You’re Never Too Small to Brand

Posted on: August 3rd | Filed under: Branding

Hello, Mr./Mrs. Small business owner. If I can pry you away from the sales calls, billing, payroll, and customer support emails you’re handling simultaneously, I want to take a moment to talk about your brand. This won’t take too long. Promise.

Here’s the deal: Small businesses like yours need to create brand as much as the big boys. And while yours and their brands are never likely to fight for air time and eyeballs during this year’s Super Bowl, you may very well compete for foot traffic, phone calls or clicks.

At Headfirst, we like doing creative work for smaller businesses as much as we like helping larger, established companies. Maybe it’s because you have a clean slate, with no legacy brand to ‘evolve.’ Or, maybe it’s because the fruits of our creative labor are more immediate.

Now, the art of branding can get complicated pretty fast. There’s lots of studies and competitive research you can conduct. At the end, we may get a diagram featuring a colorful group of circles with overlapping ‘pockets of opportunity.’

But for small businesses, we can simplify the process and still arrive at something compelling and unique. When you think about it, a brand is really the personality of your organization. It’s a melding of who you are (and what you sell) with who you want to be going forward.

Most smaller companies tend to play it safe and just try to be everything to everyone under the “let’s just look professional” umbrella. Unfortunately, when you try to be all things to everyone, you usually wind up being boring and not very memorable.

The key challenge is to identify some personality traits that your company can genuinely ‘own’ in the marketplace — something that will set you apart from the competition. Let’s make a list. For example, are you the most organized? The most technically advanced? The most fun? The most customer service oriented? The highest quality? The easiest to work with? What do you do the best or differently than your competitors?

You know your market better than we do so, given where your competitors stand in the market and where you’d like to be, we’d like you to RANK these traits in order, with the top traits representing those you most identify with for your brand moving forward.

By doing this, you will be providing our creative team some much-needed guidance to solidify the ‘tone of voice’ we use in the copy, and help in identifying and creating the key visuals in developing your website and brand.

As you rank these personality traits, please provide us any supporting material. We really need YOU to be the one driving this, since you are the owner of the brand (we didn’t want to open this up to the group because, while they are knowledgeable and capable, they are not the owners of the company or the brand).

So now, in addition to being the Head of Sales, Accounting, and Customer Service, you can add “brand specialist” to your job title.

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