why branding matters for small businesses

Owning a small business usually means you’re working with a small budget, but can you afford to cut branding from your budget? Branding may sound like an expensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn about what branding is, and 6 reasons why branding matters for small businesses. 

What is branding? 

Branding is an active process of creatively shaping your visual and identity and core messaging. This can include designing a logo, applying your visual style to your website, coming up with a name for your business and products, and writing a tagline. 

Your brand contains many elements – like a logo, or colors – but more importantly your brand is a promise of what’s expected from your business or product. 

The word branding can be used in many different ways, and because of that there are many common misconceptions that have developed around branding. 

Common misconceptions about branding 

These common misconceptions about branding often hold small business owners back from considering branding at all.

  • It’s expensive: The biggest misconception about branding is that it is an expensive service that costs thousands of dollars. For larger, more developed companies, branding services can very well cost a lot. But for small and new businesses, branding doesn’t have to cost a lot. 
  • Only large corporations need branding: How do companies grow to be large corporations? Branding has a lot to do with it. Corporations don’t need branding because they’re big – they’re big because they’ve invested in branding to expand their reach. 
  • Branding isn’t as important as marketing: Branding provides the foundation on which successful marketing strategies are built. Without a brand, you won’t see the ROI on marketing that you’re looking for. 
  • Branding is just a logo and color choices: A brand is so much more than logo and colors. It’s about developing a cohesive visual identity AND norms for how you communicate the benefit of your products and services to your target audience.

Clearing up these branding misconceptions can start to illuminate why branding matters for small businesses.

6 reasons why branding matters for small businesses 

Branding helps a business grow and attract more qualified clients and repeat customers. These are 6 reasons why branding matters for small businesses, and why you should invest some time into developing a brand you’ll love. 

#1 Helps you save time and money on marketing 

Branding provides a blueprint that can help you create marketing materials faster. And faster, means less expensive. 

When you’ve developed your brand, you’ll have a strong starting point for creating graphics and content that will attract the right customers. 

Consistent branding helps you reuse the same content in many different places, expanding your reach. 

#2 Helps you use AI marketing tools more efficiently 

As a small business owner, you may already be using AI tools to help your business run more efficiently. AI can also help with branding and marketing – but only if you’ve already established a strong brand foundation first. 

With a brand foundation to use as input for AI tools, their output will be more true to your brand and require less editing. 

#3 Acts a true north to guide business decisions 

Branding can help you make decisions in every facet of your business, not just marketing. 

For example, branding can help give you direction when it comes to pricing your products, because brand perception influences pricing

Branding can also help you make decisions regarding your storefront. What does your sign look like? What paint color do you use inside? 

#4 Gives people a reason to choose your business 

For most businesses out there, there is a lot of competition. Small businesses not only compete with similar businesses in their area, but with larger businesses that have a lot of resources to devote to increasing visibility and making sales. 

Branding is where you can really set yourself apart from your competitors. It’s what gives people a reason to choose your business over the competition. And it all starts with a critical part of your brand – your Unique Value Proposition

#5 Cultivates trust 

Branding helps you “look the part” so people can accept your business as a credible option in the market. Even if you don’t have customers yet who can leave you a review. 

Branding can help a small business cultivate trust and build credibility so you can land new business. 

#6 Helps you get repeat business    

Repeat business is critical for small businesses, and branding can help you get regulars that keep your business running even through the hard times. 

Remember when we said that brand is a promise? Every time you fulfill your brand’s promise by being consistent, you are winning over customers. Customers will return to a business where they feel secure they know what to expect. 

Now that you know why branding matters for small businesses, you may be wondering how you can get started branding your small business. 

How can you start branding your small business?                                 

The good news is that you don’t need a ton of time and money in order to build a strong brand foundation. As your business grows, you may want to consider investing more in branding, but for now you can do it yourself. 

The most important thing you need to do is establish your brand foundation by completing a branding checklist of 10 items every brand should have. You can read more about the branding checklist here.  

Branding Compass can help you establish your brand foundation in just an hour or two by giving you a step-by-step guide to follow. This self-guided tool asks targeted questions and gives you a starting point for your visual identity and core messaging based on your answers.