriter's success. If your business is well branded it will communicate your professionalism, credibility and marketing knowledge to potential clients. Happy brand-storming!

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