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  • Writer's pictureErika Jackson

Branding Your Small Business

The importance of branding.

Are you ready to start your small business? After creating your business plan and deciding what kind of product or service you want to sell, it is time to think about branding. Branding is crucial to building your business because it sets the foundation for how consumers will view your business. It is the perpetual process of identifying, managing and creating cumulative assets and actions to shape the perception of a brand in stakeholders' and consumers' minds1. Strong and cohesive branding builds trust and is the most important asset to the company. Therefore, before you build your website, print off business cards, or create advertisements, you must establish how you want to brand your business.

During the planning of your business, you should consider establishing some sort of branding guidelines. Branding guidelines are standards and rules an organization follows to maintain consistency across channels. A framework of verbal, written, and visual communication sets the foundation for brand growth and development. If you plan on outsourcing marketing and branding to an agency, having some branding guidelines will help steer them in the right direction of how you want your business to be seen.

As a new business, deciding how to brand your business can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Having branding guidelines in place before designing and creating parts of your business will ensure consistency. Your business cards, social media pages, website, packaging, promotional products, and interior design should have a similar look and feel that allows people to identify your business. Are your products/services exclusive that only high-end people use? Are you known for being durable and reliable? Are users of your product every day, Joe, or something only celebrities use? Branding is a statement about who your company is, which is why this should be taken seriously before launching your business.

Coca-Cola is a great example of how strong branding can make a business more reputable.


In 2020 Coca-Cola ranked sixth on Forbes' World's Most Valuable Brands list. Coca-Cola is one of the best-known brands in the world. The company had reported that by 1895 its beverage was sold and drank in every U.S. state and territory, which began saturating the world market. The brand is sold in 200 countries making the Coke logo recognizable world wild. By marketing the brand instead of the product, the company encouraged and harnessed customer loyalty around the "feeling" versus the soda itself.

Now consider traveling outside of the U.S. and coming across different kinds of beverages. Some countries have been known to have beverages that do not digest well. Whether you are on vacation or on a business trip, you don't want your trip to be ruined. When you turn to find something to quench your thirst, what bottled or canned beverage are you more likely to grab? Chances are, you will pick up a brand you recognize. This could be Minute Maid Juices, Fanta, Dasani Water, Sprite, Vitaminwater, or a Coke. These recognizable brands are part of Coca-Cola's portfolio2. But what draws you to choose one of those over something else? It is the trust that you have in that brand. You know that the formula and ingredients used to create the product will be consistent with what you had back home. While Coca-Cola is a large corporation with an extensive marketing and branding team, it is not to say that its strategy shouldn't and can't be applied to a small business. As a new business, you want to start early with building that trust and reputation for having a consistent and dependable brand.

Branding is a valuable opportunity for a small business to get experimental and creative6. Here are five great examples of small businesses with strong branding are:

1. College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving This business has a simple design with a logo that supports its message. It's clever, fun, and easy to remember. Their trucks and work apparel are brightly colored and distinguishable for people on the street.

2. Askinosie Chocolate Leading the chocolate movement, Askinosie's brand is intricate and clean with small pops of color. With an easy-to-follow website and consistent themes throughout their social media, it is easy to follow along and connect with the brand through each platform.

3. Zonzo Estate After going through a rebranding, Zonzo Estate is a combination of a rustic and modernistic winery. A few variances of the logo can be placed on different backgrounds and materials while still being tied into branding consistency.

4. MKBHD Another brand with a few different logos across different platforms, this business remains consistent with the red, white, and black theme. The style is laid back, casual, and cutting-edge to match his tech content.

5. KIDO Looking to reach a wide and diverse range of kids. The soft colors used on the site and within the boutique create a welcoming and calm environment that attracts parents and children.

Whether you plan to remain a small business or a world-renowned corporation, you must have some branding. Branding helps you build a strong relationship with your audience and show them what to expect from your business. It is important to start formulating your brand. Some simpler starter questions to ask yourself when creating a brand, and things often found in branding guidelines are:

  • How will your logo look? Will it be legible, printed small, or in one color?

  • What colors should you choose, and what emotion do they draw from the viewer?

  • Is the style of my website going to be consistent with my social media or business interior?

As your business grows, you will go more in-depth about what and how you want your company represented due to new insights and reactions of consumers. The branding can include anything from the imagery used to the tone of employees with customers. While it seems like a lot of work, getting this started early will save you from spending extra money on rebranding your business site, printed ads, social media, and more. Remember, no matter how great your product is; it will be difficult to reach and retain customers without proper branding.

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