What is Target without their bullseye, and Apple without their own famous apple? These corporations use consistent branding across all their products and platforms because their brand is their identity, it says who they are and makes them almost universally recognizable. You shop Apple or Target and you know what you’re getting, you’re also willing to pay a little more because of what their brand stands for. These same concepts should be applicable to you when it comes to developing your brand strategy, especially as a small business.

Your brand is your identity. It tells your customers what they should expect and who you want to be as a business. Take some time to figure out what your company’s mission is, what qualities do others associate with your business, what kinds of benefits and features do you offer, what values do you stand for? Take all of those ideas and apply them into defining and developing your branding strategy.

Your brand sets you apart. In this highly competitive market it can be difficult to tell one business from another, your branding is what sets you apart; it differentiates you. Customers should be able to recognize your business by simply seeing your logo, or hearing your tagline, and subsequently knowing what they can expect.

Consistency reinforces recognition. Consistency in branding earns you repeat business because it eliminates mixed messages. Use the same tone and approach when it comes to everything your business does including marketing materials and especially across social media. Your brand personality, which we sometimes call “voice”, should always be the same. Customers will recognize how your business operates because of your voice. Make sure your usernames and identities on social media are the same, have your logo placed prominently so people have no problem finding you and knowing who you are. Consistency in branding reinforces brand recall, which promotes repeat business.

Consistent branding shows professionalism. It shows that you are committed to your image and that you care about the way you are perceived by the public. Sometimes it can be difficult for a small business to carve out an image and a reputation for themselves, consistent branding plays a key role in making that happen. Make it easy for customers to recognize who you are and what kind of business you operate, then do everything in your power to deliver on those expectations.

Your small business brand strategy is important because it forms the structure for how your business operates both in public and online. Be consistent in your image and in the messaging you put out there, and you will develop the kind of reputation that makes it easy for people to recognize and depend on the services or work you provide.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert onLinkedIn and Twitter.