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What Is Branding And Do I Need It As A Small Business?

branding design for rebox luxury wellness subscription box

Branding can be one of the single most important investments you’ll make in starting a business. As a brand designer, of course, I’d say, this, but the truth is, it’s tough out there. When building a wellness business it’s important to connect with the right people, stay consistent in your message, and (for yourself as an entrepreneur) be; Clear on what it is you’re offering, why you’re different, and what you’re short and long term goals are? In this article, I share what branding is and why you need it as a small wellness business, and to what degree.

What is Branding?

Branding is what makes a business, recognisable, likable, and aligns a business with the right people. A brand is made up of several core components.

Brand IdentityBrand ValuesBrand VisionBrand MissionBrand Story
A focus on how a business looks and feels.A focus on what matters.A focus on the future.A focus on the present.A focus on why it matters?
Visuals of a brand.20+ Core Value ExamplesWhat’s the big dream?What do you want to bring to the table? How are you doing it?How did it all start? What’s the origin story?
What is branding infographic

Branding vs Marketing vs Advertising

In a nutshell, branding connects and captivates the right people, marketing drives awareness, and advertising converts sales. Branding is a long-term strategy and marketing and sales are short-term strategies (as they can change and adapt). Your brand strategy is designed to stay consistent with the goal of building, trust, and loyalty. However, they should all share an end goal.

Branding is more than just a logo

When people think of branding they think of logos, colours palettes, and business cards. The truth is it’s not so linear. Branding is both business strategy and design (brand identity) it’s why people choose you over the others. It’s the positioning, experience, and story that makes a business unique and puts it head and shoulder above the rest (able to cut through the noise).

A good brand strategy will support your marketing goals, sales goals, and business goals, and it’s how you connect, attract and captivate the right audience for you to meet those goals. Without a strong brand strategy, you’re just hard selling another product or service.

In this day and age, we take greater care and consideration when choosing which brands deserve our hard-earned cash. We buy from those who represent our values and stand for what matters to us on a personal level.

Read my post 20+ Core Values People Can Actually Relate to for a starting point

Branding is what people expect, experience, and remember about you

Branding is like dating

Firstly, you want to woo the potential candidate with your good looks, you never want to come across as too eager, but you also want to charm the pants off them. It’s a balancing act between not revealing too much and leaving them with an unshakeable first impression. The end goal after every interaction is planning the next time you’ll see them again until they fall madly in love with you, but this takes time and patience. This is what we call, brand strategy.

A strong well-designed brand is a promise, just like a girlfriend or boyfriend, you should always understand fears, desires, and needs. You want to communicate with them on a deep level and with branding, you do this through depth, style, and story.

Think of it this way, if your brand were a person how would it walk, talk, dress, and what matters most? The persona of a brand should be consistent across every touchpoint; from how they’re greeted at the door/virtual space, to receiving something in the post or visiting your profile on social media; Do they feel special, understood, or empowered? Did their experience go beyond expectation? Did you leave a positive lasting impression?

A good brand designer will always design a brand that stays true to what your business stands for and is able to capture the essence of what makes you unique.

Evaluate your own brand

A lot of my clients come to me already having self-diagnosed the reasons why they may be struggling or why people just aren’t interested. But the truth is they often just treat the symptoms with quick solutions, not the root cause of why their business is not getting noticed or building traction. This is when having a clear brand strategy will set you up for great things.

I have free resources in my Exclusive Content Library designed purposely for wellness and lifestyle entrepreneurs who want to connect and captivate with the right people and start hitting their goals.

What can branding do for a business?

  • Make selling easier
  • Future-proof your business
  • Find it easier to attract and retain clients
  • Build a community that loves you and what you sell
  • Charge more (People are always willing to pay more for brands that they believe in)
  • Give you clarity and focus moving forward
  • Aligns you to your target audience
  • Keeps you on track while growing your business
  • Spend less on promotional campaigns
  • Shouts about you even when you’re not in the room

What is Personal Branding?

If you’re the face of your business and people tune in to see what you’re up to next then this is called personal branding.

A lot of my clients are nutritionists, therapists, makeup artists, and personal trainers. They are their own brand.

Your magic is what will always set you apart and help you claim your spot in the market. Building brand awareness can be both easy and difficult and that’s why brand designers (like me) work with you to establish a strong framework that you and your audience will love and what your business stands for.

I’m only a small start-up, do I need branding?

Honestly, it depends. As I mentioned above, a brand is what your business stands for. A strong brand helps to accelerate success faster than not having one.

