Branding for small businesses – why you need it, and how to do it

When you think of a brand, all the global giants come to mind; Coca Cola, Nike, Virgin, Starbucks, Apple – all completely recognisable by their image, style, and tone. Their logos, colour schemes, and taglines are indelibly etched in our memories. Obviously large international companies dedicate significant resources to maintaining and building their brands in this way, but what about the millions of small businesses out there? Do they even need to bother with branding?

Well, yes is the short answer. Around 59% of consumers say they like to buy from a recognisable name, big or small. And in fact, 75% consider the origin of the brand when making a purchase – in many cases preferring to buy local brands rather than global ones. Your brand is how your customers perceive you and connect to you – it’s your reputation. Familiarity and trust are hugely important factors in purchasing decisions, whatever the size of the company and the best way to build this customer loyalty is by creating and maintaining a consistent brand image and story.

But how do you go about building a brand for your business? How do you get to the bottom of who you really are?  This is the immersive branding process we go through for clients at Jones & Bone.

Research and interview stage
The key to successful brand creation is putting in the legwork at the beginning of the process. We conduct extensive client interviews and desk research to get to the bottom of what your business is, what are its core values, its products and services, its target customers and, of course, its competition. This is an immersive process for us – we enter fully into your world so that we can completely understand it. As we do this we collate inspiration – colour palettes, visual mood boards, words, phrases, images, ideas – anything that will help us start to create a brand identity.

Creative development
We always design three different creative routes to give the client the widest possible choice plus a bit of inspiration – one bang on client brief, one that we personally love, and one that pushes the design boundaries. We mock up the designs and bring the logos to life on relevant products and artwork so that the client can get a real sense of how the designs will work in practice.

Creative workshop
The first review of work in progress is a creative workshop where we work with the client to go through the different design routes. Some clients have clear preferences and others prefer to be more interactive, taking various design features and mixing them together. It’s a truly collaborative process where the client is fully involved.

Brand evolution
Once the client is happy with a design approach, we develop it further, adding character and personality by determining a brand tone of voice and writing style and providing branded art direction for online and printed visual content.

Brand style guide
Finally, to conclude the process we produce a brand style guide which will ensure consistency of all future output for the client. This specifies the brand mission statement, values, tone of voice, colour palettes, typeface, logo and all design elements that need to be included across content and platforms.

We love the branding process – it allows us to work closely and collaboratively with clients and it’s a hugely absorbing element of our work. If you fancy a chat about branding or rebranding your small business, pop in and see us for a coffee soon.

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