Branding 101: What your small business needs to make a first great impression

First impressions last. Nowhere is this more important than in in the resource-constrained world of small business. Great design and branding make the kind of impression that reels clients in, helping you to grow past your competition.

On the other hand, a bad first impression can be extremely costly to recover from. Save yourself the time, and money, you’ll expend, later on, by investing in good design, the first time.

We’ve brought you the fundamental tools you’ll need in order for your small business to make a great first impression. Let’s get down to it:

Create an identity that reflects your brand

Branding entails more than “just the visuals”: it includes every face of your operation, from customer support to your website and social-media presence, and beyond. That being said, though, your logotype and visual identity are typically the most direct connection a potential customer will make with your business.

Make sure you put your best foot forward: a basic identity system consists of the elements such as logotype, colors, patterns and fonts, which help to create a consistent image and boost your recognition. In turn, that identity will ultimately spread through your communications, such as business cards, websites and collaterals.

A consistent image helps to attract like-minded customers and employees. It does this by leveraging word of mouth after memorable experiences with your brand, bringing in new business and reducing employee turnover.

Cultivate a fresh, engaging online presence

Keep in mind the fact that 81 per cent of shoppers research online* before making their purchase. They use search engines to do this research, or by simply reading product reviews.

A fresh online presence, be it your website or social media channels, can send out positive messages about your business. The opposite can also be true: a Facebook page with the last update circa 2013 won’t help. To be safe, don’t rush for daily or weekly updates if they don’t resonate with your audience. Define a schedule with good quality and engaging content, preferably produced internally, without not only sharing other businesses’ posts.

Fulfill the brand’s promise

A brand promise is a commitment a company makes to those who interact with it. This isn’t necessarily a description of its products, but a definition on what the company stands for.

By way of an example: ZipBooks ( is an accounting software and online invoicing platform. Their brand promise is being easier, quicker, and user-friendly. To help them deliver on this message, they’ve designed a high-converting homepage to capture the attention and interest of potential users, fast.

Keep in mind that your brand promise has to be consistent, across any channels through which a consumer or customer may interact with it: person-to-person, or through a website, app or any form of communication.

To wrap up, we’ve outlined the fundamentals needed for your small business to make a first great impression. Put your best foot forward with an identity that reflects your brand and attracts like-minded customers and employees. Cultivate a fresh and engaging online presence by maintaining an up-to-date and engaging website or social media presence. Last, but not least, deliver on your brand’s promise in every interaction with your customers or prospects.


Leo Almeida, Designer, Entrepreneur and author of e-book “Growth By Design” (