This post by guest blogger Brooke Semple appears as part of our series Small Business 500

tips for small businessThe best brands know who they are. They have defined with great clarity what they value, what problems they solve and who their market is. With a cohesive brand, your business builds and sustains a relationship with your target audience. Here are five tips to help you create a brilliant brand!

1. Make it visual

A strong brand has a consistent visual identity that has the flexibility to span a wide range of communications. Whether it be a logo on your letterhead, a video on your website, or a banner your blog. The best brand identities balance simplicity with memorability and go beyond a logo. By bringing together a unique logo, purposefully selected and well-crafted typography, a distinctive colour palette and relevant graphic elements into a cohesive whole, you will ensure that your brand stands out in the crowd. 

2. Shape the customer experience

Every point of interaction between your business and your customers is a touchpoint. Successful brand touchpoints are not only seen and heard, they are felt. The people interacting with your business are having an experience and everything you do, from the way you decorate the entryway of your office, the way you welcome your customers at the door, right down to the firmness of your handshake shapes that interaction. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, it’s often the simple things that enhance your customers’ experience the most. A strong brand goes beyond the visual and shapes experience by fine-tuning the details. 

3. Don't be afraid to be different

No two businesses or people are identical. Seth Godin called it the “Purple Cow” when he wrote that the “key to success is to find a way to stand out – to be the purple cow in the field of monochrome Holsteins.” Find what makes you unique and shout it from the rooftops.

4. Create consistency

Consistency separates the pros from the amateurs. When the pros set up a mailing list or decide to offer free shipping, they make it happen and stick to the plan. In small businesses offering a variety of services can be especially difficult because often one person is trying to juggle it all! However, it’s better to do a few things excellently than many things poorly. If you are implementing a social media campaign, for example, choose a few platforms and post consistent, relevant content to your audience. Don't get overwhelmed by all of the options out there. Just do what you can do, the best you can do it, and do so consistently no matter what.

5. Find the continuity

In order for your brand to rival the best of them, what your brand represents, what you want it to represent, and how your customers perceive it all need to align. This is where the masks come off, transparency reigns supreme and you need to walk the talk! There is only so much marketing can do for your business. In the end you will need to live your brand values and follow through on your brand promise. Do this well and you will build a reputation worthy of a brilliant brand!

tips-better-brandingBrooke Semple is the Founder and Creative Director of Seesaw Design. A multi-media design studio specializing in branding, design and media for small businesses that think big. An expert in visual communications and strategic problem solving she loves finding creative ways to catapult businesses to new levels of success. 

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