Small business branding. What is it? It's just a logo and a name, right? Well no! It's more than that. Branding is how your small business distinguishes itself from others similar to you. Branding shows your customers why they should use your services and not competitors'. For a new small business, branding can be a daunting and confusing task. Here are some common pitfalls that you may be tempted to commit, but don't.
1. Makin' copies
As a new small business owner, you may be tempted to borrow elements from other companies’ branding. Don't do it. Imitating other small businesses’ brand identities will only confuse customers into thinking your brand is their brand, especially if it’s a well-established brand. You want your brand to stand out. To be distinguished on its own. You will not be able to eliminate all traces of a competitor's brand because there are aspects that will be common to all within a given field. For example, a pool contractor will have a pool in their brand in one way or another. The purpose of a brand is to highlight the differences, not the similarities.
2. Being inconsistent
Another common pitfall is inconsistency. All branding material from a logo, business cards, website, to uniforms should be consistent. It should have a similar feel and look. Inconsistencies come because small businesses often don’t have internal departments that handle the branding. They have to use outside sources to create their brands, and sometimes it can be more than one source. A way to help remove these discrepancies is to establish clear guidelines as to how the branding should look and to use a single source for all designs.
3. Over complicating things
The statement "less is more" is often forgotten when it comes to branding, particularly with a new small business. Don't be tempted to cram everything you can about your company into your branding. Too much information will overwhelm customers just as much as too little. Only include things that are needed to distinguish your brand from the rest.
4. Going it alone
New small business owners often try to do everything themselves. This will work out great if you don't require sleep, food, relation or you’re all powerful. Sad to say none of us are. We all need help and hiring a professional designer can lead your small business’ brand in the direction that you envisioned in your head.