Branding for small business: a BIG and valuable experience

Through my experience with the development of my own brand – The Fashionista Bureau and personal branding, it made me understand even more the needs and challenges of entrepreneurs and how to think BIG for small business, recognising branding opportunities.

Small businesses have some advantages in comparison with big companies because the last commonly have restrictions and specific guidelines while smaller businesses are usually more open to explore new opportunities and faster to implement ideas.  Then, the process to work as freelancer for small business is fascinating, because it is possible to work with the client from the inception of concept, to create every step of customer journey, visual identity and engaging content on social media.

With this thought in mind, I decided to build a mini-guide of branding for Small Business with an example to illustrate it in the end of post.


Branding Mini-Guide

1 – Personas development

It is essential to speak with your clients as a group of people who wants more than a product or service but also share the same principles and lifestyle. Then, the development of a persona brings life to a potential buyer who you want to reach.

Give this persona a name, profession, hobby and illustrate it to keep in mind how to communicate with your target. Make sure that you understand your consumer habits and needs, it is the first step to build a brand.


2 – Tone of Voice

Thinking your brand as a person, how would it be its personality? Elegant, geek, funny? The tone of voice of your brand should be referred to the brand personality and your audience. The language of communication can be formal, casual or funny depending on the business and it needs to be consistent across all the brand channels.


3 – Design matters

The first impression of you brand matters… the visual identity needs to be build by a professional with design expertise to create the right impression. More than to create a naming and brand guideline containing information of design (colour palette, fonts and tone of voice) to be used across all media channels, the right professional will guide you to “go beyond your logo”, creating the personification of your company and developing branding strategies.


4 – Don’t think like a small business

A common mistake of small businesses is “to think like a small one”. Being that it restricts creativity and possibilities to create brand causes and how to communicate it for strategic communities. A good branding exercise is to think how a small business could operate in a global marketplace.

A good example of small business with big ideas…

2 Self-titled-Notel-Melbourne-Brand-Identity-Exterior-2
Photography by Andrew Curtis

The novelty of an unconventional hotel with six reconditioned trailers was highlighted with bold branding direction. As Self Titled agency explains on website: “The name and logo explicitly express the idea that this is ‘not a hotel’, with a subtle nod to the slashed ‘no symbol’. Celebrating the best of Melbourne, reframing both high and low culture, Self-titled created the brand positioning — ‘reflecting and reframing Melbourne’. This helped inform the reflective surfaces, cut-out logo and tone of voice”.

1 Self-titled-Notel-Melbourne-Brand-Identity-website-homepage
Image: Self-titled
2.2 Capa Self-titled-Notel-Melbourne-Brand-Identity-Exterior - Copy
Photography by Andrew Curtis

Beyond the visual identity, this branding project was done with art and interior design associations.

4 Self-titled-Notel-Melbourne-Brand-Identity-Rock-Posters
Photography by Andrew Curtis
3 Self-titled-Notel-Melbourne-Brand-Identity-Website-Animation-2
Image: Self-titled

This creative project resulted in spontaneous press coverage, social media interaction, besides of advanced bookings and reservations.

That’s all for today, I will share more thoughts about branding on my next post. Did you also enjoy the branding project and my tips?

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