Having worked over the years with many small and medium sized business owners, I have noticed that most of them tend not to pay much attention to their branding, and think branding is for the bigger guys. However, whether you think about it or you don’t, your brand is always on display.  You are represented in the marketplace by your logo, your business cards, slogans, signs, the emails you send, your website, the polo shirts your staff wears, the promotional pens that are floating around, and the list goes on and on.

Why It Matters
First and foremost, when a consumer is considering your products and services your brand is being compared to your competitors. When you don’t pay attention to your brand this is exactly how it comes across: as if you don’t care to make a good impression. If your business cards look too cheap, and have different colors from your vehicle signs, and then your website has a totally different logo, or has little information, your business will not be represented in a professional way, and sadly, people will carry this perception over to the products or services you offer, even though you might be the best in town.

Developing your brand identity is the place to start when looking to grow your business. Having a consistent message, logo, colors, and professional looking design will help establish a cohesive business identity in the marketplace, setting you apart from your competition.  There are 2 components to a brand: the marketing message, and the visual identity.

Marketing Message
Branding is not just a logo and colors, in fact, the first step towards creating your brand is developing your marketing message. This is fundamental to clearly communicate what you do, and who you help. An effective marketing message connects with your target audience, and makes them feel that you are the best choice above your competitors. Your marketing message should include a longer “sales sheet” version, a summary version, a short elevator pitch version, and concise tag lines.

It should be used in every piece of marketing material that comes out of your business, and everyone in your organization should know it well, so they explain what your business does in the same way.

Visual identity
Your logo, your company colors, the typography you use, and the look and feel of your brand constitute your visual identity. A skilled designer will translate your business personality, what you do, and how you want to be perceived into a professional graphic representation that will appeal to your target audience. Having it done professionally means you receive a comprehensive Brand Identity Package that includes original files of your logo that meet industry standards formats, include several layouts, as well as guidelines specifying your colors, fonts, style parameters, and other pertinent graphics information, regarding how the logo is to be used. The purpose of this is that your staff can use the proper logo in the correct way when creating documents, and also supply vendors such as printers, web designers, screen printers, and embroiderers, with the proper logo files to ensure the best logo reproduction and consistency across all your materials.

The Point
Every time a consumer is exposed to your company, there is an opportunity for a positive connection. Developing your brand is one of those simple, yet high pay-off things you can do to grow your business, that can help you quickly establish a presence in the marketplace.  This is an aspect of your business where it pays to hire a professional, it will help build your brand much faster, and improve your positioning. You will be perceived as a professional which is very important, keep in mind that, in business perception is reality.

If you want to have an evaluation of the state of your branding take advantage of our free marketing critique. We can help you stand out and grow your business.