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What You Need to Know About Branding A Small Business

 As you consider ways to grow your business, consider looking into branding services if you have not done so already. Many owners and operators of companies often mistake branding as solely the development of a logo or special typeface. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. Strong branding is essential to an effective marketing strategy and involves much more than graphic design. Branding services can accomplish the following:

  • Defines your brand's personality by looking at how your company is perceived and what makes you unique.

  • Develops strong messaging to attract clients by understanding what your company does and the type of clients you want to work with.

  • Delivers engaging design elements, such as typography and a logo, that are engaging and symbolize your agency.

As the CEO and Co-founder of Four Kitchens, a web design and development company for over 17 years, I engaged a branding agency a couple of years ago. I decided to do so after Four Kitchens acquired a company and merged with another one. Close to 75 percent of our team was new, and we were looking to attract more clients from a specific industry. Hiring a branding agency to capture the new essence of our company and help us communicate it to the public felt like the next step.

Admittedly, I saw the actual value of a branding agency when we engaged one and were in the process of working with them. With that said, the value has been immense. Below are some insights on rebranding and how your company can create a stronger brand for your agency that will help you land your ideal clients and grow your firm.

The Overall Benefits of BrandingWhat you need to know about branding

Aside from the few benefits I mentioned above, a more detailed account of how branding (or rebranding) your business can help you build up your agency is listed below.

  1. Helps you define your ideal client. To develop compelling messaging, a branding component, you must know who you aim to serve. While going through the rebranding process, my team and I had to consider who our ideal client was. This exercise helped us pinpoint our target audience and allowed us to develop effective marketing strategies to attract them to our agency.

  2. Improves external communications. Once we had our ideal client in mind, the branding agency we hired honed in on how to express our value and services to the public. This process helped us narrow in on a few key terms and stories that we now leverage in external communications to much success.

    Encourages consistency. The branding agency developed design features (e.g., color scheme, logo), which we now use across all our written products (e.g., PDFs, Word documents, emails, etc.). This type of consistency creates a unified tone, look, and feel, signaling to current and potential clients that we are a professional and sophisticated agency. Ultimately, the branding consistency across communications gives clients the confidence to spend large amounts of money on our work.

  3. Makes you a stronger competitor. The brand work accomplished through rebranding helped ensure that every aspect of our marketing reflected our business. By solidifying our brand and remaining consistent in our messaging and design, we are now in a stronger position to compete with agencies with similar services in the same market.

  4. Positively impacts your team. Your team will most likely have a deeper understanding of your business's origin story and how to speak to potential and current clients about your agency's identity and services. At Four Kitchens, we developed branding resources, such as easy-to-understand messaging phrases and design templates, that our employees could leverage as needed. I recommend doing the same at your agency to ensure consistency.

What I've Learned from the Rebranding Process

There are many benefits to successfully branding yourself as a business, ranging from attracting your target customer to solidifying your company's position within your respective industry. My main takeaway and last piece of advice for other small creative agencies is to avoid doing activities that do not directly relate to your business’s operations. For example, Four Kitchens is not a branding agency and, therefore, did not have the expertise to successfully rebrand our company, so we found an agency that did. Also, when you take these activities on, chances are you'll have to pull your team's attention away from work directly related to the services you provide, which is far from ideal.

Consider investing in your future and growing your business by prioritizing branding (or rebranding) your agency and ensure that the agency can dedicate its staff to your branding journey. If you do, you'll be closer to achieving your growth goals. For more insight about branding, check out this episode from the Virtual CPA Success Show for Creative Agencies where I chat with the hosts, Jamie Nau and Jody Grunden, about my rebranding journey.