A credible brand is one of the most important elements in a successful business. When your brand is done well, your customers will see your company as their best option to solve their business challenge. This gives your business a real competitive advantage.  Your brand is the name, design, or distinctive symbol you create for your product or service that makes you unique in the marketplace. Strong brands convey your reputation, quality, uniqueness, and credibility so it is important to built it carefully. In order to build a trusted brand your identify your niche target customer first. It takes time to communicate the character of your business, but it is time and money well spent because once you have customer loyalty you are far more like to have regular cash flow.

Effective marketing cannot happen without a strong brand. Why? Because 40% of people better remember what they see than what they hear or read. So having graphics associated with your business will make you more memorable in the mind of the customer. A well-designed logo and effective brand gives you a major edge in competitive marketplace.

When it comes to developing your brand identity, there are two schools of thought. You can hire a firm to help you name and brand yourself, or you can pull together your kitchen cabinet of advisors and close friends willing to work for food and have a good old brainstorming session.
The benefits of utilizing a branding strategy are real and can help you do several things:

  1. Look more established.  It is very hard to fake it until you make it with an unpolished corporate image.  Avoid clip art or homemade business cards.
  2. Attract clients.  Not using a professional logo on your marketing materials can keep you from getting a meeting with a perspective client.  Corporations, in particular, are filled with gatekeepers whose job it is to screen small businesses.  No one will risk their reputation on a small business that is not presented well.
  3. Convey trustworthiness.  A colorful, distinctive logo, professional collateral materials and up to date website shows that you are a serious about your business and committed to your clients.
  4. Explain an unusual line of business.  In a highly technical or off-beat industry, a professional logo can clarify visually exactly what you do.
  5. Explain your company name. If your company name contains a fictitious word, jargon or an acronym, the logo can help explain its meaning. With compelling graphics, potential clients are more likely to remember you.

Consider this when creating your brand:
Your brand is a symbol of your promise to the customer. If you go to McDonald’s, there is a certain level of service, food quality and environment that is expected. When you see the golden arches, it symbolizes your expectations.

Get professional help with your logo.  Hire a professional graphic designer to develop your logo. Do not use clip art, free art on the web or a stylized FONT as your logo. This is not only unprofessional, but it immediately screams newbie small business owner.

Your brand is the starting point for how people perceive your small business. Make the investment in your brand logo, if you have a strong brand and are memorable and then your customer service lives up to that impression, you will have customers for life.

For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.

Improving business visibility was a common theme during our Local Leaders Forum. If you’d like to assess how findable your business is, please visit www.howfindableareyou.com – or let us know, and we’ll connect you with one of our expert digital marketing consultants!

Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business experts. As CEO of MFE Consulting LLC, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. She writes a weekly column fir the New York Times. Forbes Magazine named her one of the #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog  www.succeedasyourownboss.com Melinda is also the author of the national bestseller Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works. (Adams Media 2010)