Small Business Branding Checklist
Happy Friday! Today’s post is the next in my series filled with small business & branding tips: My Branding Checklist for your Small Business. This is my 9-step guide towards a cohesive brand and visual identity, to give your business an experienced, professional feel.
A clear vision of your purpose and niche
Before you start thinking about the visual side of your branding, its essential that you’re clear on what your business is all about. Narrow down what it is you’re going to offer, how you can help people, and what makes you unique to any others in your industry. Write yourself a short mission statement, outlining the main goals of your services, your passion behind doing what you do, and what you hope to achieve with your business.
Clarity on your ideal client
Your ideal client is who you’re trying to attract with your branding, so its key to know exactly who they are. “Females, 18-40” isn’t going to cut it here! Try imagining your ideal client as a specific person. Think about what she/he does for a living, where they might live, what they’d wear, their favourite hobbies, their inspiration etc. You can even give them a name! Once you have them figured out, you can use theses ideas to think about what might appeal to them in terms of your branding, and keep them in mind every time you make a decision on your visual identity.
A suitable business name
Whether you choose to use your own name, or create a unique name for your business, this is a key part of your business and a starting point for your branding. Its a big decision, as you’ll be using it every day for a long time, so take your time in deciding. Write out a list of words that you associate with your industry, what makes you unique, and the brand image you’re hoping to achieve, and play around with combining those words to make some options for your business name.
A Brand Voice
As well as the visual side of your branding, its important that the way you talk about your business, promote yourself, and communicate with your customers are all consistent with your business vision. If you want to attract high-end clients in a corporate industry, you may want to speak quite formally, where as if you’re launching a business in the baby/family industry, you may want to use a more informal language and come across as friendly and personable. You don’t want to try a copy & paste script here, but just settle on a style of writing, and a few keys words that you’ll use to describe your business and talk to potential clients.
A professional logo
Now its time for the fun bit! Once you’re clear on everything your business has to offer, its time to get in touch with a designer and start working on the visual side of your branding. The key element here is your logo (or preferably several logo variations) that you can use on your social media accounts, website, stationery etc. You’ll need something easy to read, unique, and appealing to that ideal client you created earlier. Your logo should act as the face of your business, helping clients to recognise you on different platforms, and summing up what you’re all about.
Brand colours, fonts, graphics etc.
Alongside your logo(s), you should have a set of cohesive brand colours, at least 2 font styles, and possibly a few graphics, icons, illustrations or patterns. You can then use these elements across all areas of your business, to give you a really cohesive, professional looking identity.
Your photos are also a key element of your visual identity, so make sure you stick a consistent style that compliments your branding. (If you’re a photographer, make sure the branding colours you choose is going to work with your style of editing!) Try to always take photos in a similar light, and use presets or filters to create a cohesive look, particularly in your Instagram feed.
(I’ll be sharing more on this topic in the next couple of months!)
Your brand identity should include some beautifully designed business cards using your logo and brand colours, but there’s even more you can do with branded stationery. Branded stickers, product packaging, promotional leaflets, event signage, letter-heads etc. are just a few examples of how you can put your visual identity to use, and really show off your branding.
A website / portfolio
Finally, bring it all together in your main website or portfolio. Feature your main logo on your home-page (I have a separate post outlining some key elements of your website home-page here), use your brand colours and fonts consistently on all pages, add in a few of those illustrations/graphics, and make sure your introduction, about me section and all of your services information is written using your brand voice. Your website is the equivalent of a store front of your business, and sums up who you are, what you can offer, and who you’re here to help.
And there you are! Once you have all of these elements ticked off, you’ll have a cohesive, professional brand to show off to your potential clients.
Are you looking for help with your branding?