Small businesses often overlook their branding efforts because of the perceived cost of having a cohesive look. In reality, it’s a small investment with high return potential. Branding is the first thing a customer sees and also the last thing a customer feels. My best tips to help you strengthen your brand:
1. Describe Your Brand’s Personality – What does your brand look, taste, smell and feel like? Are your current efforts evoking this personality? Every company should have a personified brand and those characteristics should come out in everything you do.
2. Fix Your Font – If your company is modern, new, fresh and clean DON’T pair it with Times New Roman. And please don’t ever use Comic Sans, Curlz, Brush Script or Papyrus. That’s a big WTF (Why The Font) in my book. Once you’ve described your brand’s personality, pair it with fonts, colors and verbiage that convey.
3. Be More Than The Business Suite – A cohesive business suite of collateral is standard. Well-branded companies look the same over e-mails, invoices, thank you cards and social media. Here are a few great resources for inexpensive logo’ed products: Pakible – Online packaging products with a variety of colors and sizes to pair your logo with. Take advantage of the current 10 for $10 special. Sticker Mule – Another low minimum (50) online print shop with a fast turnaround. Choose your final sticker size based on multiple uses. Campaign Monitor – User friendly e-newsletter templates that you don’t have to know code to customize. The best thing about Campaign Monitor is the option to test out one campaign without the commitment of a long term contract. Canva – This free, online photo-editing site offers small business owners a place to edit their branding with built in dimensions. Templates from facebook ads to pinterest posts are readymade with no pixel x pixel guesswork.
4. Establish Your Standards – Once you’ve settled on your branding, set the standards. At minimum, your business should have a guideline of colors, fonts and logo to adhere to. A simple brand standards guideline would look something like this example from University of Connecticut: http://brand.uconn.edu/sites/default/files/BrandStandards_Guide0913.pdf. Don’t let the entire document deter you; the first five pages would be strong enough for any small business.
5. Refresh, Reuse or Rebrand – If your desired personality doesn’t match the look, feel and font of your existing branding, don’t be afraid to start over. Sometimes it means refreshing your new logo and other times it means a completely new look. Here’s a before and after example of “reusing” existing brand elements.
Laura is the owner of Strategic Sidekick, a multi-faceted marketing firm aimed at making heroic brands happen™. She is always on the lookout for flat brands, kerning that’s too tight, good food and even better dessert. Her biggest sidekick is her husband of 7 years, Travis, and together they have two little accomplices. Laura is a regular contributor to the Tampa Bay Moms Blog, recreational runner and gets social via Twitter and Pintere