411 Blog

5 Tips for Small Business Branding


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When we hear the term branding we tend to think of multinational corporations like McDonald’s or Apple. But branding isn’t just for these large companies—small businesses can take advantage of it, too. Your brand is your promise, your reputation, and what makes you stand out from the competition. So, where do you begin with branding your business?


1. Develop your Brand Strategy. Establishing brand guidelines is the first step of small business brand development. You need to figure out who you are, what you stand for, and what you’re trying to convey. The Globe and Mail outlines 5 questions to ask yourself when developing your brand strategy:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What’s the competition doing?
  • What’s your brand position?
  • What’s your brand promise?
  • What’s your brand personality?

If you’re located in the GTA, Distility offers a one-day brand strategy workshop, which will help you create your strategy.


2. Be Consistent. Consistency is the one of the most important parts of shaping your brand. You want to communicate the same message across all channels: print, online, in store, and in person.

You should also remain consistent in the colours, font, imagery, and voice you use in the design of your business materials and marketing efforts, as well as the same taglines and hashtags. You want someone to be able to see any of the materials your business provides and know it came from you, whether your logo is on it or not. That being said…


3. Design a Great Logo. If you’ve seen or heard about the recent discussion surrounding Instagrams’s new logo, you’ll understand the impact that an icon can have.

Your logo is your major graphical representation, making this visual a key role in shaping your brand. You need a logo that people will easily recognize and associate with your company. The best way to do this is to design a logo that’s clean and simple. This infographic explains what different colours mean and how you can incorporate them into your logo. Once you finalize a design, stick to it so that it becomes familiar to customers.

Many people assume that branding stops here, but it’s so much more than just a logo.


The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials–all of which should integrate your logo–communicate your brand. – Entrepreneur


4. Establish your Brand Voice. Write content in a unique and recognizable brand voice. Your voice will depend on what you do and what your values are. If you’re a serious law firm you may want to stick to more formal language if that’s consistent with your brand, but if you’re a creative entrepreneur like a photographer or freelance writer, let your creativity reflect through your brand voice.

Click here for a quick guide to defining your brand voice or here for a more detailed guide.


5. Update your Online Presence. Your social media handles should match your domain name and all your social media and website should be up to date (ensuring your website is mobile responsive).

A blog can be a great addition to your online presence. A blog doesn’t only function for SEO and as a way to drive traffic to your site—it’s an opportunity to let your customers get to know you. While your brand message should always be clear, a blog gives you a chance to expand on your message.


Do you have additional tips to help entrepreneurs brand their business? Tweet @411dotca to share them with us.


Laura has a B.A. in Honours Communications Studies from McMaster University and is currently enrolled in Humber’s Public Relations Postgraduate program. She is passionate about writing and local business, so this blog is the perfect combination of the two.