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How To Build Your Brand Identity as a Small Business

Finding your brand identity

Table of Contents

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Think of popular household-name brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nike, and Google. Any people on the streets can tell you their slogan or are familiar with their logo. And all these brands have one thing in common — and that is a strong brand identity. 

Brand identity is the combination of different elements that makes up a brand and sets them apart from others. This includes your logo, slogan, color palette, typography, and other visual elements. 

Building a strong brand identity might seem an impossible task for a small business, but it doesn’t have to be. In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips on how to build your brand identity, and set you on the same path as other big-name brands. 

How To Build Your Brand Identity

In order to create a brand identity, you need to know the elements that make them up. Understanding these elements will help you in creating a great and consistent brand identity.

1. Pick a Great Name

When it comes to choosing your business name, the most important rule is to keep it simple. Make it easy to spell, pronounce, and remember. Don’t use a name that is too similar to your competitors either.

However, make sure your name is still memorable and unique. Especially as a small business, you need every little thing to help you stand out. 

To come up with a business name, list down keywords that you want to be associated with your brand. Do you want to come off as warm and friendly? Authoritative and business-like? Or cute and kid-friendly? From there on, you can come up with names that best fit your brand. You can also play around with business name generators or rhyming dictionaries online to help you come up with ideas. 

2. Have a Logo that Stands Out

Your logo is the face of your business. It’s usually people’s first impression of you, so having a great logo is crucial. 

But how can you be sure your logo is great? Ideally, your logo should follow the 5 principles of a good logo design, which are: simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate. This means that your logo should be easy to remember even when seen in passing, works even with the changing trends, fits with your target audience, and is scalable to work at all sizes. 

There are also various logo types that you can use for your logo design. There are wordmark logos (Coca-Cola, Google), symbol-based logos (Twitter, Apple), abstract logos (AirBnb, Pepsi), mascot logos (Pringles, Wendy’s), combination mark logos, which combine both text and visual elements (Lacoste, Burger King), and emblem logos (Starbucks, NFL). 

The power of a great logo design shouldn’t be underestimated. As a small business, you probably don’t have a huge budget for a marketing agency to create your logo, but you can explore more affordable options like a freelance designer or logo maker tools online instead.

3. Come Up With a Memorable Slogan

A slogan is a catchphrase that draws your audience’s attention and makes them remember you. Think of Nike’s “Just Do It” or L’Oréal’s “Because you’re worth it”. Just by hearing the slogan, you’ll instantly think of the brand.

Slogans are not only limited to big brands. Even small businesses can benefit from having a memorable slogan, as it helps boost your brand recall and gives you an edge over competitors.

To come up with a slogan, you should consider your logo. Your logo and slogan should work hand in hand to convey your brand’s message. Make sure to keep your slogan short, simple, and preferably something that easily rolls off the tongue. Try using “power words” as well, such as “Great”, “Mind-Blowing”, “Effective”, as these words trigger action and emotional response in a person.

4. Use Colors That Represent Your Brand

Another important element is your color scheme or color palette. Select one that fits the image that you want to embody, and one that fits your industry and your target audience.

For example, if you run a bakery, you should use warm and inviting colors such as light brown, orange, and yellow. If you sell eco-friendly products, try using colors usually associated with nature such as green, brown, and blue. If you have a cosmetics shop, using colors like pink or light purple is recommended.

Use your color scheme across your marketing materials, such as in your packaging, poster, flyer, or logo. This also includes your digital marketing assets, such as your website or social media posts. 

By having a color scheme associated with your business, you give your audience a visual cue to help them remember and recognize your brand. 

5. Use Good Typography

Just like your colors, your typography will also have an effect on your brand identity. 

Different fonts can give off a different vibe or image, so choose one that best suits your business. For example, serif fonts like Times New Roman and Georgia are usually associated with a traditional, formal, or “old-school” vibe. On the other hand, sans serif fonts like Arial and Helvetica are associated with a modern and casual feel.

Your typography won’t just be used on your logo, but on all of your marketing materials. So consider the platform that you are going to use and think of the font that is best suited for that. For example, your website. Using sans serif fonts is recommended, as its simpler look is much more legible and easy to read. Not to mention, it helps in keeping a website achieve a minimalistic and clean look. 

6. Have a Brand Voice

Brand identity is not just composed of visual elements. Your brand voice is an important element as well.

Brand voice is the “personality” that your business uses when communicating with your audience. Brands use a distinct style, tone, or language, which in turn creates a personality that your audience will associate with your business. This is visible through how you write your blog posts, your social media posts, your “About Us” on your website, etc.  

Think of Apple. They pair their minimalistic brand visuals with direct and confident language on their written content. While Dove, with their body-positive branding, uses a lot of comforting and approachable language in their marketing materials. 

Having a distinct brand voice is important in making your small business stand out from the crowd. It also helps make your business more relatable to your audience and makes it easier for them to emotionally connect with you. 

Final Takeaway 

Building a brand identity is not just a luxury limited to big brands. Small businesses can benefit from having a strong brand identity as it can help boost your brand awareness, help you stand out from competitors, and lead the way for you to grow your profit in the future. Investing time and effort into your brand identity, especially in your early days, is crucial to making your small business succeed.

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