Unlike large companies, small businesses have a unique opportunity when it comes to their brand identity.
But what does brand identity mean and why is creating it a key step to getting your small business launched? Here’s what you need to know.
Why Brand Identity Is Important to Small Businesses
When discussing brand identity, most people will immediately think of logos, colors, etc. However, before we jump in, I want to define brand identity:
“Brand identity is how a business presents itself to, and wants to be perceived by, its consumers.”
With your brand identity, you’ll want to be consistent with how you portray yourself. One of the advantages of owning a small business is that you can build your brand from scratch. Your brand is tied to who you are as a business, so as you’re building it, you can determine the mission, values and goals!
One of the first things you’ll want to do while identifying your brand is figuring out the why behind it. To get started, you can ask yourself these questions (and actually write out your answers):
- Who are you?
- What will make your small business different?
- What is the perception of the potential customer?
- What values do you want to be perceived by customers?
- What do you want your brand personality to be?
These questions can help get your mind thinking about your brand so you can easily identify how you want your business to be seen.
Everyone learns differently, and if writing out the answers doesn’t seem to be the best way to get your ideas across, you can create a vision board!
When creating your vision board, you’ll still want to answer the questions from above, but you can do it visually. Every small business will have a different vision and perhaps it will change as you find new ideas.
But remember, you’ll want to find an identity that will stick so you can keep your messaging consistent.
Why Do I Need to Define My Brand Identity?
If you don’t know your brand, how will your customers know your brand?
I’m going to ask a question to help you answer that question above — Have you ever been to a store or restaurant and there was nothing special about it? Defining your brand identity will allow your customers to remember you!
If nothing stands out about your small business, do you think they’ll return? Probably not.
Here’s another way to think about it: do you have a favorite brand? Why is it your favorite brand?
Although small businesses must work hard to get their brand known, it’s still possible to grow into a bigger business! Having a memorable brand or values that resonate with your customers will keep them returning.
People are always willing to support small businesses, but you need to give them a reason to want to. And it always circles back to your brand identity.
Whether you support the community or connect with your customers on a personal level, they’ll appreciate your time and effort if you make them feel special.
Being known as a "big brand" may seem impossible when you're just getting started, but those big brands had to start somewhere just like you.
Building your brand isn’t something you should overlook. If you’re starting from the drawing board, take the time to truly identify what you want your small business to be.
If you’re restructuring your brand or values, it’s important to think through what you currently identify with versus what you want your small business to be. Gradual changes may be the best option to slowly transform your brand.