Branding 101 for Small Businesses

The vitality of branding is unique for most business structures. However, when it comes to small businesses, a brand could help achieve the desired vision and end-goals of the company. The value of branding, however, stretches far beyond as a culminating force that bridges the gap between your product and target market; it lays foundational for long-term sustainability and trust. You might want to consider creating a vision board to depict your business goals.

It is entirely up to small business owners how to use, mold, and transform the efficacy of that sacred trust into brand loyalty among customers. From capitalizing on social media platforms, posting on blogs, sharing captivating videos to interacting with your audience, branding can help small businesses put on the same pedestal as established brands in the market.

Try to think of your product as a potential promise to the intended audience. Branding helps you to realize the “how” of that promise. For this article, you will learn the importance of how small businesses can make the most out of branding within a tight budget and adapt recognized modern techniques to enhance competitiveness.

branding for small businesses

Create Product Visibility

The awareness of your product ties to the image. The understanding of these two variables will help you reach the right target market. Large corporations typically hire extensive market research from a wide array of sources. However, small businesses often do not have the available means and resources to carry out a robust marketing campaign.

Small businesses can selectively identify with a singular individual that falls under their target demographic. Then, you can move on to highlight specific characteristics that you can fit into your entire target base. In addition, this process would allow small business owners to occupy a unique presence in the market.

Surly Brewing Co. is a good example of small business branding by standing out visually and differently. The company built up its brand by targeting customers from the north of the USA. Its philosophy is brewing the very best beer as distinct as the people from the North. The company is well known for its 16 oz craft beers, delivered in the colorful eye-catching big cans that come in 4 packs. The appealing creative style of the packaging fundamentally distinguishes its products from others’ that share the same shelves in stores. Identifying as a brewer that is different and outperforming competitors through genius design to increase its product visibility, Surly Brewing stood out of the intense competition in the craft beer industry through successful branding.

surely brewing branding

Connect Your Ideas with Singular Tone

Comparatively, “how” you tonally shape your product may be more important than, say, “what” your product is about. Now, it may sound unfair – but these are the rules of the game. The fact is, the audience perceives the tonal quality of your message first and then contextualize the product features. Therefore, it is only fair that small businesses showcase their ideas with a specific tone of voice for lasting connectivity.

The tone of your voice could be inspiring, persuasive, promotional, fun, friendly or authoritative, and is formed by your company’s mission, philosophy, unique qualities, and your target audience. This tone should be consistent with all your marketing presence and become a part of your brand personality so your audience can remember and recognize your voice whenever they hear or see it.

Establish Foundational Values

It is imperative that your brand resonates with the target audience. The brand identity for a small business is relatively not so different from a recognized brand. The key is to set up the right parameters and latch on specific values.

Whether you are helping a local community or contributing to save the environment, let your target audience know the operational details. Today, millennials and Gen Z are interested when it comes to your brand’s secular or conservative political viewpoints. Keeping that in mind, your small business brand could set unique values by raising social awareness or highlight human rights issues that can spark empathy among potential customers.

Design Your Brand Identity with Care

design for branding

Sure, a tagline can capture the essence and identification of your brand. The design of your visual identity, however, also weighs in equal measure. You need to input a lot of care with your branding design, from choosing the right color palette, creating exceptional fonts and iconography, to designing the custom build logo. Great design creates visual elements that represent your identity, speak for you, and convey the values that you wanted your audience to perceive.

To create a unique, appealing, and timeless brand identity, you may need help from experts. Small businesses can set up a budget either hiring a professional graphic design company or approaching freelancers to design a brand logo and entire brand aesthetic as per the target audience.

When investing in branding and a logo maker, you should always work with a comprehensive guideline to make sure of accuracy and consistency for the application of your visual assets in various marketing channels. Besides what I just mentioned above, there are a lot more elements need to be addressed and created to build up your brand identity and help you stand out of the crowd, like business stationery, marketing materials, email campaigns, social media presence, advertisement at different channels, product packaging, etc..

