Every day, from the first moment you look at your phone, until the moment you close your laptop before bed, you are bombarded with advertisements and brand information. As business owners, we are still, at every moment, a customer of thousands of brands vying for our attention. Being a potential customer day in and day out can be exhausting.
So how can a small business shine through the noise and showcase the value it has to offer? Creating unique and engaging brand assets is the first step to building a relationship with your customers that they won’t forget.
What is a brand asset?
A brand asset is any unique visual, sound, scent, or written element that is used consistently to symbolize your business. They define your business’s identity and develop brand loyalty among your customers. Great assets are like an invitation to your ideal customer. The core brand assets are:
- Brand Name
- Color Palette
Once you’ve established the core assets, it’s time to get creative and make your brand an experience. When used consistently these additional assets will bring depth and breadth to your brand’s story and identity. Here is a short list to get your creativity flowing:
- Custom packaging
- Custom displays
- Theme song or jingle
What do brand assets do for your business?
In marketing we live by this mantra: customers purchase from people and brands that they know, like, and trust. Creating a familiar and consistent visual experience will build all three of these feelings in your customers as they see you in person or online.
Your assets create an emotional connection, they give your customers confidence in your credibility, and they identify who you are and what you’re about. Most importantly, your unique brand assets will bring in your ideal customer.
The shapes, colors, words, and typography that you choose for your brand separate you from your competition and create a strong neural pathway in the brain after several exposures When you think of buying a new pair of tennis shoes what brand comes to your mind first? This brand has cut through the static of advertisements that we are bombarded with each day. This brand has become so memorable to you, that when you think “athletic shoe” you think “Nike” or “Adidas.” Consistent use of strong, unique brand assets across all platforms will begin to create the same association between your product or service and your brand.
Getting started with assets as a new business
Don’t sell yourself short by mimicking the brand assets of a company that is already wildly popular. Instead, do the deep work first to make sure you know your brand’s values, aesthetics, and vision for the future. Your confidence and clarity will shine through and develop your customers’ ability to know, like, trust, and eventually purchase from you.
Sometimes you might experience a chicken and egg complex when you’re developing your brand assets. Maybe you’re still determining your core customer profile and refining your products or services. It’s okay to have a change in assets in the journey of your business so don’t let the fear of this hold you back from starting.
DIY it or work with a graphic designer
Now you’re ready to jump into creating your brand assets. How are you going to develop them? If you choose to DIY, you’ll be investing more time but much less money. If you work with a graphic designer, your experience will most likely be the inverse. Weigh the risks and benefits of DIY vs. designer by checking your budget as well as your existing skills with design.
The collaborative process of working with a designer can produce magnetic brand assets that are working for you while you’re on and off the clock. But, if working with a graphic designer isn’t in your budget, you have resources to get you started with DIY. Canva has great templates, and I would highly recommend this program for beginners. If you’re comfortable with Adobe Illustrator this is also a great option.
Assessing and revising brand assets
After you’ve been using your brand assets consistently for a few years, take the time to assess whether your logo and color palette are still working for you. Do they still resonate with your business’s vision, values, and aesthetic? Do they still resonate with your customers?
Assets can become stale as color or typeface trends change so at some point it will be time for an update.
Once you have a solid customer base, it can be just as daunting to introduce new assets as it was when you first began your business. You might worry that your customers will be confused or turned off by your new look. Revisions to established assets should be intentional and well planned. Instead of changing all at once, introduce new assets incrementally. You might keep the same core colors, but change the font on your logo.
When you’re adjusting your brand assets, use social listening to catch customer feedback. Don’t be discouraged if your customers don’t instantly love your new branding. The brain loves familiarity, and it might take some time for your audience to adjust.
The value of a strong visual brand
Visibility is everything for a small business and it is most challenging when you’re just starting out. Strong, distinct branding adds to the value of your business and is like a lighthouse through the fog of other advertisements.
When all of your brand assets come together they not only tell your story but they help you make an emotional connection with your customer. This connection is the beginning of a relationship that makes your brand special. It adds value to the product or service you provide and it keeps your customers coming back for more.
Carrie Miller is the textile artist and designer of the Natural Luxury collection. She specializes in botanical dyes, handweaving, and silk painting. Carrie is also a marketing consultant and writer who lives to be in the mountains near her home in Colorado.