Branding essentials for small business

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Clients often ask me ‘what are the essentials for branding?’ or ‘I’m on a super tight budget, what do I absolutely need vs what can we stagger and plan to do later?’

I’m on a super tight budget, what do I absolutely need vs what can we stagger and plan to do later?

The Now’s:

  • Logo

    • Your logo is the face of your business. It allows potential customers to identify with your business. Your logo is one of the most important investments you can make with your business. Even if you are a solo entrepreneur, consider how you want to be perceived and how you can brand ‘you’ as a business.

  • Secondary Icon (super important)

    • We believe the secondary icon is also super important! Today we are all over social media and I can’t count how many times I have seen a logo squashed into a small avatar or profile picture. You either need to resize your primary logo so it works in this space or create a shorthand version or icon that customers resonate with.

  • Business Cards (and letterhead)

    • We don’t have to say much about why a business card is important. Business cards leave a lasting impression and in today’s society they are still so incredibly relevant. Especially if you are out and about, or at networking events. It still looks extremely professional if you have a business card.

  • Email Signature

    • The business card of the digital world. A modern, clean and informative email signature looks professional when potential customers or clients contact you for your services. Consider if you want a static email signature or a simple animation.

  • Suite of Social Graphics

    • We recommend designing a social media pack so you can start creating a consistent look across your feeds and channels so customers start to resonate with your brand. We can happily to look at Canva templates if this is an easier solution for your business.

  • Website

    • Having a website allows your business to market online. Without one, your customers won’t know where to go and they will feel like they cannot trust you. A website gives potential customers the feeling that you know what you are doing and you are professional. They add credibility to your business. Our favourite platform for small business is Squarespace. Squarespace is simple to use, it looks great and you can get one up and running within a matter of weeks!

  • Imagery

    • Humans are naturally visual creatures. If you’re a business that needs lots of engaging imagery (which most of us are) consider what type of imagery you need and come up with a plan. Your graphic designer can guide you through this process. Will you hire a photographer? Do it yourself? Or look at stock sites. There are some really great ones out that are inexpensive.

The Laters:

  • Brand Style Guide

    • Some designers might gawk at me for saying a brand guideline is a nice to have. Large corporations pay an exorbitant amount of money on brand guideline creation and maintenance. Don’t get me wrong I wish I could say to every one of my clients that a brand guideline is the utmost most important thing when it comes to your brand (because it kind of is) but for small businesses it’s often once of those things that can be parked and developed overtime.

    • Why is a brand guideline important? A brand guidelines acts as the steering ship for your business. It brings your vision, mission and look and feel + more together in one document. A brand guideline can keep employees on the right track and it’s also a great guide for when you need to outsource a designer. Package everything up and your designer will be able to understand the thought process behind your brand, who you are and how they can design the assets that you need whilst keeping it within your brand look.

    • We always include a small 1-3 page guideline for all of our clients as part of our branding packages. We can tailor the guideline to add more content as required or depending on the size of the business. The reason why we have kept it on the nice to have list as often we develop this for our clients after they have launched their business.

  • Favicon

    • A favicon is the little icon that appears in the URL section of your search bar. Its main purpose is to help visitors locate your page if they have a sea of tabs open (which we are all guilty of doing).

  • Imagery Guide

    • Have you ever seen an Apple billboard before even resonating with the actual logo and name itself. I argue that Apple could even take all their branding off and you would still know it’s them. Their aesthetic is so strong! But under that, their imagery is strong. They stick to a guide. They know what they are and what they are not. Take the principles from the big players and apply it to your business. The same goes for Nike, Google, H&M… all the big players… and the list goes on.

    • If you want for example, your customers to feel happy, light-hearted and feel good from your brand using bright, eye-catching, engaging imagery will leave them feeling this way. But using dark imagery with muted colours, lots of black and overall morbid tones your customers won’t be able to make the right connections to your brand.

I would love to talk to you about your branding project. Get in touch :)

BrandingRachel WardComment