Small Business Brand Identity

Chapter 01: Small Business Brand Identity

What Is Brand Identity?

Logos, colors, taglines, and font may seem like one-off design decisions, but they actually come together to create consistent, memorable customer experiences under the umbrella of brand identity.

Brand identity is how a business presents itself to, and wants to be perceived by, its customers. It is the result of how a company chooses its name, designs its logo, uses colors and visual elements, crafts copy in advertisements, and even how employees interact with customers. All these elements create a certain image in a customer’s mind.

Why Does Brand Identity Matter?

In a world over-saturated with advertisements, social media posts, and video, a strong brand identity can help you break through the clutter. And, once you do catch your audience’s attention, your brand identity will help you stay top of mind.

Here are three reasons why brand identity matters:

  • Instant recognition: Every time you go on a road trip and see those golden arches, you know a McDonald’s is not far away. Thanks to a consistent brand identity across all platforms and a recognizable logo, the fast-food chain is one of the most familiar, popular brands in the world.
  • Increased credibility: A consistent, transparent brand identity that highlights your vision can lead to customer trust and loyal relationships. The more you can communicate your values and mission, the easier it will be for customers to remember you.
  • Community growth: When your company has a reliable brand identity, like the One for One slogan by shoe company, TOMS, you can build a movement that grows throughout your community. TOMS, for example, gets its customers excited by giving away a free pair of shoes for every purchase. This energy is rooted in its brand identity, helping the business grow organically.

How to Create a Brand Identity for a Small Business

A brand identity isn’t created overnight. Nor does it simply involve updating your logo or testing a new tagline.

A brand identity must first start with your customers. You need to truly understand your target audience before you can begin creating a brand identity that will resonate with them. Once you gather enough insights and research, you can tackle these five tactical elements of your brand identity:

  1. Identify your goals: How will you measure the results of your new brand identity? Will you send a survey before and after to gauge customer reactions and sentiment, or will you tie your brand identity to more concrete, business goals? Whatever you choose, be sure to have at least one mechanism in place to gather data.
  2. Create your message: This is where your customer research comes into play. What insights did you glean that can help shape your messaging? It’s easy to come up with copy that describes with your business sells but use customer feedback to speak directly to their pain points.
  3. Build brand guidelines: Now that you know what you want to say to your audience, determine how to say it. Set a standard for the fonts, colors, dimensions, etc. that you’ll use to create your identity and stay consistent across all platforms. Even one color used regularly throughout your brand identity can boost recognition by 80 percent.
  4. Scale appropriately: Test the waters with your new brand identity by launching a set of ads in a select market or creating a one-off email campaign. You’ll take the pressure off of goinglarge-scale right away, and learn whether or not customers are responding to your new brand identity.
  5. Evaluate and modify: If customers are responding to your brand identity positively, begin scaling where and how you share it by. If customers are not reacting well or are unable to recognize your brand after a reasonable timeframe, figure out what isn’t working and tweak accordingly. Do this until you reach an identity you feel comfortable with, and then expand distribution.

Final Thoughts

Your company’s brand identity should appear in places where your customers already are. If your ideal customer is a sports fan, consider sponsoring an event in town. If you are trying to reach young audiences interested in makeup, partner with a beauty influencer on social media to repost your content. Consistently meeting your ideal customer where they already are will not only help to educate new customers about your business but will also build that much-needed recognition (and allow you to show off your shiny new brand identity!).