Branding 101 – Tips for Small Business Owners

the word brand

Are you a Holden family or a Ford family? Do you drink VB or Tooheys? Is it Colgate or Macleans in the bathroom cabinet?

A lot of our buying decisions are not rational, but instead emotional. They are made because that is what your mum did, because you like the colour or look of the packaging, or because you like the football team they are associated with. In short we are influenced by the brand of a product. Whilst sponsoring football teams and large scale advertising campaigns are out of reach for small businesses, giving thought to your brand is still incredibly important.

Below are four tips on branding for small business operators.

1.       A brand is not a just a logo

The first thing you need to realise is that your brand is not just a logo. A logo may be a graphical representation of your brand, but it is not everything about your brand. Your brand is reflected in the way you and your staff talk and behave, the way your product is packaged, the way your website and other marketing materials are designed and presented, the service you provide. Your brand is made up of many things – tangible and intangible.

2.       Know what your customers are looking for

Google is the first place the vast majority of people go when researching anything. When thinking about your small business name consider how people search for the kinds of products or services you offer. Google Insights is a good place to start. With Google Insights you can identify, the types of words people use when searching for your type of business. Tailor your business brand and name accordingly. For instance you may own a landscape construction business, but through Google insights we can see people more often search for landscape design. The business owner would be better served creating a brand name that incorporates design rather than construction.

3.       Know what is important to your customers

The best brands resonate strongly with their audience. Understanding what is important to your audience is the first step of any branding exercise. Is it important you’re a local business, or is it more advantageous that you have a global presence? Do your customers value the fact you are mobile and can home deliver, or do they want to ensure your business is established and has a long track record? Knowing what is important to your customers will help you shape your brand and what it communicates on your behalf.

4.       Know your competitors and define what makes your business different

Take a look at what your competitors are doing. What looks good; what looks bad? What works and what doesn’t? Identify the gaps in the market that your business can answer and shape your brand accordingly to maximise on the niche.

These are just a few ways to get started on building a strong foundation with which to build a brand and grow your business. Do you have any other tips? Share them in the comment box.


Matthew Gain | Director, Brand and Digital Marketing – Edelman