Small Business Branding: What You Need To Know

by | April 07, 2016

You may think that a brand is something that only large, well-known companies need to worry themselves with but not so. Whether you’re a freelancer, small business or just getting started, a brand identity is a necessity for any person or business. 

Your potential customers are often exposed to your brand before actually interacting or doing business with you. For that reason, brand is not just a logo on a website. It’s your way of setting expectations. It’s a reputation. And, an avenue to not only attract, but communicate with your target audience (or customers) as well.

But where do you begin? First things first. It’s important to understand the different pieces involved, why they’re important, and how to implement each piece. Below is an overview of the things you’ll need to consider. Over the next few months, we’ll provide an in-depth post on each of these topics. So, stay tuned!

Four Things To Consider As You Plan Your Small Business Branding Project

Understanding Your Company, Defining Your Brand

Building a successful brand starts with deciding who you are and what you want to be. Compile a list of adjectives you’d use to describe your business. What are your values? What image are you trying to project? This list should differentiate you from your competitors and help you identify your customers.

Other important questions you should make sure to answer:

  • What is your business niche? How do you differ from your competitors?
  • Who are your customers? Where do they shop?
  • What problem does your product or service solve? What need does it serve?

By answering the above questions and creating a list of words and/or phrases to describe yourself, you will have the foundation of your brand.

Designing Your Logo

If there is any element of small business branding you don’t want to skimp on, it’s your logo. Your logo is an important way people identify your brand as it’s the graphic representation of your brand and therefore used on every touch point with your customers. The thing to remember is while logo is really important; you don’t want to overly complicate things. Take Coca-Cola as an example. The classic script logo of this beverage-industry giant hasn’t changed much since its initial usage 127 years ago.

Clean, simple, and memorable elements are more likely to be recognized and remembered by your customers, so avoid multiple colors and a slew of individual graphic elements.

CocaCola logo used to illustrate proper small business branding logo source:

Implementing Across Customer Touch Points

Your brand comes into contact with the public (and your pool of potential customers) in a multitude of places—from your company website to your social media presence to your business cards. Your brand is more than just your logo—it’s your brand’s identity and reputation. It’s important to keep your small business branding consistent in every touch point you’ll interact with your customers.

One way to do this is to create brand guidelines to adhere to. Keep the following things in mind when determining your brand guidelines:


  1. Logo
  2. Brand colors
  3. Taglines
  4. Fonts and typography
  5. Imagery
  6. Mascots and spokespeople
  7. Voice in branded material
Numbered Small Business Branding Mockup

Making these decisions early about your small business branding will help you keep the integrity of your brand.

Designing Your Product Labels

The last piece in the puzzle to your small business branding is ensuring that your brand extends to your product and its packaging or product labels. This is the tangible evidence your customers will hold in their hand of your brand, so despite their exposure to other avenues of your brand (i.e. company website, social media, etc.) the burden of convincing your customer to purchase falls squarely on your packaging or product labels.

Things to consider with your product labels:

  • Choose appropriate color, texture, and typography
  • Keep the container and product in mind
  • Differentiate your product from your competition
  • Research industry-specific information requirements

Small business branding may seem like a daunting task or one that your small business doesn’t need to worry about just yet. But by taking the time to understand your brand, identify your target customer, and uncover your competition, you’ll be a step ahead.

Look out for our upcoming in-depth posts in our Small Business Branding series!