My 10 Commandments of Small Business Branding

This post will take Estimated reading time: 4 minutes to read Branding

We all know that a strong brand is a key factor in business success.

Good branding is even more important in small business marketing. Small (or non-existant) marketing budgets mean a brand must work harder to grab a position in the mind of customers – unfortunately, many small business owners lose focus on the brand with so many roles to juggle.

On any given day they can be the bookkeeper, production manager and a sales representative – lots to do with limited time. To help small businesses keep their focus, I’ve put together my 10 commandments of small business branding. Print them off and read them every so often to keep your branding on track.

1. Thou shalt be unique

A brands purpose is to position your business and differentiate you from your competition. You do this by being unique. Don’t follow everyone else – don’t run the same promotions, don’t sell exactly the same products – be different, be one of a kind.

2. Thou shalt make a promise

Strong brands make a promise and deliver on it every time. What promise do you make? Make sure your promise provides a solution to your customers problems and live up to it.

3. Thou shalt tell a brand story

So what’s your story? Why did you decide to open this business? Customers love to know your story and it helps them to connect with you. If you’ve come from a long line of bakers and just opened a bakery – tell people about it. It gives your brand personality and credibility – and best of all it attracts customers to your business.

4. Thou shalt humanise the brand

I’m always amazed when small business owners want to remain in the background and don’t want their image as part of the marketing of their small business. I’ve got news for you – people want to see the person behind the brand – particularly in small business marketing. Have a professional photo taken of you and use it on your website and marketing materials. Customers are more likely to connect if they can see who they are dealing with.

5. Thou shalt have a logo that symbolises the brand

Firstly, brands and logo’s are two separate things. You brand is a collection of perceptions people have about your brand and the logo is the symbol that represents your brand. You must make sure that your logo says what you want it to say about your brand. In most cases it is the first impression customers have of your business so you must get it right. Spend some money and get an experienced logo designer to create it. Don’t go cheap and nasty as it will just make your business look cheap.

6. Thou shalt be consistent at all times

Do yourself a favour and write “Consistent impressions create successful brands” on a big piece of paper and stick it up in your office. The brand must look and act the same every time a customer comes into contact with it. This includes using the same logo and designs across all marketing materials for your business.

7. Thou shalt protect the brand

I’m constantly amazed at how many small business owners don’t protect their brand. By protecting I mean registering the business name and logo as a trademark. Your brand is your most important asset and your trademark is your insurance. Would you build a house with insuring it? I didn’t think so. Registering your trademark prevents others from using your brand and ensures it remains an asset of yours as the business grows.

8. Thou shalt monitor the brand

In this new marketing world of social media and “instant” communication, it’s more important than ever to monitor what people are saying about your brand. Years ago, you had to pay for expensive media monitoring, now we have free tools such as Google Alerts that allow you to monitor what is said about your brand for free. If you don’t already have Google Alerts set up for your business – do it here now.

9. Thou shalt keep the brand focussed

It is proven that brands maintain their strength when they are focussed. A common error made by small business is trying to extend the brand too far. Know your brand, know what it represents and focus on it. Don’t try and be too clever.

10. Thou shalt always be a brand manager

Building a brand requires long-term commitment from every employee regardless if you are a sole trader or a larger small business. The fact is everyone is responsible for the brand. Make sure that everyone who works in your business knows this and works with you to grow it.

So there you go – my 10 commandments of small business branding. Let me know what you think. Did I miss anything?

About the author

Chris Dale Chris Dale is the founder and Managing Director of MarketingHQ. He is a Certified Practising Marketer with over 15 years senior marketing experience. He helps small and medium sized businesses create great marketing strategies and systems that grow their businesses. You can connect with him on or on LinkedIn.

You may also like