8 branding tips for small businesses

Woman looking at a brand called Planto on her laptop with “Branding tips for small business” written on the right hand side

How to create a great brand (on a tiny budget)

1. Picture your target customer

  • Google Trends — this is great for filling in the blanks of your target customer. Instead of guessing what they’re into, you’ll get the latest intel on seasonality and trends.
  • Similar Web — use some of its free features to plug in your competitors and identify their audiences, how they behave and what they’re into.
  • Facebook Audience Insights — not only perfect for finding potential audiences, but it also helps you create content that resonates with them specifically.

2. Think about your brand archetype

3. Find your voice

UV index chart with in brand’s tone of voice

4. Find a freelance graphic designer

5. Pair back your colour palette and designs

  • Research your competitors’ colour schemes and avoid picking the same.
  • Choose one colour that reps your brand and then coordinate the palette around it. Pinterest is a good place for inspo at this stage. If you’ve got a load of images and want to find their exact colours, import them into something like Colr.org — this will give you the hex codes.
  • But make sure you’ve picked a punchy action colour because these are perfect for website call-to-actions. Just take Waken Mouthcare, for example. Everything is so muted that even the pastel orange CTAs pop off the page.
Mouthwash and toothpaste in pastel colours
  • Then, balance out your colour palettes with more neutral shades. This helps them pop, creates contrast and ensures everything stays readable. Using a statement black for legibility on top of minimal pastel shades, cereal brand Surreal does this really well. That combo of teal and black is so rare in the space too — making them super striking against competitors.
Surreal cereal brand backed with punchy blue teal colour

6. Take the time to find the right font family

The flowing serif typography of Urania’s Children perfume brand

7. Find quality stock images for free

8. Learn how to take your own photos

  • use a smartphone camera with 12 megapixels or more
  • shoot from a tripod to reduce camera shake
  • save on lighting by using natural light from a window
  • use a foam board to bounce light and soften shadows
  • shoot close-ups to hide backgrounds and highlight product features

9. Keep things organised and easy to find

5 small businesses who’re smashing their branding

Bokksu’s imagery creates a tummy-tingling sensation of travel

Bokksu social media pic of it’s Japanese food package

Patch Plants pruned its tone of voice to perfection

Patch plants’ products and easy going tone of voice

Pasta Evangelists’ branding feels authentically al dente

Beautiful pasta imagery

Bloom & Wild have flourished with kindness and empathy

Lazy Oaf is comfortable putting quality over quantity

Lazy Oaf sales items with 50% off



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Andy Baker

Andy Baker


Friendly neighbourhood copy chameleon. Whatever the tone, I’ve got you.