Online Strategy Co

Building a Big Small Business Brand

In today’s competitive landscape, a brand isn’t just a logo or a product; it’s an experience, a promise, and a relationship with your audience. Building a big small business brand involves a strategic blend of authenticity, consistency, and value. Here’s your roadmap to building a brand that resonates and thrives.

building a big small business brand

What is a Brand?


A brand is more than a logo; it’s the perception people have of your business. It’s the emotional connection, the values you stand for, and the experiences associated with your products or services. Even if you have a small business, branding should take centre stage for your planning – we like to think of it as building a big small business brand!!

Building a Big Small Business Brand in 7 Steps


1. Research Your Target Market

Understanding your audience is pivotal. Conduct thorough research to grasp their demographics, behaviours, pain points, and aspirations. This insight shapes how your brand resonates with them.

Understanding your market is the foundational step in crafting a thriving brand: Who comprises your potential clientele, and who are your competitors? The bedrock of any robust brand strategy and business plan rests on this pivotal query.

Mapping out your brand’s identity begins with comprehending your audience’s preferences. And to carve out a distinct brand personality that truly stands out, familiarity with the competitive landscape is indispensable. When building a big small business brand, your customer or client base should be at the forefront of your mind.

Before diving into the brand-building process, there exist myriad avenues for conducting comprehensive market research:

  • Search Engine Exploration: Investigate your product/service category online to analyse both direct and indirect competitors visible in search results.
  • Engage with Your Audience: Connect with your target market and inquire about their preferred brands within your industry.
  • Social Media Insights: Scout the social media accounts your audience follows to glean valuable insights.
  • Immersive Shopping Experience: Explore online and retail stores to understand how potential customers navigate and make purchases.
  • Industry Trends: Keep abreast of industry trends by perusing publications, social media, and leveraging tools like Google Trends.
brand creation

Throughout your research, spotlight the major market players. What sets them apart? What can you offer that they don’t? This distinctiveness forms your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

Moreover, delve into the habits prevalent among your target demographic—whether it’s their favoured platforms, linguistic nuances, or interactions with other brands. These observations provide a roadmap for effectively engaging and connecting with your audience, and building a big small business brand.

building a business brand

2. Determine Your Brand’s Voice and Personality

Your brand’s voice and personality set the tone for communication. Define how you want your brand to sound and feel—whether it’s friendly, professional, or innovative—to create consistency in messaging.

Branding isn’t a quest to please everyone. A strong Point of View (POV) resonates with the audience that matters most to you. It signals to this group that your brand is crafted specifically for them. To shape this perspective and cultivate a distinctive brand voice, several exercises can guide you:

Craft a Positioning Statement

A positioning statement, though not always public-facing, sets your brand’s claim in the market. It serves as a compass for your brand story and other guidelines. This statement should succinctly outline what you offer, your target market, and what sets you apart. Your value proposition is your secret sauce, even amid a bustling market.


Example: “We offer handmade polymer clay earrings for teachers, to make people around you smile and brighten your day. Unlike other brands, we make our earrings one by one, all by hand.”

Brainstorm with Word Association

Visualise your brand as a person. What’s their personality? Would your customers gravitate towards this persona? Narrow down your descriptors to three key words that define your brand’s distinctiveness. Streamline your core message, ensuring it aligns closely with these words.

Refine Your Brand Voice and Tone

Your brand’s voice and tone dictate how you connect with customers. Define if your tone is playful or serious, aiming to be a reliable friend, an inspiration, or an expert. Outline a set of guidelines governing your language across various communication channels. How does your tone adapt in different scenarios, such as social media or customer service interactions?

By undertaking these exercises, you’ll be building a big small business brand identity that resonates authentically with your audience while distinctly setting you apart in the marketplace.

3. Choose Your Business Name

Your business name is your first impression. Make it memorable, reflective of your brand’s essence, and easy to pronounce and remember.

Selecting your company’s name marks a significant commitment for any business owner. It’s pivotal to aim for a name that stands out, isn’t in use elsewhere (particularly in your industry), boasts available social media handles, and aligns seamlessly with your brand or products. The ideal name? Easy to recall and tough to replicate.

choosing a business name

Here are several methods for choosing a brand name:

Inventing a Fresh Word:

Google: A play on the mathematical term “googol.”

Xerox: A brand name created to be unique and memorable.

Reframing Unrelated Words:

Apple: A name borrowed from the fruit, evoking simplicity and approachability.

