4 steps to building your brand as a small business

It’s hard to stand out in today’s jam-packed marketplace, especially if you’re a small business. On the one hand, pretty much every industry is dominated by its giant companies. The household names that everybody knows. On the other hand, your market is just as likely to be crowded with other small businesses that are your direct competitors.

In this crowd, standing out might seem like a near impossible task. That’s where building your brand comes in. The term “branding” might bring to mind multi-million-pound ad campaigns, or sponsored social media posts with world famous influencers.

But, even in the world of small business, taking the time (and investing some money) in building a brand that effectively communicates what you do best can grab the attention of potential customers and make you stand out from competitors of all sizes.

Here are four of our key tips for building a successful brand as a small business:

1 – Define Your Brand
This is the crucial starting point when it comes to brand building. Take some time to ask yourself a few questions about your business, this will help you to define your brand and what you hope to achieve with it.

What are our values? Where do we want our business to go? Who are our customers or target customers? What is our unique selling point (USP)?

Answering questions like this will help you start building a brand that highlights your business’ strengths, attracts customer attention (and holds it) and differentiates your message from your competitors.

2 – Establish Your Tone of Voice
Establishing a tone of voice for your brand will reinforce its character and the message that your business is trying to convey. It will help you present a unified, consistent message, and carrying this over across both your internal and external communications will help reinforce this further.

A consistent tone of voice helps your brand convey a business that is solid and trustworthy. So, whether you’re looking to style yourself as professional and serious, or light-hearted and amusing, get your tone of voice set and stick with it.

3 – Design Your Visual Aesthetic
Similar to your brand’s tone of voice, a well-defined and unified visual aesthetic in your branding will catch the eyes of consumers and communicate consistency. Ensuring a recognisable aesthetic across things such as your logo, signage and even email signatures will make your brand’s visuals more effective.

The visual aspect of your brand determines its look and feel and, just as much as the tone of voice, helps set its tone in the minds of your potential customers.

It goes without saying that being bold and creative with your visuals will catch the eyes of consumers. But if you want to - not just stand out - but hold the attention of your customer base, an aesthetic that is bold, unified and, most importantly, recognisably yours, will really help you achieve that goal.

4 – Be an Expert
Small businesses are booming at the moment, across every sector. Whether its craft beer or IT services, clothing or cycling, customers have come to appreciate the more hands-on, bespoke, personal service that small companies offer over their more corporate competitors.

Your brand should take advantage of this, so consider how you could utilise your status as a small business to position yourself as an approachable, reliable expert in your field. You should be branding your business as one that consumers can approach and talk to, a business that they trust to offer expertise and the best possible service.

Utilising your tone of voice, aesthetic and the natural talents you have at your disposal, harness your brand power to deliver branded content (such as blogs or visual media) that showcases what you do and your expertise in doing it.

What next?
Now that you’ve got an idea of how to build your brand, it’s time to get out there and communicate it to your potential customers. In our next piece we’ll be looking at how small businesses such as yours can use their brands to effectively engage with today’s consumers.