Small Business
Branding is Much More

Than a Logo

By Tom Rodriguez, TJR Designs

Printed in the Ahwatukee Foothills News, Dec. 27, 2017

As a small business owner, how well have you branded your company? With the robust competition in today’s marketplace, the goal is to differentiate your business from the rest. When branded correctly, businesses can use their brand identity as a marketing tool to help separate themselves from the competition. Customers are more likely to evangelize for a company they trust and use over and over. That in turn becomes a crucial part of the company’s marketing.

Brand Identity - The complete brand identity goes much deeper than your marketing materials. To your customers, brand identity is the way that you interact with them, whether in person, on the phone, through email, or on social media. Developing your brand identity often begins with a solid mission statement that captures who you are and your promise of what you are going to provide. The goal of good branding is to create a positive emotional attachment with customers. Remaining true to your mission statement promise helps develop that attachment.

The Logo – Although the logo isn’t the end-all in a company’s branding process, it is clearly the most visible piece. Once you have developed your logo, the most important rule is consistency. Use the same logo on all marketing materials, such as brochures, letterheads, business cards, signage, and social media sites. When you print new materials, always retrieve the original logo artwork from your files. As a graphic designer, I have seen logos change and distort over time, because original files were not used.

Social Media - A personal Facebook page is a fantastic way to keep up with family and friends, but probably not the best way to showcase the new product your company is ready to introduce to the marketplace.  A good practice is to regularly take inventory of your business social media pages. Do all sites show consistent colors, fonts, and images?  Are all links active and working correctly?  Are there images of products that you no longer carry?  How about the profile image, is it current?  The look and feel on each site should show consistency from one to another.

Marketing Materials – Maybe there are stacks of brochures in your storeroom that were printed years ago. The company’s logo has been updated to a more current look and products in the brochure are no longer being carried. You may feel that the brochures must be used and not wasted, but remember that they will be out in the marketplace giving potential customers conflicting and confusing messages about your business. While it may be easier and less-expensive in the short term to create a new flyer or brochure in Word, professionally-created marketing materials reinforce your brand and send the right message to potential customers.

Customer loyalty is what small businesses rely on for success. Whether it’s your marketing materials or how you and your staff interact with customers, maintaining a consistent brand identity will help solidify that loyalty.

Tom Rodriguez is owner of TJR Designs in Ahwatukee. 480-940-7767.