The strongest brand identities are ones that people can recognise instantly and know what that brand is all about. Large companies like Apple, Nike, Pepsi, McDonald’s etc., spend a ton of money every year to work on their brand identity because they know how they affect sales and profit. But smaller brands also need a brand identity to help customers recognise them. 

This guide will show you how to create a brand identity for your small business by looking at what brand identity means, and how to create a brand identity for a small business.

What brand identity means

Brand identity refers to the elements a business creates to portray the correct image to its audience. Your customers will associate your brand identity with your product or service. That identity then forges a connection between you and your audience that builds customer loyalty and determines how people see you.

Your brand identity is different from your overall brand and your branding, even though people sometimes use these terms interchangeably. Branding refers to how you market yourself to create a distinctive brand. Your brand refers to how the world perceives your company.

How to create a brand identity for a small business

Creating a brand identity for your small business takes hard work, deep thinking, and lots of research. But when you get it done, you’ll see that the results are worth the effort. You can follow the steps below to develop your brand identity: ​​

Figure out who you are

If you already have a good idea of who you are and why you do what you do, that’s great, but if you don’t, you need to start with some soul-searching.

Think about yourself and your business and ask yourself questions like:

  • What three words would I use to describe my business?
  • What do I want to be known for in my industry?
  • What are my values and beliefs?
  • How do I want to make a difference in the market? 

Be as clear and precise as possible when answering these questions. The more thorough you are in this step, the easier it’ll be for you to create a brand identity that will stand out and grab customers’ attention.

Determine your unique selling point

All businesses have competition from other brands doing something similar, so it’s crucial to figure out what makes you unique. 

Your unique selling point (or USP) is what separates you from similar brands and encourages people to buy from you or work with you. Customers choose who they associate themselves with based on their USPs, so you need to embed yours in every element that makes up your brand identity. 

Knowing the difference between you and your competition is key to developing a successful brand. In addition, staying informed about how your competitors present their identities will teach you what techniques work well and which are less effective. 

Define your target customers

While this one might seem obvious, it’s easy to get confused when developing your brand identity if you don’t have a clear picture of who you want to target. 

Take time to clearly define your target audience, including who they are, what they like and expect, where they spend time online, and how they communicate. Doing this will help you create brand identity elements that will capture their attention and draw them to you. 

Skipping this step means you risk putting lots of effort into creating a brand identity that only resonates with you and no one else. While your brand identity should represent you, it also needs to speak to your target customers. Otherwise, you can’t create a successful brand. 

Once you know everything you need about your target customers, you can use this information to guide your strategy. As a result, you’ll develop a brand that truly connects with the customers you want to work with most.

Choose your design

Now it’s time for the fun part, which is to start actually designing your brand. This step is crucial to your brand identity as it’s these elements that will communicate it to your target customers. 

Here are the key elements you need to create:

A brand style guide

First, you need to figure out the details of your brand design, including your colour palette, fonts, and design do’s and don’ts. Creating a style guide will help you stay consistent even as your company grows. 

A logo

In a way, your business logo is the face of your company, meaning it’s the first thing people see when they come across your brand. So, you’ll want to design your logo first and align the other visual elements with it. 

A website 

Every business needs a professional website to demonstrate who they are and what they do. When setting up your website, make sure it looks and feels like the rest of your design elements. 

No matter where someone encounters your brand, you need to ensure the design is consistent. If you’re inconsistent with your branding, customers might get confused, and you could lose them to your competitors with a consistent and clear brand identity. Creating a brand strategy is the best way to remain consistent and focused. Learn more in our brand strategy guide.

Get your business off to the best start with a simple app

Creating a strong brand identity will likely lead to more loyal customers returning to your business. As you get more jobs and make more sales, you’ll need a reliable system to manage your financial admin.

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 
Find out more here.