5 Ideas for Branding Your Small Business

branding small business

When I hear the word “branding” I can’t help but think about cows. As early at 2,700 BC, branding was what cattle owners did so cows could be easily identified and returned to their owner if lost, or stolen by cattle rustlers. But now when we talk about branding it tends to be in the context of marketing a business, not owning cattle. So what is branding, exactly? And why is it important?


What is Branding?

Branding gives your product, or service, a distinct look and feel, setting it apart from other similar products or services. Branding gives your company its overall identity. It’s a symbol (Nike’s “swoosh”). It’s a slogan (“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there”). It’s a mascot (Geico’s gecko). It’s color usage (think of Google’s colorful logo). It’s a philosophy translated into a visual interpretation displayed in a myriad of advertising and marketing materials.

Why is Branding Important?       

Branding sets you apart from the competition. It gives consistency to your business, which makes you more easily recognizable. It creates trust between your business and your customers.

“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” – Steve Forbes

Now that you know what branding is, and why it's important, here are 5 ways to brand your small business.

1) Start with a Great Logo
A great logo is going to be easy to recognize, easy to reproduce, and will embody your company’s mission and philosophy. This is the heart of your brand and it’s going to go on everything from your website and business cards to brochures and promotional materials.

2) Pick a Color Palette
Choose 2 to 4 base colors that will you feel represent your business and use them on all of your marketing. This could be used for graphics, headers, sidebars, etc. Colors invoke emotions so do a little research to see what the best colors for your product might be. Read more about colors and emotions here.

3) The 2-Font Rule
Font overkill makes your materials hard to read. Pick one or two well-designed, easy-to-read fonts for your branding and stick with them. I recommend picking a serif and a sans-serif, and also have the bold and italic versions of those to work with. Scripts, blackletter, and other harder-to-read fonts should be used sparingly.

4) Photos, Graphics and Videos
People love to look at pictures. Successful Facebook posts always have a photo or graphic with a short caption. You can further develop your branding by using a particular style of photography, illustrations and/or graphics. If you sell products, have them all photographed the same way, with a pleasing background and good lighting. If you use illustrations, or info graphics, maybe they are all sketchy line art, or painterly and colorful. Video is a powerful branding medium that can boost website traffic and can be yet another way to let your brand shine through. 

5) Be Consistent
If you go through this list and decide you don’t want to put the money or time into any of these suggestions, that’s okay. But try to be consistent with whatever your branding may currently be. Use the same logo, colors, fonts, graphics, video style and photos across the board. Consistency is the key to branding, and thankfully that doesn’t require any experience with livestock.