Building a brand is not an easy task. And if you’re a young business, that’s still in the early phases of brand development, establishing a strong brand identity becomes an even more complex task. Let’s take a look at Beyond the Logo: Unconventional Branding Tips for Small Businesses.
A great logo is a strong way to assert your independence as a small business and differentiate yourself from competitors. But it’s not enough to form an established brand identity on its own.
But as intimidating as carving out a unique brand identity can be, starting this process while your business is still small gives you the opportunity to go in any direction you like, and sometimes, the best direction is the path less traveled.
Done right, adopting unique, unconventional branding strategies is an excellent way to showcase your unique value proposition and make a more lasting impact on audiences.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the power of unconventional branding angles and the many different ways you can implement them into your small business plan.
Table of Contents
Why It’s Important to Break the Mould
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) account for a whopping 99.99% of the UK business population. Needless to say, this is an incredibly large figure. And without a way to stand out, you could get lost in the crowd. There are many benefits to breaking the mold:
- Makes you more memorable – a powerful, unique logo paired with unconventional branding strategies has a more lasting visual and experiential impact on consumers.
- Shows brand self-awareness – a unique, well-crafted brand strategy that goes beyond just a logo shows that you have a profound understanding of what your business offers and exactly what your audience wants from you.
- Sets you apart from competitors – in the ocean of SME businesses that surround you, finding ways to stand out is crucial. Without a unique factor, your competition could drown you out.
Breaking the mould isn’t about reinventing the wheel, it’s more about taking one or two steps outside of the norm in order to attract more attention and gain visibility. Done in the right way, this can elevate your small business to a higher level of audience reception.
8 Unconventional Branding Tips for Small Businesses
Understanding the importance of unique branding is one thing, but bringing that concept to life is another thing entirely. It’s easy to say “Let’s do something different!”. However, finding the balance between unconventional and bizarre is a difficult path to follow.
If you are looking for ways to gain an edge over the competition while still remaining true to your authentic brand voice, look at these eight unconventional brand strategies for small businesses.
1. Show the Process Behind Your Product
Not enough businesses are taking advantage of the fact that consumers love seeing the process behind a product. Tapping into people’s appreciation for brand storytelling is a great way to connect with audiences beyond just the face value of what you offer.
Consider making a social media-friendly video such as a TikTok or Instagram reel that documents the behind-the-scenes process of how your business works.
When people get insight into the backstory behind a product, it can enhance their sentimentality towards it and encourage them to trust your brand despite being a small or young business.
2. Get Interviewed on a Podcast
Podcasting is a rapidly growing industry in the UK and all over the world. Yet despite this, few businesses are utilizing it for the true marketing tool that it can be.
Hosting and chatting with industry peers or interesting guests is great, but you don’t have to start your own podcast to experience its branding benefits. You can still gain wider recognition and participate in the industry scene by simply being a guest on someone else’s podcast.
This accessible form of audio content has proven very popular among consumers and can help them humanize your brand identity into something more comfortable and familiar. It’s also a great opportunity to promote your products or services.
3. Collaborate With Other Brands
Collaboration can make your small business stronger, more visible, and more agile. A lot of SMEs resist collaboration because it can be difficult to navigate, but it doesn’t have to be.
Collaboration is all about aligning yourself with similar or adjacent brands that mutually elevate one another and result in increased visibility and profit for both of you. Here are some tips for a successful collaboration with other SMEs:
- Launch a collaborative product or service – working together to create a product or experience that incorporates both of your brands is a perfect example of collaboration.
- Choose brands with similar goals – when it comes to collaboration, choosing the right brand is essential. Make sure they have similar goals (i.e. profit, visibility, website traffic) and enough audience overlap to guarantee decent traction.
- Advertise a gift guide – posting a gift guide online that features both your and other brand’s wares is a great way to get a broad audience of consumers interested in your businesses.
Collaboration might not seem like an outright unconventional branding strategy, but in the SME ballpark, it is. Bigger brands understand the value and potential of working together with peers or even with influencers, but small businesses are still nervous to branch out. Take a chance and stand out!
4. Offer Personalized Products and Services
Not all brands can do this, but the personalization of products and services is one of the best ways to attract loyal consumers. Plus, it’s still a relatively new trend, which gives you a slight edge against your local competitors.
For example, if your small business creates ceramic tableware, you might want to consider offering custom options for an additional fee. This is not only great from a profit perspective, but it also creates the opportunity for you to develop more meaningful relationships with clients.
5. Add a Sense of Humor to Your Marketing
Easier said than done, right? But as tricky as it can be if you’re not a natural comedian, finding ways to blend some humor into your marketing strategy is a clever and gently unconventional way to appeal to your audience.
Humor is a powerful way to make your brand identity more memorable and cultivate a sense of familiarity and trust with your clients. Most people love to laugh—especially in this crazy world—and injecting your campaigns with a little bit of humor can set you apart from mainstream options.
6. Hire an Artist to Paint a Mural
Contrary to what you might think, physical advertising isn’t dead. In fact, far from it. More and more consumers are reporting an increased appetite for in-store shopping and brick-and-mortar stores. With that comes an appetite for innovative and creative physical branding.
Hiring an artist to paint a mural depicting your brand or brand vision is a fun, unconventional, and highly engaging way to connect with your audience.
Most artists can conceptualize and produce mural designs for a fairly good price, and the payoff can be well worth the investment.
You may even end up featuring in photographers’ street art portfolios or on social media pages, especially if your mural is interactive and encourages passers-by to snap a photo—user-generated content for the win!
7. Get Involved in Your Local Community
Getting involved in your community is another deeply underutilized branding strategy for small businesses. It can be easy to want to put all your focus on social media presence and website KPIs, but at the end of the day, people will always respond to community connection.
There are plenty of ways to participate in your local community, such as:
- Hosting a workshop – host an in-person class or workshop where you teach community members how to make something or learn about a subject your brand is involved in.
- Participate in local events – when events that align with your business occur, make sure to be there and participate in them. You’ll make new connections and have fun!
- Sponsor charity events – donating your time, skills, or products to a charity organization not only puts you in a position to support your community, but it also helps showcase your brand in a more empathic light and demonstrates your passion for the community.
Getting involved in your community doesn’t just boost your brand image, it also uplifts the local community and benefits everyone.
8. Make Brainstorming a Part of Your Routine
Taking an unconventional approach to branding isn’t something that happens overnight – it requires resetting the way you think about your business identity as a whole. In order to find your branding groove, you’ll need to incorporate brainstorming as a way of life.
Huddle with your employees and co-workers, no matter how small the group is, and let your ideas fire off of one another. That innovative mentality is what will drive your brand to success.
Use Unconventional to Your Brand’s Advantage
Finding the perfect balance between industry-friendly and standout authenticity is one of the many challenges of being a small business in a big world. But like so many of the brands before you, there are ways to break out of the conventional mold and claim your spot in the market.
With these tips for unconventional branding that look beyond just a bold logo, your small business can rise to success in a way that is both effective and true to your brand identity.
Join The Logo Community
We hope you enjoyed this article about Learning from the World’s Most Famous Logos. If you would like more personal tips, advice, insights, and access to our community threads and other goodies, join me in our community. You can comment directly on posts and have a discussion.
*TIP – We use and recommend DesignCuts for all your fonts, mockups and design bundles.