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3 steps to great small business branding

Many small business owners are trying to take their branding to the next level but don’t know where to start. They want increased sales, more conversations and a bigger online presence. They are trying to adapt to digital demands by “spraying and praying”. They are posting all over social media, pouring money into new websites and apps with no clear visual direction or focus. A lot of small businesses don’t have their branding basics under control. They are hiring VAs, website designers and social media managers but can’t answer basic questions like “what colour should this be?” or “what is your brand font?”. Here are 3 steps to get the basics down so you can grow better, faster:

1. Audit what you got

You’ve been posting all over social media, you may or may not have a logo or a business card and you may or may not even have a registered business name (you should really sort that out first and foremost). Look at all of the things you’ve been saying about your self online, in person and in print and gather them in a single folder. Toss out things you don’t love and keep the things with high engagement. Look across all of your communications for common themes, colours and fonts. Dust off your key messages too.

2. Make some branding decisions for your small business then write them down

After you’ve looked at what you’ve done so far, make some concrete decisions about how you want your company to look. You may be surprised to see how many different shades of green you may be using or how many different fonts. You also be all over the place in terms of style with stock photos you are using.

Grab your favorite beverage and pick some colours and then pick some fonts. You’ll want a palette of 3-4 colours with 1 being an accent colour. If you have some colours in mind but don’t know their values, try this colour finder by Pantone. Then download my simple brand guide so you can write down the feelings, fonts, colours and shapes you’ve chosen. You will use this guide to inform your future social media posts, banners, ads and you can even pass it on to the VAs, social media managers and website designers.

3. Be consistent with your branding for 3-6 months then evaluate

With your brand guide in hand, start making content with brand consistency as a priority. As time goes on, you will become more confident in your brand and will start to be recognized and then trusted by your audience. You’ll start racking up touch points that will turn strangers into customers.

Download my brand guide

You can download my brand guide here. Below is what you’ll find on the first page of the download, the second page is a blank version you can print off yourself.

Bonus: Do you have all of the right files you need? If your logo was created by a daughter/friend/fivrr, you may not have all of the design files you need for different applications. JPGs are usually used for social media posts but if you want a transparent background, you’ll need a PNG. If you want to do something more elaborate like a shirt or sign, a vector file (SVG) could be required. High end printing like a glossy magazine or brochure? Maybe a TIFF. If your designer didn’t give you everything you need to be ready for anything, you may have to spend more money with them to get it.

Good luck getting your brand off the ground. If you have questions about the guide or want to chat about your brand, please reach out!