Many small business owners think that branding is only important for large multinational firms. The truth is branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for larger companies. No company can afford to leave its branding strategy to chance; if you fail to properly brand your business, you could be losing customers without even knowing it.

If you have successfully built a small business, you probably already understand parts of the branding equation. You may know how important the reputation of your business is, and how important it is to avoid negative publicity.

You may realize how important it is to incorporate your brand in everything you do, from the signature line on your email to the logo on your Facebook page. The problem comes when it is time to bring it all together and build a cohesive branding strategy. Some business owners tum to expensive branding experts to complete that final step, but the truth is most entrepreneurs should be able to build a solid branding program on their own.

What is Branding?

Before you can build a successful branding strategy, you need to have a solid understanding of what branding is and how it can benefit your small business. Simply put, branding is a technique for defining your business, both to yourself and your employees and to the public at large.

You can think of branding as the identity of the business, or as a picture of the business and its values. When you think of a household name like Coca Cola or McDonald’s, you instantly get a clear picture of what the company is all about. It is that clear picture you should strive for when building your own brand. You may not have the resources of a large multinational corporation, but you can use what you do have to build a solid brand and differentiate your business from the competition.

Begin by Defining Your Brand

If you do not understand your brand, you cannot expect the public to do so. No matter what the nature of your company, you should start by defining your brand and thinking about what it means to you.

Sit down and review the products and services your business offers. Think about which market niche you occupy and who your customers are. The brand you develop should promote your business, effectively communicate with your customer base and help differentiate your company in the marketplace.

Identify the Drivers of Your Business

Identifying the drivers of your business is a key part of the branding strategy. Think about how your business has gown so far, and what you can do to grow it further. Did your company experience a growth spurt after the introduction of every new product? What can you do to keep that growth curve moving in the same direction? Taking an honest look at your business and its history can help you develop a more effective branding strategy.

It is important to look at how the various products and services your business offers fit together, and how they can be used to cement your brand in the eyes of your customers. Having a portfolio of interrelated and complementary products and services helps to identify your brand, but it also makes upselling and cross-selling a lot easier.

Your logo is perhaps your most valuable piece of intellectual property. The logo you design provides instant identification for your small business and makes it easier for customers to relate to your company. Just think about famous logos like the McDonald’s golden arches and you will understand how important these visual symbols really are.

That is why you should incorporate your own logo into every part of your branding strategy. Your logo should be prominently displayed on your Facebook page and other social media sites. It should be an integral part of your webpage, and it should be proudly displayed on the business cards you hand out at networking events and business meeting. Your logo has an Integral part to play in building your brand, & you should make the most of it.

The right branding can make a huge difference in your business and building your brand is one of your most important jobs as a business owner. If you have not yet started building a branding strategy for your small business, now is the perfect time to get started.