By Lucy Bradley
The first logical question to answer is, what actually is a brand? To put it simply, a brand is a perception that others have of your company that is based on your values, and the way that you communicate these to your audience. When done well, branding enables you to change the way your customers see you and helps you to establish a unique presence within the market. But this post isn’t about what branding is, and the benefits it can bring, it is about how branding fits into your world as an SME owner.
You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that branding is just for big businesses. If you were to conduct a simple Google search for ‘great brands’ or ‘best branding examples’ you’d be presented with million dollar companies who have their own marketing and branding teams to work on perfecting their brand. There is a sheer lack of information and guidance out there on branding for small businesses. In other words, the information is all well and good, but as a small business owner, you can’t relate to it. Because of this, branding lacks importance in many SME owners’ eyes or, it is certainly at the bottom of the list in terms of priority. But we want you to think about branding a little differently…
If we asked you if the reputation of your business was important, you’d say yes. Whether you’re a two-person business, or two thousand person business, having a good reputation is essential in securing new business, and holding on to your current customers. Well, the word reputation is interchangeable with branding; both refer to the long-lasting impression you make on your customers and the impact that this has on your sales.
To put this into context, when you’re thinking about the brand you want to create, think about the impression you want to create and the type of reputation you want to hold as a company. If you’re not where you want to be right now, think about the steps you can put in place to better create that impression. Even as a small business, you have values, USPs and things that are important to you, and without having these things how would you be any different to your competitors? Your brand, and the way your customers perceive you is what sets you apart from your competition.
Without knowing it, you already have a brand in place. It’s up to you what you do with it. It’s down to you to decide what message you want to put out to your customers, how you want to be perceived and how you want to share your value proposition with your target audience. By creating consistency in the basics of your brand, from your tone of voice, values, assets and colour palette you use, you have the perfect foundations in place to build a strong brand going forward. See how else you can create and maintain your brand guidelines here.
We’ve given you the information and all the stats you need to know around the importance of branding, but how does this actually relate to a small business? More importantly, does it increase sales and bring you in more revenue? To show you, we’ve put together a case study on ourselves to show you just what you can achieve from a bit of consistent branding.
If we look at Frogspark’s brand, we can see that it has changed a fair bit over the past few years, take a look at how our logo has changed for example:
This is where it all began for us, at the time the founders Rob and Liam were young and new to the world of business and wanted to portray a ‘fun’ image across. We wanted to look different compared to other more serious agencies in the industry and thought this was the best way to go. Whilst this worked for a while, as we started to work with more and more corporate clients, we soon realised that our current image didn’t really work, and we needed something to better reflect where we’d become after a year or so in business.
Version two of the Frogspark brand gave us a much more ‘grown up’ and polished image that showed our progression since starting the business. It was at this time we started using the funky gradient colours that helped show we were innovative, and moving our brand with the times. We’d like to say this was a good move for us, helping us to strike a much better balance between being fun and showing our personality, with that all-important element of professionalism. From a sales and revenue point of view, this change helped us bring up much bigger and better clients and gave us a better name and reputation in the industry. We were no longer a bunch of kids playing around with code and a few design tools.
Version three is the new and improved branding for 2019 (it’s definitely our favourite yet). We’ve introduced some new services this year (have you seen in the menu) hence why we’ve dropped ‘design & development’ from the logo in order to accommodate this. Our aim with this is to give off an even more polished look and feel. The main thoughts behind this are that the founders have grown up, so has the business, the service has become more mature, and the brand needs to evolve with it.
We’re evolving, growing up and would like to say we’ve become much more professional. As part of this, we’ve introduced new values, and as these have become more apparent in what we do and represent how we have progressed through the business journey.
The main things we hoped we achieved from this transition were to attract larger clients and appear more professional in what we do. We still wanted to keep our personality integral to the brand, but now, we want the emphasis to be on the quality of our work, and the service we offer.
By the start of June, we’ve already outperformed our turnover from 2018 – absolutely smashing the targets that we set for ourselves. We’ve gotten more clients on, of all different sizes and across an even larger range of sectors. Of course, this isn’t just down to a change in our branding but the people behind Frogspark. But if you have the right branding, the right attitude and the best people you’re in a strong position to do well.
So yes, branding does have a big impact on all businesses, regardless of size. From a better reputation amongst clients and competitors alike, to the ability to grow and mature your business with better sales. Branding is important, but it can be scary to tackle alone. And that’s why we are here to help, get in touch if you want some advice and guidance on building your brand.