We boiled down some of the most important branding steps that we recommend every small business startup follow.
Don't neglect your brand. This is a critical component of establishing your business and can help you do some of the heavy lifting, in terms of getting your name out there, so you are recognized by potential customers.
1. IDENTIFY WHAT YOU STAND FOR
What is your purpose? Boil it down one sentence, if you can. You need something concise that you can remember, recite and incorporate into your sales plan.
Jeff Charles writes in Small Business Trends "being effective at selling is nearly impossible without a remarkable brand. Yes, your offerings might be insanely awesome, but if you can’t communicate the true value of your brand, you won’t succeed."
2. RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITION AND CUSTOMERS
Know your Competition! Understand how they present themselves and what services they offer. Don't copy what they do, find a way to put a unique slant on your business. This helps you stand out from all the competing voices offering the same or similar services.
Know your Customers! Understand what services they want and need. Find the gaps in service and supply. Plan for how you can pick up the slack.
3. DEVELOP YOUR LOGO, COLOR AND TONE
A Logo that represents you
A Color Guide
Your Tone of Voice
Entrepreneur Magazine recently published the article How to Create a Logo, which included expert advice from Rieva Lesonsky, Author and CEO of GrowBiz Media. The article emphasizes that your logo is your key identity piece and a representation of everything your company stands for. It states, "A good logo can build loyalty between your business and your customers, establish a brand identity, and provide the professional look of an established enterprise." Read More: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/71902
Once you've finalized your logo, protect it by filing for a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
4. SECURE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
It is crucial to have high quality images for the variety of internal and external marketing you will be doing. You can always purchase stock photos to get you by but nothing represents you better than personalized images.
Be sure to plan for the photographer or videographer by spending some time thinking about what you need to capture now and for the future. Consider having them shoot images of your employees, customers, products, processes and facility.
5. GROW A DIGITAL PRESENCE
It is hard to be taken seriously as a legitimate business in this day and age without it. You must have a strong website. Contact a design professional for help with defining your content and creating a beautiful layout.
Add social media accounts. Potential customers, employees, vendors and industry resources are going to connect with you and provide you with greater feedback via your social media accounts. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, SnapChat, YouTube, Reddit or Pinterest, you need to be a part of the social media channel(s) that are appropriate for your message and industry. Be sure to use your logo and custom profile and header pics on each site.
6. USE YOUR LOGO EVERYWHERE!
Establish your small business' mark by utilizing your logo on business cards, stationery, letterhead, brochures, presentations, ads and branded promotional merchandise. If you don't have a background in design, don't take shortcuts! Contact a professional for design help with layouts that enhance your logo and services.