Key Elements of Small Business Branding

Jay Lipe is CEO of and the author of The Marketing Toolkit for Growing Businesses : Tips, Techniques and Tools to Improve your Marketing is identifying the Keys to Branding Your Small Business.

Name: the First Step

How different would you be if your name were Clem or Matilda? Your company name sets a tone for your brand, right from the start. Names can be generated from invented words (Xerox), initials (IBM) and founder’s names (Johnson & Johnson). Some of the best names, though, communicate a benefit (U-Haul or Budget Car Rental).

Logo: Your Company’s Symbol

A logo is a distinctive symbol or mark that visually represents your company. To get one that passes muster with the quality police, I recommend hiring a design firm. Because your logo is one of the first visual brand elements your buyers see, put some time and money into it.

Taglines: A Memorable Definition

A tagline is simply a short description of a business’s reason for being. It could incorporate elements of its expertise, its target audience, even the markets it serves. A tagline can be both direct and subtle—whatever it takes to get the prospect to say to themselves “Oh, I get it.”

Fonts and Typestyles

Using the proper fonts and typestyles also define your brand. Try to standardize fonts and typestyles that appear routinely in your marketing materials. Use only a select few.

Colors: Creating a Mood
How do you feel when you walk into a yellow room? When you see a sign with a red background color, what is your first reaction? Colors generate emotional reactions, and it is important to carry that over into your branding program.

The Sounds of Your Brand

One company I frequently call on the telephone plays rap over its on-hold system. I don’t know about you, but I believe there is more to music than three bad chords and rotten lyrics. I hate being on hold with that company. And their relationship with me suffers ever so slightly each time I call. If your business has on-hold messaging, or your retail store has background music, make sure it is appropriate.

Even though I find all elements absolutely needed in creating a brand image for a (small) company I find the whole view of things somehow superficial.

I always believed that branding is more than a logo or a tagline, even though sometimes it cannot survive without them. A brand involves blending the image, purpose, and focus of your business, with your core marketing message, and coming up with something which will stick in the minds of people who encounter it. A brand is promise. A great brand is a kept promise.

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