5 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Digital Branding to Stand Out
Create a brand that truly distinguishes itself.
Put very simply, digital branding is your virtual footprint on the web — from logo and colors to the tone of voice used in online communications. Such brand identifiers are what sets a company apart from competitors. Whether the goal is to build a multi-million-dollar ecommerce business or a successful home-based company, creating a digital brand is the first place to start.
Five key concepts to think about:
1. Logo and brand colors
It’s vital to have both of these match the feel of a company or product — visual elements that tie into what is unique about you (and your company), so that when people see them, they immediately know who you are. Naturally, this happens over time as you build brand awareness, but having a strong visual identity from the start will expedite the process. I recommend creating a brand mood board, including images and graphics that inspire you and reflect your vision. This will make the process of developing a visual identity more intuitive, and telling. It's also a great way to communicate your vision with a graphic designer. To save time and money while still getting pro-quality results, consider hiring a freelance graphic illustrator or designer from online portals like Fiverr.com or Upwork.com. For a thrifty investment, you can get a logo created in just 24 hours.
2. Use of color psychology
Make every element count by applying this term — broadly defined as the study of how color affects behavior and decisions — as a part of the branding process; you'll be amazed at the scope of impact small tweaks will make. Colors have been proven to have emotional and psychological effects, making it vital to choose those that accurately and engagingly reflect the message you want to communicate. For example, navy blue is often viewed as a traditional, reliable and practical hue — which makes it ideal for accountants and law firms— whereas lime green exudes a futuristic and tech-forward vibe, so might be a winning option for software companies
Related: The Role of Color in Branding
3. Website design
Think of a website as your virtual real estate on the web, so make certain all its content and products amplify and complement each other in order for visitors to easily get a sense of branding from start to finish. From photos to copy to fonts — even the spacing between paragraphs — everything should work together seamlessly. It's also imperative that you design a website in a user-friendly manner; make it easy and effortless for people to find information they're looking for, to browse and shop for products intuitively, especially while they're on the go. In a recent sweeping analysis of worldwide website traffic from the first quarter of 2015 to early 2021, Statista.com found, in part, that, "In the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 54.8% of global website traffic". That's why designing a mobile-friendly site is key.
4. Social media content
Using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube are, of course, increasingly indispensable in increasing brand awareness, and are free to use, to boot. So, harness social media content to amplify messages, engage with people who are interested in what you have to offer and to give people a sense of what your brand is all about through rich visual imagery.
5. Consistency is key
Brand identity should be indelibly clear in all forms of advertising and marketing (from social media content to digital ads). The more recognizable it becomes, the easier a time customers will have remembering who you are — yet another reason why being consistent with brand style, imagery and color palette is essential.
For example, Kate Spade New York consistently uses bright colors, bold patterns and playful imagery to stamp its identity, whereas Michael Kors uses a sophisticated, elegant and upscale approach. Whenever I see either brand’s social media posts or ads, even without seeing logos, I can instantly identify content that belongs to them. That's the power of a strong brand identity.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor