Branding is creating an identity for your small business. Your brand influences how your customers perceive your business. Branding has increased revenue by up to 20% for some small businesses. Having a consistent brand can take your small business to the next level. Another study found that small businesses with consistent branding are more likely to receive referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. Here's a step-by-step guide for creating your small business branding and plenty of great branding examples. Steps to Building a Small Business Brand The following steps will walk you through the process of building your brand. 1. Research The first step to building a brand is doing research. First, you'll want to conduct market research. Market research is gathering information and learning about trends in your industry. Understanding overall trends in your industry can help you anticipate obstacles that may come up for your business. Your market research should lay the foundation for you to dig deeper and identify your target audience. Your target audience is who you want to buy your products or services. You'll also identify your competitors. Studying your competitors can help you get an idea of what things your customers are expecting in your industry. 2. Develop a brand strategy Our first step was understanding your industry, target audience, and competitors. This step is all about you and your small business. Here you'll be defining the critical aspects of your brand and creating your brand strategy. If your brand is who you are, then your brand strategy is how you communicate who you are. In this step, we'll go through creating each of the elements that make up your brand strategy and include great branding examples. Brand Mission Your brand mission is a statement that tells your business' purpose and how you intend to fulfill that purpose. Example: Starbucks' brand mission statement is: "With every cup, with every conversation, with every community–we nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection." Brand Vision While your brand mission is focused on what your business is currently doing, your vision is about the future. A brand vision is the big picture of who your business will serve and how. It should be aspirational and inspire you and your employees. Example: Chipotle's brand vision is: "We believe that food has the power to change the world." Brand Values These are the principles that guide how your business operates. What values are most important to you and your business? Example: HelloFresh's brand values include budget, freshness, taste, and sustainability. Brand Positioning In the first step, we identified who your competitors are and how you differ from them. A brand positioning statement is about what you offer your customers that your competitors don't. Example: McDonald's brand positioning statement: "For individuals looking for a quick-service restaurant with an exceptional customer experience, McDonald's is a leader in the fast-food industry, with its friendly service and consistency across thousands of convenient locations." Brand Personality Think about if your brand was a person. How would you describe them? Your brand personality is the traits that your brand has. It might sound silly to imagine your business as a person with a personality. Still, this personality will help inform your tone of voice and your brand's vibe. Example: Nike's brand has an active lifestyle, inspirational, exciting, and cool personality. Brand Tone of Voice This is how your brand sounds when you communicate with customers. Your brand's tone of voice affects the types of words you use, whether informal or formal, and the mood of your writing. Example: Old Spice's tone of voice is masculine and humorous. In their commercials and product packaging, Old Spice has a consistent tone of voice in their messaging. Value Proposition Your value proposition is a statement where you identify who your target audience is, what their need is that you solve, and how you solve it. Example: FedEx's value proposition is: "Manage Your Home Deliveries. Sending and receiving packages is convenient and safe for individuals who want to ship ideas and innovations across the globe." What Is A Value Proposition And How To Write One 3. Design a Visual Identity Now that you know your brand identity, you can start working on turning that into brand visual elements that reflect that identity. In this step, we'll review what visual assets you want to make and some options for creating these assets. The first thing you'll want to create is a compelling logo. A logo is a symbol that will represent your brand and products. Picture the Nike swoosh or the Apple apple icon. Your logo should reflect your brand identity and be recognizable so customers can remember it. The next step is selecting your brand's color palette, typography, and imagery. Choose colors that reflect your brand values, personality, and tone. The same idea applies to your typography; choose one or two fonts that reflect your brand style. Next, select what style of imagery would go best with your brand. Your imagery guidelines can apply to stock images or images you create yourself. The goal for deciding on these things is that you'll be consistent on any visual assets across any channel. Create Your Brand Visuals If you want to create your logo and visuals, here are some great tools to consider using. These tools are great for the non-designer and have lots of easy-to-use templates. Canva Adobe Express VistaCreate Work With a Freelance Designer Working with a freelance designer is an excellent option if you'd rather hand over designing your logo and brand's visual assets. Freelance designers are graphic designers who take on contract work and can help you create your logo, business cards, website, and more. Here are some websites where you can find talented designers to hire. Toptal Upwork Dribbble Behance 99Designs Key Brand Elements For Your Small Business 4. Craft Brand Messaging Our last step to small business branding is crafting your brand messaging. Brand messaging will include returning to everything you defined in step two and shaping them into the messages you'll share with your customers. Using your tone and values, write consistent and engaging copy for your website, advertising, and physical location. How to Create a Brand Messaging Framework With Examples Examples of Successful Small Business Branding Sometimes, coming up with business branding ideas can be difficult, so looking at examples of other successful businesses and their branding is helpful. Here are two examples of small businesses with authentic branding. Klymit Klymit is an outdoor gear company whose mission is to make the camping experience more comfortable. They help campers focus on enjoying their time outdoors with the people they love rather than worrying about their gear. This mission is made clear in the copy on their website. While they don't explicitly list their values or brand vision on their website, the imagery, tone, and messaging demonstrate what's important to their business. Yoga with Adriene Find what feels good is the slogan for Yoga with Adriene and embodies this business' brand identity. Yoga with Adriene offers free YouTube videos teaching viewers how to do different yoga sequences. Throughout the website, YouTube channel, and other social media channels, this brand uses calming and peaceful imagery, fonts, and messaging. Tips and Best Practices Now that you've created your small business's branding strategy, here are some tips for using your branding effectively. Be Consistent Across All Touchpoints. Anytime your customer is coming in contact with your business, their experience should be consistent. All of your marketing materials should employ your branding. Consistency helps build trust between your business and your customers. Creating branding guidelines is a helpful way to ensure consistency, especially as your business grows. Brand guidelines are a document that contains all of the branding information for your business. Use this brand guideline document to keep your branding the same across every channel. Start Promoting Your Business With These 9 Marketing Materials Be Authentic When using your branding style guide and communicating with your audience, ensure you're authentic. The values you identify should be incorporated into everything your business does, from creating your product to delivery, including your company culture. How to Create a Brand Style Guide For Your Business + Examples Engage With Your Audience It would be best to engage with your audience both in-person and online regularly. Keeping a pulse on how your audience feels about your brand is essential. Based on your audience's feedback, you can find small ways to adjust to keep your brand relevant. Evolve and Adapt Your Brand Over Time While you won't want to completely change your whole brand with every new trend in your industry, you do want to be aware of what's happening in your market and with your audience and adapt. If your branding isn't connecting with your target audience, it may be a sign that you need to evolve. Conclusion Your brand is your business' identity and will help your customers connect with your company and become loyal customers. By creating your small business branding, you'll be ready to give your customers a consistent experience that exceeds their expectations. So whether you're just starting with your small business or you've been in the game for a while, follow these steps to create your brand.