If you’ve ever been confused about branding your small business, here’s a simple way to think about it:

Branding Is Your Business’s Fashion Statement.

Here’s how branding is like fashion:

When you’re picking out a fashionable outfit for a night out on the town, th ere are several angles to consider, like:

1. Your fashion style. Do you consider yourself a sporty dresser, vintage, a bohemian, urban, or a little bit rock and roll? A trendsetter or more classic style? Your central fashion theme figures into your wardrobe.

2. Your personal taste and comfort. Dressing in a style that you like and wearing clothes that you resonate with and that make you feel fabulous.

3. The people you’ll be hanging out with. You want to make sure you’re not under-dressed for the company you’re keeping.

4. Your outfit’s effect on that special someone. If you’re dressing to impress, then you’ll think about who you want to impress and what they like.

5. The climate. You want to pick the right outfit for the weather, so you’re not too hot or too cold.

6. The current “ins” and “outs”. You want to look appropriate for the season’s trends — like you’re keeping up with the times instead of stuck in the past.

7. Matching the pieces of your outfit to one another. You want to make sure your outfit goes together — from head to toe — and that your look is consistent.

You have to watch for all 7 of these angles in your brand as well, by making sure that your brand:

1. Has a strong style and central theme. Your brand has a central theme that’s a lot like a fashion style — your BrandStyle. Once you know this central theme and core message of your brand, you’ll be able to easily style all of your materials to that style to make a clearer statement that’s instantly recognizable.

2. Looks like you, is an accurate reflection of who you really are and makes you feel fabulous. As your vision and mission changes, the appropriateness of your brand may also change. And, you want to make sure that your brand is an accurate reflection of your personality as well.

3. Looks appropriate among your competition. You can certainly make sure that your brand looks better than the competition’s, but you don’t ever want to have the frumpiest brand in your field. Your brand is one of the ways that your customers will compare you against your competition, and you want to make sure that it helps you come out on top.

4. Attracts your ideal clients and inspires them to hire you to work with them on perfect projects. The way to do this is to design your materials with your message and your clients’ visual tastes in mind — so they will be able to instantly see how amazing you really are. This makes you unforgettable and irresistible.

5. Is appropriate for the climate. You don’t have to design your brand to go with the weather, but there are other climate considerations: the social climate and economical climate can influence a brand. Make sure your brand’s message and design keep up with changes in these areas.

6. Keeps current with the trends. This doesn’t mean that your brand should be trendy, but it should look modern and updated. This means revisiting your brand once a year with a designer to evaluate how it looks in regards to graphic trends and trends in your industry.

7. Maintains consistency of message and of design throughout all of your materials. This doesn’t mean that every piece has to look exactly the same — that can become repetitive and dull. But it does mean that your materials should all appear to go together and should build on one another to increase their effectiveness.

If you think about your brand as your business’s fashion statement, then it becomes fun again!

Author's Bio: 

Erin Ferree is a brand strategist and designer. She works with small businesses to create brands with substance and style that fit their businesses perfectly. She's designed brands for hundreds of small business owners that attract their ideal clients, outshine their competition and make them unforgettable.

If you’d like to learn more about designing a strategic and stylish brand, don’t miss her upcoming teleclass, “Is Your Brand IN or OUT”. It covers how you can tell whether your brand is in or out of control and what you can do to get a solid brand strategy in place. Sign up here: http://www.brandstyledesign.com/inorout

Erin lives, cooks and plays tug-of-war with her dog in San Luis Obispo, California.