Amazon: Inspired by the world’s largest river, symbolising vastness.

Suggestive Wordplay:

Snapchat: Reflects the app’s ephemeral nature of “snapping” and chatting.

Netflix: Blending “internet” and “flicks,” signifying streaming movies and TV shows.

Literal Description:

The Home Depot: A straightforward name denoting a store for home improvement needs.

Five Guys: Reflects the company’s five founding brothers.

Word Alteration:

Tumblr: Altered spelling of “tumble,” indicating quick, easy blogging.

Activia: A play on “active,” hinting at the yogurt’s health benefits.

Acronym Formation:

IBM: International Business Machines.

NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Portmanteau Creation:

Pinterest: Combining “pin” and “interest” to signify pinning interests.

Verizon: Merging “veritas” (Latin for truth) and “horizon,” symbolising reliability and vision.

Personal Branding:

DKNY: Donna Karan New York.

Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN): Named after its founder, Oprah Winfrey.

These are 5 of our favourite online tools for helping you find the perfect brand name:

  • NameMesh: Generates domain name ideas and checks availability across multiple extensions.
  • Wordoid: Creates unique brandable words and checks domain availability.
  • BrandBucket: Offers a curated marketplace for brandable domain names.
  • Panabee: Helps generate domain name ideas and checks social media availability.
  • Namelix: Uses AI to generate brand name ideas based on your preferences.
  • Shopify Business Name Generator: Creates unique business names and checks domain availability.

4. Write Your Brand Story

Craft a compelling narrative that encapsulates your brand’s journey, values, and mission. Your story humanises your brand, fostering connections and relatability. Remember – just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean your branding has to be small. Your story is an essential part of your brand messaging, and writing a strong brand story is essential to building a big small business brand

Your brand story embodies your business’s autobiography, often intertwining with your journey as a founder. It’s a potent tool in humanising your business, forging genuine connections with customers—an emerging trend in buyer behaviour seeking meaningful brand relationships. To achieve this, your story needs to be compelling, transparent, and authentic.

Consider elements from your personal narrative that will resonate with your audience. What aspects about you can forge a personal connection? How can you weave your brand’s values and mission into this narrative, signalling to customers, “This brand is made for you”?

Once your positioning and brand story are established, leverage this groundwork to craft a memorable slogan. A great slogan is concise, catchy, and leaves a lasting impression, bolstering brand recognition even when detached from your brand.

write your brand story
small business branding tips

Here are diverse approaches to creating your slogan:

Asserting Uniqueness:

Tesla Motors: “Accelerating the World’s Transition to Sustainable Energy.”

Apple: “Think Different.”

Metaphorical Impact:

Nike: “Just Do It.”

Coca-Cola: “Taste the Feeling.”

Embracing Ethos:

Lululemon: “Sweat Once a Day.”

Patagonia: “Build the Best Product, Cause No Unnecessary Harm.”

Direct Audience Connection:

Bounty: “The Quicker Picker Upper.”

Subway: “Eat Fresh.”

Rhythmic Rhyme:

Kit Kat: “Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat.”

McDonald’s: “I’m Lovin’ It.”

Elevating Taste or Aesthetic:

BMW: “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”

Marriott Hotels: “Travel Brilliantly.”

Each of these slogans showcases a distinct approach, resonating with their target audience while encapsulating the brand’s essence and values.

business branding ideas

5. Create a Brand Style Guide

Let’s delve into the exciting part: your style guide—a comprehensive compendium encapsulating all visual decisions for your brand. When building a big small business brand, this guide serves as your compass while crafting your website, designing social media profiles, and curating product packaging.

Choosing Your Colours

Colour choices wield immense influence as they, alongside your copy, dictate how potential customers perceive your brand emotionally. Although colour psychology is debated, certain associations between colours and moods prevail. Moody darker cool colours might complement an edgy or sleep-centric brand, while warm pastels evoke a soothing narrative for baby or wellness brands.

Tips for honing your colour palette:

  • Ensure legibility of white and black text over your chosen colours.
  • Simplify your logo’s colour scheme for versatility—it should remain recognisable even in black and white.
  • Understand your target market, conduct focus groups, and be mindful of cultural or demographic nuances impacting colour perception.
  • Opt for one to two primary colours, accompanied by a rotation of accent colours tailored to specific applications.
branding colours

Selecting Fonts

Fonts play a vital role in reinforcing brand identity across various platforms. Aim for two distinct fonts: one for headings and another for body text (excluding your brand’s wordmark). Reserve ornate fonts for limited use, like your logo, favouring simple, accessible fonts for website content and packaging details.