Understand Your Target Market

Divide the correlation of your target market’s “wants” and “needs”. This separation would objectively help small businesses analyze how your product can serve a selective base. However, the segmentation of your target audience matters. It essentially comes down to how much you know about your audience. Small businesses should allocate resources, divert interest, and focus on local community areas to prompt interactive dialogue.

Conduct Comparative Analysis

Small businesses cannot afford to spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns and change quarterly budgets like major corporate brands. However, you can observe patterns that might be similar to your brand and focus on whether or not you can exert a unique feature not seen or heard in the market. The trick is to be open-minded and subjectively adopt a learning methodology that may incite new ideas.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Apart from mandatory ethical compliance – feel free to experiment – Combine multiple ideas to get an invigoratingly daring idea. Scan the market as if there are no rules. However, aligning your preliminary ideas in accordance with the long-term strategy of the brand. Small businesses can come up with their own experimental ideas (including adding glitter backgrounds!) to challenge the market status quo. Hence, set creative ideas that increase your brand value and customer loyalty.

Many companies find success with customer loyalty programs. Since hyper-personalization and omnichannel strategy have become a mainstay for business already, highly personalized rewards programs with individual in-app offers and incentives allow customers to earn special deals or discounts on items through purchase. Rewards programs allow customers to earn special deals or discounts on items through purchase. This can help drive repeat and return customers by providing them with an incentive to return as a customer.

Be Clear, Genuine, and Consistent at Every Turn

That is how you grow brand awareness and keep your brand perception staying strong. Inconsistency and a lack of authenticity could affect your customer perception. The last thing your small business needs is to swindle the target audience. You can conjure up countless ideas that might be similar to your previous product offering. The point is that your target audience shouldn’t feel that you are misleading them or making false claims, just to sell your products. The more you repeat your text and visuals, the better scalability chances your small business would receive.

Create a Bold Website

The rise of digital marketing and SEO practices have revolutionized how the audience interacts with your brand. In addition, this could not be truer for small businesses bound by insurmountable limitations. You can either hire a professional SEO or web designer, or develop a site on your own and free of cost on any open source Content Management System (CMS), like WordPress, Joomla, etc.. Moreover, in time, your online existence ends up being relatively more significant to customers than the physical business outlet.

Don’t Shy Away from Blogging

According to the statistics from, almost 70% of Americans prefer to believe the information presented on blogs. And why wouldn’t they? Insightful blogs don’t just aim to educate your audience but create a vibrant and aesthetically attractive site outlook. Furthermore, a well-structured blog may just result in more valuable than running expensive AdWords campaigns.

The Last Word

A brand is what inscribes in people’s minds and influences their purchasing decisions in many ways. Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO of Amazon said: ‘Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.’ That is what branding does to help you achieve. It incorporates perceptions, goals, creativity, and strategy to attract customers and retain customer loyalty.

Small businesses need to tailor the aforementioned branding tips, techniques, and viable processes and support them with consistency. Since the inception of your brand identity to the formation of an exceptional presence, branding brings out the life and soul of your company, getting to the heart of your audience and generating consistent business for you. For a small company that can successfully build up its own brand, a successful business will follow.

To learn more about branding techniques such as storytelling with the 12 archetypes, look to the expertise of a branding agency to learn how to run a brand workshop. 

About the Author

I am Li Du, the co-founder of First Site Solutions, a web developer and digital marketer. Building and running an online business allows me to have hands-on experience in digital marketing and enables me to give some advice that has been truly tested. I’d like to share the tips and strategies that have helped with growing my business. I hope learning what I’ve acquired from my successes and failures can be a help for you in growing your own business and achieving your goals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending Posts

About US

365 Business is a new organization dedicated to the small and medium businesses (SMBs) of the world. Our mission to to provide well researched and actionable business tips that business owners and entrepreneurs can digest and leverage in 5 minutes or less.

365 business tips

Popular Articles

Subscribe For More!

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.


Edit Template