Small businesses - make your branding a top priority for 2021

Eleanor Hicks
Editor-in-Chief | Designerly
22nd February 2021

Strong branding increases your company’s value. Would you like for people to immediately turn to you when they have a need to fulfill? When talking about a topic related to your industry, should your business name be the first one to come up? Name recognition is one of the most important parts of building a successful business. 

Branding is about more than just showing you're an authority in your field, though. Around 90% of people say they are influenced by visual elements of a brand. Colour is a powerful motivator for many people and can even elicit emotions. 

Why is branding important to a business? A strong brand is important to your small business. If you haven’t already considered your 2021 business goals, here are some things you can do to ensure your organization becomes more recognizable and consistent. 

1. Set Expectations

Branding doesn’t just tell people who you are as a business owner. It also explains why they should trust you with their hard-earned money. It’s your opportunity to explain why they should choose you over every other option out there. Set expectations about what they’ll gain by buying from you and then strive to consistently exceed those promises.

2. Surge Ahead of Other Companies

The pandemic created difficulties for many different industries. It’s tempting for business owners to just wait out the lockdowns. However, experts advise this can harm your company by making you “out of sight, out of mind.” 

Instead, you should use the opportunity to expand your reach. Experts point out there is an abundance of access to top talent right now. That means you can bring in help from the best marketing agencies, enlist a contract worker to create a new logo and gain input from people who otherwise might be out of your budget.

Look for opportunities that will make your name more recognizable and increase your business over time. 

3. Increase Your Marketing Budget

As a rule of thumb, businesses must spend money before they make money. With that in mind, you also want to create a budget that makes sense without taking you into debt. If at all possible, increase your marketing budget and make branding a top priority. 

While you won’t see the return on branding as immediately as a specific product promotion, you will increase your customer base over time. 

4. Find New Customers

Getting your business name out in the community helps you find new customers you might have otherwise overlooked. Think about how you can reach those in your area best. For example, you might sponsor a local football team. The parents and coaches all see that you’re a sponsor and remember your brand name.

Think about what you want your company to be known for. Do you want to be seen as a local advocate for children? Perhaps you care about the environment and adopt a local roundabout and beautify it. Make a big impression with little acts showing what you stand for. 

5. Be Consistent

Stackla reports 86% of people want authenticity in the brands they choose. The way the outside world sees your company may be quite different than the image you’re trying to project. 

Look at your advertising from a big-picture view. Do you focus on price in one campaign and then shift to quality in another? Do you promise 100% money back if the customer isn’t happy and then refuse to give refunds?

Look for ways you might present an inconsistent message and seek to clean those up. Make one of your business goals for 2021 to say what you mean and mean what you say. 

6. Find a Signature Colour

Does your brand have a colour palette? If you don’t have at least one signature colour you use in your logo, store designs, online and in correspondence, you need one. Top brands such as Coca-Cola use colours to drive emotion and recognition. 

Think about what colour makes sense for your industry. If you are an event planning firm, then red shows excitement, while a medium blue says you’re traditional and reliable. Choose based on the emotions you wish to evoke.

Also, pay attention to the colours your competitors use. You don’t want to confuse your target audience. If they see pink and purple, do they think of only your brand, or do they also associate it with another company in the same industry? Choose wisely. 

7. Know Your Unique Value

What is the unique value proposition (UVP) for your brand? What sets you apart from every competitor? If you don’t have one, set a goal to find yours in 2021. You should match your competition as closely as possible and then choose something that makes you stand out.

Perhaps you offer personalisation. Maybe your customer service is stellar. Other brands may make customers wait, while you have speedy turnaround. Seek the UVP your customers desire and share the message in all your marketing campaigns, on your website and on any material with your name on it.

You may even want to put your UVP in your tagline. Think about the ways you can present your organization in the best light possible, but make sure you can follow through on any promises. 

Better Branding Grows Revenue

When you focus on branding, your name becomes more recognizable. It isn’t a fast growth spurt in most cases, but it is a slow, steady build bringing in new customers and creating loyal fans. The more people who enjoy what you do, the more likely they are to generate word-of-mouth buzz for you. You’ll gain a positive reputation and like-minded clients who stick with you for the long haul.

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.


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