Branding 101: Definitive Branding Guide For Small Businesses
June 12, 2022
Okay, so you have a great business idea. Now what? Branding. Great branding will rocket your great business idea into a big success. This is where the real work starts.
Great branding is at the core of every successful business. It tells your customers who you are, what you’re about, and what to expect from your business. All in all, branding can make or break your business.
Whether you are starting fresh or restructuring your small business, branding is particularly important in the digital age. This is because the first point of engagement a potential customer has with your business is done online.
At Hydensiq Digital, we help make sure businesses get it right at its core. To help you get started, we have put together a few tips to help you rocket your business for explosive growth.
Let’s get started!
Before you move forward and start thinking about your brand, you would first need to know what branding is first right?
So let’s define branding. Branding is the marketing practise of creating a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates you from other businesses.
It sounds simple and you may be eager to hop on and get started right away to create a business name and a logo. Hold on! Not just yet.
Successful brands did a bit more planning than that. Let’s take a look at how you can plan for success in your branding.
Crafting Your Brand Strategy
Before you go off and just wing it with your branding, or simply tell your designers, “Just like Apple”, you need to clearly define your brand strategy. Brand strategy is like a blueprint for your brand; it creates a clear fundamental direction for your branding goals.
If you have a well-thought-out business plan, you may have already touched on some of these points. When you’re crafting your brand strategy, you must:
Define your identity. Who are you as a company? Defining the company identity helps you avoid having an identity crisis, leading to a disorganized branding message. This is one quick way to have ineffective branding and get lost in the sea of underperforming brands.
Understand your key value proposition. What makes you unique? Why should your customers choose you over the millions of others out there? Clearly defining your value not only helps you with your branding but also makes your future marketing strategies more intelligible and effective.
Create your brand mission statement. Your mission statement is a concise declaration of what you’re about. If you are stuck, try answering these few questions: Who do I serve? Why do I care? What do I provide? What is my differentiator? What value do I bring?
Define your ideal customer. You want to appeal to your target customers and build a brand that resonates with them. Branding is no longer about creating a product and marketing it to them; it’s about creating experiences WITH them.
Building Your Brand Identity
What’s next? Building your brand identity. Brand identity is defining the key elements and principles that will drive your brand. These key elements and principles include brand voice, typography, colour palette, and form (shapes and imagery).
Brand voice refers to the personality and emotion infused into a company's communications. It encompasses everything from the words and language you use, to the personality and images your marketing assets aim to invoke.
It is important to define your brand voice before getting far in the process. This is because your brand voice will dictate your stylistic and design choices. For example, if your brand voice is luxurious and elegant, you will likely want to use a clean sophisticated font. If your brand voice is loud and hip, you’d want to use a bold and colourful palette in your designs.
So what’s your voice? Are you trendy and edgy? Professional and sophisticated? Rugged and outdoorsy? Figure out the voice you want your target audience to perceive you as.
Now that you got your brand voice figured out, let’s focus on your typography. Typography is the fonts you use and the way you lay those fonts out in your designs.
Different fonts are perceived by different associations. For example, a clean sans serif font associate with being modern and would be more aligned with a tech company. In comparison, a more whimsical font, like script fonts, would associate with creativity and would be better suited for a salon brand.
Our brain creates associations with everything we see, and you can leverage this to build your brand identity. See our article: Why Simple Is Better For Your Brand Design for detailed concepts on how our brains process visuals.
Now that you know how fonts play an integral role in your branding and brand voice, it’s time for you to choose your font. You can choose to use a font that already exists or create custom font designs that would be 100% in sync with your brand and message.
Going back to how our brain creates associations, you can guess that colour is one of the most common and powerful associations we make. Your brand colour shouldn’t be based on just your favourite colours. Colour is such a powerful thing that based on the concepts of visual associations, there is a whole study just dedicated to colour.
Colour psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behaviour. Colour influences perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food. Colours have qualities that can cause certain emotions in people. Colours can also enhance the effectiveness of placebos.
For example, if you want to build trust with your customers, consider using navy in your brand designs, as it is associated with responsibility and trust. If you want voice creativity, you may want to consider purple, which is associated with fantasy and creativity.
You can learn more about colour psychology in choosing your colour palette and creating a unique colour palette that conveys your identity while standing out from the crowd. Use these colours as a guideline in creating your brand, not a rule book.
Bring the Brand to Life.
Once you figure out how you want to build your brand with a clear identity, you want to portray, it’s time to bring those ideas to life. Start by laying out everything about your branding on a brand style guide. This should include:
Brand voice details
If you already have a logo that is aligned with your guideline include it there as well. If not, get a designer to create one and show them your brand guidelines, so the logo aligns with your brand identity.
Once, you have your logo, start designing your website, packaging, social media, and business cards with consistency.
Congratulations! Your core branding is set and good to go. Just remember, building a brand doesn’t end here. You have to keep engaging with your customers, adapt to changes, and consistently bring value to grow with them. If you find your branding is becoming outdated or isn’t landing well with your target audience; rebrand.
We wish you the best of luck in your journey and keep up the #hustle! If you have any questions or need some guidance, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!
HYDENSIQ™ is a full-service digital agency in Markham, Ontario that combines both creative & data-driven approaches to change the trajectory of Your business.
When it comes to digital marketing, we don't believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. We tailor our solutions to each and every client so that they can achieve the best results possible. Whether you're looking to increase sales, brand awareness or something else entirely, we will work with you to create a custom-tailored solution that fits your needs.