Is Small Business Branding a Waste of Time?

Small business branding

Often, owners approach small business marketing backwards. We consider a tactic, say Instagram, paid ads, or a webinar. We decide whether we want to use that tactic by figuring out how much it would cost to implement, how much time it would take and whether we feel like doing it.

Almost every small business plans their marketing activities this way, by deciding what they’ll do before they determine why. This does not work long term. Here’s what does work.

If the tactic you choose happens to be a good choice, you will see results. If it is a poor choice, you don’t. Either way, you have no idea why it was a good choice or how to replicate it again.

READ THIS LATER: If you don’t have time to read this article right now, you can download the PDF version to your phone or computer and read it when you have time later.

Small Business Branding is Your Roadmap

What the “tactics first” approach is missing is a roadmap. Your small business branding helps you understand where you’re going. Instead of tootling around aimlessly, hoping each stop will be worthwhile, branding is your GPS. Your brand tells you where you are, where you want to be and how to get there.

Whole Team Marketing defines your brand, which includes not only your visual brand, but also your audience, your messaging and your proposition. To remember this, you can use the acronym reVAMP.

Really Explain your:

  • Visuals
  • Audience
  • Messaging
  • Proposition.

Visual Brand

This does not have to be the first thing you define. However ,because most small businesses already have some degree of a defined visual brand, such as a logo, I like to start here so we know what we’re working with. It is expensive and disruptive to change your small business branding, but relatively simple to tweak it if you notice aspects that could be better, so it’s a good place to start.


It boggles my mind when I see someone begin a marketing tactic without clearly defining their audience. How will you know where to take your message if you haven’t considered who you’re talking to? For example, there is no point in churning out content for TikTok if you have a 40+ audience. Figure out exactly who you’re targeting and you will have far better insight into where and how to connect with them.


Your message is simply the words you use to describe why your customers should choose you. You need messaging for introducing yourself, describing what you do, for responding to customer objections and more.

I like to begin the messaging process with a simple statement that defines who you are, sometimes called an elevator pitch. We call it your Power Statement. Now that you know your audience, you can anticipate what they need to hear in order to buy. That will be your power statement.

Your Proposition

You may have heard of a value proposition, which is a statement of how your offering benefits your audience. Clearly, you need to know your audience and have written your messaging before you can define this properly. The equation we use to define our clients’ proposition is:

 Your promise

+Your purpose


Your Proposition

What you will do for your clients, and the “why” behind what you do make a powerful statement. However there is one other factor in your proposition: your goal. What do you want to accomplish?

Set Your Goals

Before you can truly say your small business branding process is complete, you need to define what you want the outcome to be. This will influence how you express your proposition. For example, do you want to increase the number of potential clients that engage with your brand? Do you want your existing clients to increase their spend? Consider your motivation when choosing how to express the benefits of working with you.

Once you take the time to define your own reVAMP, you will find it far easier to make decisions about what marketing tactics to choose. You may realize that social media isn’t right for you, but instead Reddit is the place to be to connect with your target audience. You may find out that PR would likely be a waste of time, but appearing as a guest on podcasts gets you directly into the earbuds of your audience.

The next time you learn of a new marketing method for your small business, consider whether it’s the right fit for your audience, your messaging and your goals. If you don’t know the answer to this question, it’s time for some small business branding.

picture of author bridget brown