Branding for business: Understanding its importance

A common topic amongst small business owners in sole trader, self-employed, and tradie circles is whether or not they should bother to build a brand around their business. Some may feel that they are simply too small to justify the investment of both their time and money – two resources that are likely already in short supply – to commit to branding their business. And that certainly is a valid consideration.

There’s more than one right way to succeed in business, and if all that marketing and branding jazz doesn’t click with you right now, then perhaps you can put a pin in it and come back to it when you are ready to brand your business. Or when you’ve taken your business as far as you can on word of mouth and organic growth alone.

However, if you’ve weighed up the options, carefully considered your business strategy, and decided that you are ready to build a brand around your business as a tradie, sole trader or as a self-employed individual, read on to find out where to start and how to make branding pay dividends for your business.

What is small business branding?

Business branding is a marketing strategy aimed squarely at making it easier for your target audience to recognise, identify, connect, and ultimately engage in meaningful ways with your business. When done extremely well – such as in the cases of leading, universally recognisable brands such as Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Disney – a brand doesn’t even need to be mentioned by name to be identified and to connect with consumers.

It’s important to acknowledge that to strategically build a brand for your business is much more than just creating a logo. It’s a tangible identity that your customers feel, connect to, and engage with. It should colour every part of your business and every engagement your brand has with your target audience, from your flavour of customer service to your business cards, signage, content marketing, staff uniforms, and even how you talk about your business to others.

Most importantly, and to get down to brass tacks, if you can create a strong brand around your business, your customers will feel like they know you before they have even met you. As such, your brand should reflect what your business stands for and what sets it apart from your competitors, while conveying the qualities, strengths, and personality of your business. In fact, branding is just as important and essential for small businesses as things like small business insurance and budgeting are.

Do I need to build a company brand around my business?

So, do sole traders, self-employed individuals, and tradies actually need small business branding? Well, the answer to that question really depends on the ambitions of the individual, and the current state of play of their business. There’s nothing wrong with maintaining the status quo.

If you’ve found your sweet spot and your business is already humming along at a nice clip, then you may not actually want to put your business out there. You may not feel the need to cultivate new business by increasing your brand awareness through business branding initiatives. However, if your ears and ambition are piqued by the prospect of taking your business to the next level, then investing in building, growing, and promoting your brand should be top of your to-do list.

How to build a business brand in four steps

Step 1: Define who you really are

Before brainstorming a business name change, logo tweaks and the like, you first need to clearly define your brand. What you are trying to uncover here is the unique value proposition – or UVP – that underpins everything your business does, including your business branding initiatives. Firstly, list the defining qualities of your business, products, and services. Are you professional, reliable, or competitive on price? Are you fast and efficient, or thorough to a fault? Are you an industry veteran with many years of hard-won experience? Or perhaps you’re an innovator shaking up the traditional ways that things have always been down in your field.

As part of your small business branding efforts, aim to define your UVP – also known as a USP (unique selling proposition) – in as few words as possible. If you can’t define your brand in 20 words or less, then you haven’t defined your brand. Keep working at it as you consider how to build a brand around your business.

Step 2: Choose an unforgettable business name

We’re not suggesting that you name your business something completely random and outlandish just for the sake of being unforgettable. But try your best to brand your business with a memorable name that your target audience and customers won’t soon forget.

Once you’ve got a shortlist of likely candidates, test them out on family, friends, and others whose opinions you value. If you have a business mentor, involve them too. Before you get too far down the line with naming your business, do a domain availability check so you know that you’re choosing a name that has an exact URL match for your new company website. And make sure none of your competitors use a similar name.

Step 3: Make your company logo memorable so it matters

The best company logos are memorable and instantly recognisable – the Nike tick, the Apple logo, and so on. Your company logo should visually represent your company’s identity, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. Either way, when you build your company brand, carefully consider the fonts, design, and colours that will define and express your brand qualities through your company logo.

Also, if possible, make your company logo indicative of your industry and the products or services your company offers. You don’t necessarily have to spell it out; it can be subtle, so long as it is relatively easy for your customers to connect with. Often an unfussy, clean logo with fewer elements will work best.

Step 4: Create a strong online digital presence for your brand

A carefully designed, easy-to-use company website is a great way to build and promote your company and brand to your audience, while also helping to raise your profile and attract new customers. Your brand’s online and digital presence is about more than just having a compelling website though.

If you can carve out the time, creating and maintaining social media profiles for your brand will also help to build your brand and keep it on the radar of your target audience. Aim for one post a week to start, and if you’re seeing engagement, then you may want to increase how often you post.

Small business branding is a great way to keep your brand top of mind with your customers. Another great way to keep your business in the clear and kicking goals is not having to stress over your small business insurance*. Hop over to the BizCover website or give us a call 1300 920 864 to find out how to easily purchase small business insurance online quick, smart, in a hurry, and without fuss. Because that’s just how we roll.

*This information is general only and does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
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