By Kyle Courtright

Branding. It’s a word you hear a lot. It can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some view it as a vague concept, some see it as a very specific approach to marketing.

No matter what your ideas about branding may be, most can agree that it’s an integral part of any business. It plays a big role in how your business is perceived, but how exactly do you go about branding your business?

Here are some practical steps for the successful branding of your business.

1. The Logo

The logo is, hands down, the biggest element of branding. Think about your logo as an investment. Sure, you could find someone to design a logo on the cheap. But would it be high quality? Would it be memorable? Would it stand the test of time? Probably not.

Spending the time and money that is required to create an effective logo is an investment that will pay off. It’s the same reason why you can buy a plain black fleece jacket for $20 at a number of different stores, but add a North Face logo to it? You will easily spend over $100. This is why your logo is so important. It represents the worth and the value that you offer to your customers. Humans are visual, don’t lose out on potential clients because you went the cheap route for your logo.

2. Materials

Once you have an awesome logo, you need to plaster it all over your materials. I’m talking business cards, letterheads, signs, pens and anything else you can think of. This will do two things; it will create brand continuity (more on that later) and it gets your logo out there! The more people see your logo, the better.

3. Website

In order for a business to be relevant today having a business website is extremely important. When designing a website it is essential that your brand is well represented.  That means having an easy to understand simple website that instantly communicates your brand values right off the bat.

Get rid of excess content and pictures. Allow your brand to speak for itself. Make sure that your potential customer doesn’t leave your site without having a good feel for your brand and what you can offer. Be prepared to spend some cash to get a website done right. There’s nothing worse than a poorly designed website that doesn’t represent your brand clearly.

4. Continuity

Continuity plays a big role in branding. All elements of your branding need to relate well with one another. It will help build credibility which is really important from a customer’s standpoint. If you’ve got a fantastic logo but your office, website or materials are subpar it diminishes the impact of your logo and branding. Making sure that all aesthetic aspects of your business are similar helps build a rock-solid brand.

These are just a handful of ideas that can help you to create a strong brand identity for your business. Have you ever heard the phrase, “You have to spend money to make money”? That’s branding. It’s an investment. Do things right the first time and you’ll be thanking yourself later.

What have you done to help successfully brand your small business?