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The Ultimate Small Business Branding Checklist

You don’t have to have a big budget for your brand to make a big impact. Here is a checklist to make sure you’re developing a visual brand that will reflect your business effectively:

LOGO

  • Do you have a logo?

If you don’t have a logo, go online and perform an image search for logos in your industry, and become familiar with the common graphics your competition is using in their branding efforts. Which logos stand out? Which ones are bland? By researching your competitors’ logos, you can ensure yours doesn’t get lost in the crowd.

PRO TIP:  These days it’s easy and inexpensive to have a logo customized for your business. There are plenty of sites, such as Design Crowd, where you can commission a professionally designed logo. All you have to do is post a brief summary of what you’re looking for (color, font, etc). Lots of artists will submit their designs and you simply choose the logo that best fits your company’s brand. Voila! You have a beautiful new logo on the cheap.

  • Does your logo reflect you and your business?

Your logo design is a visual representation of everything your company emanates. Has it become outdated? A good logo should communicate something about the nature of your business, product, or service. So if this vital component is out of step with your message and customers, it’s time to bring it up-to-date. Take Pepsi for example. Over the years, Pepsi has evolved their logo in order to stay relevant in an ever-changing industry.

pepsi

  • Is your logo design too complex?

In many cases, logos are overdesigned, making it difficult for customers to discern or understand your brand. It may be time to update to a more simplistic logo – one that will be memorable to customers while accurately representing your business.

walmart

FONT & COLORS

  • Choose a main & secondary font

Font is essential when planning your brand. Think about it:  you can take any iconic company’s font and easily recognize the brand. Envision big brands when considering what typography you’re looking to incorporate into your business. Disney is an excellent example; people from all over the world can identify the brand just by the unique swirls of the letters.

disney

In addition, you will need a simpler, secondary font for long-form content. Imagine trying to read a full document written purely in a 12-point version of the Disney font. Make sure you have a standard, easily readable font to use when needed.

  • Choose your brand colors

Choosing just the right brand color is another crucial aspect of the branding process. Much like font choices, colors say a lot about what your business offers and who you’re trying to reach. For example, a more tech-centered company with a crisp, clean font may want to choose cool colors like blue and silver. A more kid-friendly company may want to focus on bright colors that attract a younger demographic. If your brand is all about positivity and optimism, choose a color that best conveys those feelings. Choose colors for your font that reflect the products, industry, and tone.

brandcolors

WEBSITE

  • Is your website easy to use?

You have roughly 15 seconds to capture your visitors’ attention–does your website compel your visitor to stick around? Think about what content you have and how it should be organized. Minimize clicking. Put as few clicks between your visitor and your information as possible. Include a menu and a way to get back to the homepage–on every page. Make sure your contact information is easily accessible at the top or bottom of each page. Most importantly, provide compelling content. Make sure each page in your website has something valuable to offer.

  • Do you have a good web host?

As a business, one of your most important priorities is maximizing profits. If you think choosing the wrong web host can’t have a negative impact on your income, think again. If your site goes down, it could cause a loss in revenue. If you don’t rank high in search results, customers won’t be able to find you. And if your website is not properly secured, customer information could be vulnerable. There are a lot of web hosting companies out there. Do your homework and find the web host that’s best for your business. Best web hosts of 2015

  • Is it responsive?

Traditional web design has been replaced. More people are using mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, for everyday tasks. Instead of having separate sites—one for desktop and one for mobile—get a website with responsive design formats to fit any device. Sites with responsive design have a layout that changes according to the resolution of the device being used, as demonstrated below.  Check out some impressive examples of responsive design here.

responsive

  • Is it trendy & modern?

You only get one chance to make a first impression. What does the content of your website convey about your brand? When was the last time you updated the content? Does your website reflect the most recent innovations in your industry?

There’s a saying that a picture speaks a thousand words. If you have poor quality pictures or visuals on your website, they send an unfavorable message to those who visit, such as a lack of professionalism or sloppiness. Your website is an important reflection of your businesses brand; it’s all about presentation.

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • Do you have a strategy?

Take out a pens and paper and start brainstorming. First, define your audience. Next, identify their wants, needs, and challenges–where are they spending time online? Then, determine the theme of your social strategy. Is it selling products or building brand loyalty? After determining your audience and theme, the next step is to choose which social media sites align with your business and create accounts on those sites. Finally, create a content calendar and plan out your posts in advance. Consistency and simplicity are key to a good social strategy.

  • Don’t forget about Google+

If you aren’t using Google+, you are missing out on valuable web exposure. Google+ can help with your online visibility and search engine ranking. Many individuals never visit your website. They google your business and then click on your Google listing. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure your contact information is correct. Fill your site with professional and trendy pictures of your business.

  • Does your social media reflect your website?

Be consistent. Have the same brand and theme across all channels. Use the same imagery, colors, font and voice. Facebook and Twitter have spaces for large banners. Don’t miss the opportunity to personalize your social pages.

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