New Year, New Brand: Some Simple Ways You Can Revitalise Your SME Branding for 2021



We all know the power of branding and graphics, whether it’s just two golden arches on a red background or a three-word catchphrase on a sporting picture – audiences know who they are for. And that’s because these companies have carefully cultivated their brand identity to be instantly recognisable, and they efficiently generate the emotional connections that the business wants. Well, your small business can do this too:

Read on to see how with a few simple changes and actions now instead of later, you can build an effective brand strategy for your business…

What is a brand identity?

You’ve probably heard all this before, but you need to know what your brand identity is before you can revitalise it. To begin with, it is not the following:

  • Your logo
  • Your style guide
  • Your website
  • Your marketing materials
  • Your packaging and labelling
  • Your ethos and values

The truth is, it’s all of these things. Your brand identity is everything you use to sell, market and advertise your business combined. And how it all speaks and connects with your customers and audience.

Look at McDonald’s  as an example‌  – It’s the bright two-tone colour palette, the catchy ‘I’m Lovin It’ slogan, the classic golden arches, the upbeat tone and even the happy meal concept. They all combine to create a fun, quick and youthful identity. You don’t go there looking for a slap-up meal, you go there for something simple (like the colours), something short and quick to consume (like the tagline) and something that will make you happy (like the Happy Meal and tone suggests).

Learn all about your audience

Building up your brand and brand identity starts as most things do – with research. How can you expand your brand if you don’t look at your audience, their habits, their likes and dislikes? Your employees are incredibly well-suited to this They interact with your customers every day and have valuable insight into their likes and dislikes. They can also help you work out what has worked in the past. The key is to understand your customers and then use that to inform your identity.

Researching your competitors is the next step. Have a look and see what kinds of activities they are doing, what stances and themes they are following and use that to see what is missing – it could be that this is where you can stand out from the crowd.

Once you have your research, look at your brand and see what can be improved or changed in line with what you’ve found out. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I want to be known for?
  • Do the brand values align with our customer’s values?
  • What can I champion that other brands don’t?

How to build a brand – assets and stories

Phase two of your brand revitalisation is all about your assets and your brand story. You could invest in a branding agency to help create all these assets for a professional and consistent vision, but the choice is up to you.

The basic things you’ll need to create or freshen up are:

  • Your logo and icons
  • Your colour palettes and style guide
  • Your typography and photography
  • Your tone of voice
Remember: Keep it clear, consistent and commit to it.

Once these are all aligned with the research you’ve done and the new changes you want to make, you’ll need to update your materials for launch. This includes the website, business cards, all your instore materials and packaging too.

Your brand story has a huge impact on purchasing decisions as well. It’s not all how you started or where you are, it’s more about your values and reasoning and how you relate to your customer base. So, make sure your brand values and brand story explain your preferences and beliefs too.

“…research shows that 83% of Millennials find it important for the companies they buy from to align with their values.”

Tips to help you stand out

As we’ve mentioned, a branding agency will be well-placed to help get this all organised for you, even the initial research. And they may be more affordable than you think. However, if you would like to take a more hands-on approach, here are some tips:

  • When creating a logo, remember to KISS – Keep Is Simple, Stupid. The best logos are simple and clear – McDonald’s golden arches, Nike’s swish, Apple’s apple. These are all well-thought-out and to the point, which is what yours should be. One easy thing to remember when making yours is ‘How would this look  on a stamp‌  ?’. Stamps have to be simple and crisp to be legible – too much going on and everything looks a mess, don’t you agree?
  • Remember that your brand adds value and is your strongest asset. It’s critical, so keep investing in it and let it evolve with your audience.
  • Stick to a budget. Not just for graphics and advertising, for competitions, social media, marketing and content too.
  • You don’t have to do everything yourself, you’re not an expert in everything after all. So, don’t be afraid to deputise professional copywriters, social media experts and web designers to help you get the desired result – they’re often a lot more affordable than you think.
  • If you’re online, keep an eye on the things that people are searching for.  Google Trends‌  and other online ‘listening’ tools can help show you what people are searching for and inform your content and social media plans.
  • Stay up-to-date. Keep your social media and websites active.
  • Interact with your consumers – the more you do, the more you’ll build up your reputation and trust.
  • Stand up for what you believe in and your brand reputation will grow more.
Branding has power, whether it’s your graphics, logo or packaging and labelling. So, having a strong brand identity when you’re a small business is pretty essential. Refresh yours and keep it up to date to see how customers can better understand you, how your business will benefit and how your brand will rise.



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