I always start by asking my clients what they want to achieve? Most of them want to make more money and become successful in their field, this is absolutely achievable, but it is by no means easy or guaranteed either! A brand will help build a legacy, and a strong community and safeguard your businesses due to unforeseen events (like a worldwide pandemic and multiple lockdowns).

It was difficult to watch small businesses struggle and falter through the pandemic without a brand. But, those that did have a strong brand made it through, they had an anchor and the foundations in place to continue to show up and connect with their audience consistently and were able to use the lockdowns as an opportunity to build and educate their community.

Degrees of investing in branding

Branding on a Shoestring

If you’re just looking to test the water with a new product or service to see if there is a market for it and are starting on a shoestring; I would say no to a full brand strategy and identity at this moment. A logo and a catchy name will be enough of a presence at this stage. But do bear in mind that name you choose at this point will be what you should stick with, should you expand into a full-on brand later. If you drastically change your brand name (at any stage) you run the risk of losing that trust you’ve built. I would always find a designer that knows you and your business and stick with them for the long haul should you be ready to branch out into a full brand later.

Where to start:

  • Hire a freelancer graphic designer
  • DIY
  • Use a free Logo maker
  • Purchase a free logo (but know many other businesses will have this same exact logo)

Blowout Budget

You may have been running your business for quite some time and are looking to take it to the next level but have no idea how. Maybe you’re struggling to find new clients (or the right clients), stand out in a noisy space or want to up your prices but have faced objections? A brand will leap-frog you to the next stage of your business and build a strong and safe foundation for getting you to where you want to be and smashing your goals.

If this is something you’ve dreamed of for years or months and you whole-heartedly know that you’ve got something special or maybe you’ve been doing what you’re doing for quite a while, you just haven’t formalised it yet, then yes a full brand strategy and identity will help you accelerate your successes much faster. A good brand designer will work with you to build something special that speaks to your audience and something you can grow into, that will stay true to your business and its needs.

Where to start:

How much does branding cost?

I’m going to prefix this by saying this is a tricky question.

Your brand is the head, heart and soul of your business. A brand strategist will work with you to design a brand that can connect and communicate with your audience which can translate to higher sales, higher profit and better retention of your clients and patrons. So rather than thinking of it as a cost, think of it as an investment into the success and longevity of your business, and chances are whatever you invest in your branding you’ll make it back in the first year.

Whatever you invest in your branding you’ll make it back in the first year.

An approximate investment can range depending on the designer. My stance is hiring a pro will actually cost you less in the long run and potentially increase your revenue faster than DIY-ing it or opting for a freelance marketplace. An experienced brand consultant & designer will charge from £3’000+, but prices can reach as high as  £10’000+ if you choose an agency. For most small businesses a brand designer will be the preferred option.

Making sure you choose someone whose niche aligns with your industry is what you’re aiming for. For example, as a brand consultant & designer, my niche is in wellness and lifestyle. I know a lot of people in that industry and my long experience and knowledge of this space is why people hire me to stand out and make an impact.

What goes into Designing a Strong Successful Brand?

Market ResearchUnderstand the market & who your competitors are.
Brand Discovery & StrategyThis stage is about establishing your target audience and what their fears, desires, wants & needs are. It is also defining your goals, values &  telling your story ‘why’.
Brand Design & StylingLogo design, tone of voice, colour palette, photography style as well as a number of ancillary design decisions and accompanying media.
Website DesignMaking sure your online presence aligns with all the previous stages to spark action.
Brand GuidelinesA document that you and your team can always refer back to for clarity and audience on the brand and keep on track with future media and projects.
LaunchOnce all aspects of the brand are refined or re-developed its time to create hype around your brand and celebrate its launch.

There’s a lot that goes into creating an irresistible brand. A good brand designer will always work closely with you to understand your business inside-out, to achieve the most effective results and weave a sustainable strategy into its framework.

Remember, as with all things in life you get what you pay for. I often have people say to me “I’ve found someone who will design me a logo and colour palette for £100.” And my response is usually “That’s great, but that is a completely different service”.

Black and white Logo design sketch

I love helping people look, sound, and feel confident and safe in their business, and believe that every savvy entrepreneur deserves a brand that empowers them to be the best and spark action among their audience. I want to help them live life without competing for sales (because we’re not all natural-born salesmen) and thrive in their space. You deserve to own a brand that shouts about you when they’re not in the room, does most of the legwork for them, and leave them time to run the business they dream of.

Have a question about branding your business? Send me a message

Kate Male Brand Designer & Creative Director based in London

About Kate

Kate is a brand designer and creative director based in London. She works with wellness, lifestyle, and beauty brands who want to tell their story with depth, and style.


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