It’s easy to fall into the assumption that small businesses like local optical stores can survive without proper branding. It’s time-consuming, it’s difficult, and it can be expensive most especially if you will need to hire someone who will do it for you. But identifying your brand can be a whole lot easier if you understand what items will you need to formulate. Consider branding as part of your overall marketing plan. Or even part of your business plan which you cannot opt not to have.

Branding is an investment. If done correctly, you will have a concrete and consistent way of introducing yourself to the market. Your patients will be able to remember you often and will thus influence their decision when choosing where to go for their eye care service needs.

So how do you start with branding? What are the steps in making sure that you will be able to formulate a clear definition of your business? Here they are:

1. Ask yourself these questions and answer in no more than five sentences.

Make your answer brief but clear. All the answers that you will be coming up with from the questions below will form part of your branding statement.

  • What is your business and what do you offer?
  • What is your unique selling proposition? What makes you unique from those who offer the same products and services?
  • What are your goals and vision?
  • Three words why customers should go to your store.
  • What can you promise your customers? What are the customer needs that you target to solve?
  • Is your promise backed by a testimonial, survey, study, or a certification? Your claim should be credible.
  • What tone will you need to use when talking to your customer?

*Reminder: The aim is not to create fancy statements. Avoid using words that will just make your branding statement long and too formal. Help your patients remember your business so go simple when creating your branding statement.

2. Have an effective logo.

Yes, not just a good-looking logo, but one that is effective in representing your brand. A logo is going to be the face of your business so, at first look, it should already convey the messages formulated in tip #1 above. What are the qualities of an effective logo:

  • Memorable – Make sure that your logo design will leave a lasting impact on your patient’s mind.
  • Timeless – Our logo should be able to keep up with our vision of being able to survive many, many years and to grow in a much bigger business.
  • Simple – Notice how big brands are able to manage with very simple logos. Check out the logos of ANZ, Jetstar, and WWF.
  • Versatile – when conceptualising your logo, visualise it in different media and in different forms. Your logo should look good in all of its representations.
  • Scalable – your logo should be adjustable to any sizes, colour background, and space available. Make sure to create your logo in PNG format.

*Reminder: There are several logo creators online but to ensure that your entire brand statement will be captured in it, you may consider hiring an experienced graphic designer or a marketing agency who understands your industry. Be sure to check out their sample works first.

3. Develop a guideline on how the logo will be used.

Graphic designers call this the “style guide”. A style guide is a visual reminder of how all of your branded or marketing materials should look like given that your logo will be present in them. Colours, font, and images that will be used should be clearly identified in this document.

*Reminder: If you will not be working with a graphic artist, you can just simply list down the do’s and don’ts in designing your materials.

4. Create a tagline.

A one-liner message that summarises your entire brand statement just might be the ticket for patients to remember you. It should be catchy and should sound nice together with your business name. Have it under the tone that you would like to use when speaking to your customers.

*Reminder: Choose taglines that are professional and meaningful. Stay away from terms that are offensive and vulgar.

Lastly, make sure to enforce the proper and consistent use of your branding guidelines. None of the exercises mentioned above will work if you go by your marketing activities without taking them into consideration.

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