Successful branding gives a small business immediate customer and market recognition. These impressions are critical for finding your target market. Elements such as green-friendly packaging, Made in America, or luxe elegance, help communicate those values to a customer with each impression or view.
Branding starts with company values. A company that makes and sells art might have a company value about color–that beautiful color brings joy to the world. Starting with that foundation, branding decisions keep joyous color in the forefront of decisions. A company making natural fiber yarns might have as a company value only using sustainable products that are ethically produced throughout the company. That value provides guidance across the decision-making process.
A critical factor in successful branding is consistency. This consistency helps build brand recognition and loyalty, and is critical in small business development. Because this consistency is so important, thought, care, and attention must be paid when developing branding materials such as retail packaging. Assume they will be with you for a long time, and take the time to get the details exactly right. More than just a logo and colors, details such as fonts used on all written materials and signs should be consistent; tone and language should reflect and reinforce message and value. It is critical to have consistency across the business, including marketing and packaging.
If your branding is going to target a particular demographic in the market, assume that those people will be educated or aware of the values that underlie your branding. If you have as a company value sustainability and environmental stewardship, for example, assume that your target audience will also be aware of the types of ink on packaging materials that is most sustainable. If you start out with a high degree of care and attention to color matching in your packaging, that needs to be consistent across time; as people become aware of your branding, they will expect that consistency. Starting a business with lovely antique rose prints on tissue and tags, and then moving to plain white, may signal to customers that the business is changing or letting standards lapse. Retail packaging can reinforce branding with each use and view, and is a critical piece in developing the consistent message of the iconic brands.