What's your BRAND?

Most businesses understand the importance of a good brand. But not all business owners understand how to go about creating a successful brand. They may find it overwhelming, see the branding process as an expensive luxury or consider the entire concept as more suited toward larger businesses.

Not true.

By definition, a brand should define your business by creating an identity for you in the marketplace. But it’s more than that – a good brand is the “heart” of your business. Your brand represents what your company sells – and it represents you.

Here are some helpful tips for creating a lasting brand for your small business:

Define your brand. Consider your spot in your marketplace, as well as the product or service your company offers and the needs of your customers. You want your brand to represent and promote your business, while differentiating your company and connecting with potential customers. Don’t be modest!

Set strict guidelines for your brand. Once your logo is created, clearly outline how, when and where it can be used. Pick your colors and be sure ONLY those colors are used (unless your logo appears in black and white). Create a tagline that can be used with the logo and that clearly speaks to your brand in a few words. Before carefully choosing a font to represent your business, determine the many ways it will be used (you want it to be readable!). Be strict about others following these guidelines as they relate to your brand.

Protect your brand through trademark. Be sure to include related copyright information on all promo material.

Give your brand a voice… ONE voice. Ensure that all company materials – such as brochures, websites, blogs, social media, advertising, etc. – use the same voice to represent your business. Use clear language and avoid clichéd phrases, such as “state of the art.” And while it’s important to use one voice, be sure you don’t simply repeat the same message over and over. It is perfectly acceptable to have several key messages that all work together to enforce your brand.

Keep it simple. Don’t worry about trends. You want your brand to be relevant for years and years to come. At the same time, be sure that when the time comes to freshen it up or update your brand, it can be done easily and without losing the equity you’ve built.