Small Business Brand Identity in the UK.



Every business needs a solid brand identity. It connects you with your audience and sets you apart, so it’s important to send the right message.

As a UK small business, taking time to consider your brand identity at the start of your business journey can help give you a solid footing for the rest of your marketing efforts. Good branding can be subtle, but it goes a long way.

This guide to creating your brand identity as a small business will help lay out the necessary steps for curating your brand. Discover how to build meaningful connections with your target audience and put out a clear message with Adobe Express.

What is your brand identity?

Brand identity is the full picture that defines how your audience sees your small business. It goes beyond products and logos, connecting your visual appearance with your brand promise. From the word go, it shows your customers and competitors who you are.

Skipping over branding is a crucial error. When you create a clear brand image, it helps to inform the rest of your marketing output. With the help of your unique visual design elements, you’ll use your brand identity to communicate your brand personality, story and values to your audience.

Most of all, your brand identity must mean something to your audience. If you’re relatable, it’s easier to foster trust and retain customers.

Creating a strong brand identity has a range of advantages as a small business in the UK:

Brand identity logo examples from Adobe Express.

How to create a brand identity for your small businesses.

As a small business owner, cultivating a strong brand identity is the starting block to a successful venture. Defining your brand identity gives your company direction, personality and heart – its importance mustn’t be overlooked.

Follow the steps below to learn how to craft your brand identity:

Step 1. Define the purpose of your brand.

Your brand purpose is the reason why your business exists. How do you serve your audience? What inspires customers to choose you over competitors? It also encompasses your business’s roots and values.

You can often see the essence of brand purpose in successful slogans – which are all part of their brand’s identity. Take Subway’s “Eat Fresh” slogan, for example. It reminds customers that Subway isn’t just another fast-food option; it offers healthier food too. Here, Subway’s brand purpose offers something its rivals don’t – the idea of freshness.

Step 2. Get to know your audience.

Understanding your target market is key to refining your brand identity. You can’t build a brand without knowing where to aim. Utilise your resources by finding out what’s important to your audience. This might include:

Conduct UK-wide surveys, interviews and focus groups to learn everything you can about your target market. Look for trends in your industry and find out how your audience engages with similar brands. This will help you align your brand with what resonates with them most.

Step 3. Check out your competitors.

It’s important to research the competitive landscape you’re entering, as well as any market trends to consider. Whether you’re looking at building an online presence or local brand awareness, you’ll need to know who has a similar offering to you.

Take a look at strengths, weaknesses and successful brand strategies and see if you can spot any opportunities of your own. Be sure to analyse:

Step 4. Choose a compelling brand name.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to picking the right name for your small business. It’s a major reinforcement of your brand identity. Without adding too much pressure, your brand awareness is carefully entwined with your brand name.

Whether infectious or striking, your brand name should sum up your business offering in a memorable way. An effective brand name has the power to set you apart, demonstrate your values and evoke humour and emotion.

Once you have a few standout ideas, make sure to double check your name isn’t similar to another business. A quick search on Google and the Companies House register should help.

Step 5. Craft your assets.

Once you know your ‘why’ and target market, it’s time to deliver on visuals. Alongside your name and customer experience, brand assets are one of the most impactful ways to demonstrate your brand identity.

Here’s a checklist of common visual assets:

Step 6. Nail your brand story.

Your brand story is how you connect with your audience. When done successfully, your brand story can help communicate your brand purpose in the most relatable and marketable way.

Brand storytelling is a powerful tool that can evoke an emotive response and encourage brand loyalty. It’s about using an engaging narrative to share the story of your company’s history, purpose and values with potential customers who might identify with them.

Your brand story can go hand in hand with your brand culture. If you’re an independent coffee shop or a small retail store, how does it feel to visit your business and be a part of it?

British clothing brand Lucy & Yak have branched out from a humble website to eight UK store locations in the six years since they launched. Everything – from their colourful shop interior and dog-friendly vibes to their second-hand sale racks and laidback staff – feels like a page right out of their psychedelic website. It creates a memorable customer experience that brings the creative brand story to life.

Step 7. Build a brand style guide

A brand style guide is a master document that outlines all your visual marketing elements and contextualises them with your brand purpose. Your brand guidelines can help communicate exactly how your brand should look and sound to anyone creating marketing content for your business.

Set out to create a distinct look and feel that aligns with your brand. That includes everything from your design aesthetic to your tone of voice.

This style guide will become your bible to everything content and design. Every ad and Instagram Story will refer to this resource to ensure a smooth and consistent output, whatever the platform.

Step 8. Apply to your marketing and social media.

Use your research, brand style guide and brand story to apply your new brand strategy across your business. Your brand design and tone of voice should be consistent, whether it’s a happy birthday email, a routine Facebook post, a TikTok video trend or an event poster.

Your brand identity is there to guide your marketing output and keep your target customers front and centre. It’s much easier to capture and retain customers when your story, values and communications align.

5 tips for building your brand identity.

Share your brand identity with free social media templates.

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Useful things to know.

What is a good example of brand identity?

Whether you’re striving for an online presence or local footing, finding something that your audience will associate with your brand is key. This might be a set of colours or an emblem.

Consider some of the most successful and familiar brands in the UK and beyond. The Swedish oat milk company Oatly uses an eye-catching font, monochrome illustrations and quirky humour to portray its environmentally friendly brand. It’s instantly recognisable, while its slogan, “the Original Oatly”, stakes its claim as the go-to oat milk drink on the market.

Do small businesses need branding?

All businesses need branding to stand out from the crowd. As a small business, your brand sends a clear message to your target audience that you take yourself seriously. It demonstrates your values, business personality and helps to define you who are and why customers should choose you over competitors.

What are the main elements of brand identity?

The main factors of your small business brand identity include your brand purpose, brand story and visual branding – such as your brand name, logo, colour palette, graphics, typography and tone of voice. It’s important to research the market before you start planning your brand.

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