Aesthetic Elements and Effects

For brands heavily reliant on lifestyle photography, establishing guidelines ensures consistent tonality across diverse visual content creators. These guidelines might encompass mood specifications, photo filters, colours, or visual effects.

Crafting a suite of graphic elements further amplifies your brand’s identity. These elements—be it characters, patterns, or texture effects—add a cohesive visual language to your brand across all properties.

Your style guide forms the cornerstone of visual coherence, offering a roadmap to maintain a consistent and compelling brand presence across multiple platforms and mediums.

6. Design Your Logo and Brand Assets

Though often the first consideration when building a big small business brand, designing a logo should ideally come later in the branding process. This pivotal visual identifier defines your brand in the public eye, and once finalised, altering it becomes a challenging endeavour.

Your logo needs to be distinct, recognisable, and adaptable to various sizes. It should encapsulate the essence of your brand’s journey so far. Does it evoke the intended emotions in your customers? Does it narrate a story that resonates with your brand values? Will it harmonise with your brand’s colour palette?

Contemplate the diverse platforms where your logo will appear:

  • Website
  • Social media avatars
  • Product packaging
  • Video ads
  • YouTube channel banners
  • Browser favicons
  • Email marketing
  • Press features and collaborations
designing a logo

Creating multiple versions of your logo might be necessary to ensure its functionality across these platforms. A detailed text logo, for instance, may lose readability when reduced for a favicon or social avatar. Generating a simplified visual rendition that fits within a square or circle could be beneficial.

Various types of logos cater to different branding needs:

  • Abstract Logos: Ideal as a secondary logo, these combine shapes and colours that aren’t immediately relatable to the real world.
  • Mascot Logos: Character or personality-based, these humanise brands, often suitable for kids’ brands or evoking a retro vibe.
  • Emblem Logos: Circular and luxurious, these merge text with an emblem but should maintain simplicity for scalability.
  • Icon Logos: Visual metaphors representing the brand, conveying product characteristics or associations.
  • Wordmarks or Lettermarks: Type-based logos using the full business name, initials, or a combination of letters.

Understanding these logo types helps align your logo choice with your brand’s aspirations and aesthetic, ensuring it resonates effectively across various platforms.

applying your business branding

7. Building a Big Small Business Brand – Applying the Branding

Implementing your branding consistently throughout your business narrative creates a unified brand identity. Regardless of where customers encounter your brand—be it through a TikTok ad, in a retail outlet, or in their email—the interaction should exude a sense of familiarity and immediate recognition.

While constructing your website, establishing social accounts, and devising your marketing strategies, consistently reference your brand guidelines, mission statement, and values. This ensures that every decision made prioritises the needs and preferences of your target customers.

Some Final Thoughts on Building a Big Small Business Brand


1. Define Your Purpose and Values

A successful brand starts with a clear understanding of why it exists beyond making profits. Define your brand’s purpose and core values; these serve as your guiding principles and connect emotionally with your audience.

2. Consistency is Key

Consistency across all touch-points—be it your website, social media, customer service, or packaging—is vital. From visual elements to tone of voice, maintain coherence to build recognition and trust.

3. Deliver Exceptional Customer Experience

Great brands prioritise customer satisfaction. Provide a seamless, delightful experience at every interaction point. Outstanding service fosters loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

4. Embrace Innovation and Adaptability

Successful brands evolve. Embrace innovation, stay updated with market trends, and adapt to changing consumer needs without losing sight of your brand’s essence.

5. Build Brand Advocacy

Create a community around your brand. Engage with your audience authentically, encourage user-generated content, and foster brand advocates who passionately spread the word.

6. Monitor, Analyse, and Refine

Regularly assess your brand’s performance. Use analytics, feedback, and market insights to refine strategies and stay relevant.

7. Be Authentic and Transparent

Authenticity builds trust. Be genuine, transparent, and honest in your brand communication and actions. Authenticity resonates deeply with today’s consumers.

building a business brand tips

A successful brand is a culmination of purpose, consistency, customer-centricity, and adaptability. It’s an ongoing journey that requires dedication, creativity, and a genuine passion for delivering value.

Remember, building a successful brand takes time. Stay committed, stay true to your values, and watch your brand grow into something exceptional.

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