Updated: Jun 22
The moment you decide to turn your ideas into a small business is exhilirating. The journey towards brand identity should be just as fun!
As content and brand strategy experts, we love the brand creation process. Over time, we've found the same 5 questions come up on a regular basis. Some are specific (what color should I pick?), and others are broader (what is a brand identity?).
This article is a resource for new small business owners who care about starting their journey the right way. Perk Copywriting loves to help write a new brand's first chapter — so here's some free advice before you work with us!
Quick links to specific questions in this article:
There's a special bonus for new business owners committed to success at the end of this article. Read to the end for a special extra tip to get ahead of your competition!
Let's get started with a common first challenge for new business owners: how to turn their ideas into a cohesive brand identity.
How do I turn a new business idea into a brand identity?
First things first — what is brand identity? It's every aspect of a brand that helps distinguish that brand in consumers' minds. This includes visible branding elements like logo, color and design scheme. It also includes content choices and your brand's tone of voice.
It feels hard to take your amazing business idea and put it on paper, but I promise it's not. It just takes a little time! Establishing brand identity seems like a huge task, but you can break it down into much smaller, more manageable parts.
Here's a simple brand identity checklist you can use to help get the ball rolling.
What is the name of my business? Why did I choose this name?
What does my brand aim to do? What does it offer?
What colors, fonts and images do I want to associate with my new brand?
What kind of language does my brand use? (Is it formal? Friendly? Serious? Funny?)
How do I want customers to feel when they interact with my brand?
An experienced brand strategy team can help you begin to answer these questions. As a small business owner, you can also rely on members of your community you hope will become customers. Ask them what they hope your brand will provide, and how they'd like to be engaged.
When it comes to customer engagement, using the right colors is more important than you think.
Picking the right brand colors can't be that important — can it?
"The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas." -- Edvard Munch
Ever wonder why so many fast food chains pick red and yellow as their brand colors? The answer is very simple. Psychological data shows that red triggers appetite, and yellow induces happiness. Appetite + happiness = customers stopping to eat.
You might think that equation is simple and silly. The sales figures of McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's disagree.
Color Psychology has a tremendous article about marketing and branding you should read. It breaks down major colors and their psychological effects on humans — from happiness to urgency, serenity to sturdiness.
We picked green as our core brand color for Perk Copywriting. Green symbolizes so much of our brand's mission statement and values. We value the serenity of providing you smart content solutions. We provide a relaxed atmosphere, with the opportunity for new growth and financial stability.
Color is a great way to give core attributes to your business. Finding your brand's tone of voice gives it personality and life.
How do I create a successful brand voice?
Believe it or not, being a small business owner is a major advantage when it comes to finding your brand's tone of voice. Many times, your brand's voice is your voice.
Ask yourself 4 easy questions to find your brand's tone of voice:
What is your brand's personality?
Who is your target consumer, and how do they talk?
What is the primary emotion you want to evoke?
Do you sound like your brand?
(We know you probably want answers to these questions, and you can find them here.)
Don't worry about who you want to be. Focus on who you are. A small business needs to sound authentic — both to itself and to the customers it serves.
Think about who your core customer is. What do they want to be told? How do they speak? These are the answers that will develop your brand's tone of voice.
Once your brand's voice is established, it's time to craft your brand story.
What is a brand story, and how do I tell mine?
“Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution -- more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.” -- Lisa Cron
A brand story can be the most enjoyable part of creating a brand identity. It's a content piece that helps define who you are, what you do, and why people should trust you.
Your successful brand story will answer 3 key questions:
What motivated you to start your business?
How does your business inspire your passion?
Why should customers trust your brand and care about it?
The best brand stories aren't about facts and figures. They're about emotion. Your brand story should trigger a positive emotional response from its readers and drive them to invest in your business.
Warby Parker crafted a brand story we think you should read. It's simple, personal, and shows how the brand was created to solve a universal problem. Their owners sound like every person who wears glasses. Their words are easy to understand, and their products become a perfect solution for customers. Give it a read for inspiration!
What's the most important branding step most small business owners miss?
I put this question last because the answer is for business owners who care enough about their future to read to the bottom.
Every new business owner should develop a formal business plan. No exceptions.
If you don't think a business plan is a marketing tool, you aren't seeing the whole picture. Yes, its initial purpose is to outline the core mission of a business — its industry, values, mission statement, financial projections and SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Obstacles & Threats). Some businesses utilize a business plan to attract investors and capital.
But look at things with a longer lens. If you develop a business plan that outlines your brand voice, brand identity, overall vision and brand strategy, you don't just have a short-term plan. You now have an internal reference guide to share with every new hire, employee or affiliate.
You own a clear road map for success that will help guide every important decision you make.
When it comes to small business brand ideas, they all start with a thoughtful business plan. Don't be one of the new business owners who skips writing one. (And if you need a hand, hire someone who's written incredibly successful ones in the past.)
Don't be afraid to ask for help! We want you to succeed!
Every economy is better when small businesses are thriving. The world needs a constant infusion of new ideas, new products and services, and new business owners with the guts to make it happen.
If you've read this far, chances are we're talking about you. It's okay to ask for help with your brand strategy. We think the world will be better when you succeed.
After all, creating your brand and its content is the reason we exist! So let us know how we can help you. There's nothing to lose — we'll consult with you for free. You'll leave our conversation with a great road map to success we can walk together.
A successful small business starts with a strong brand identity. Let's write that chapter.