Creating a brand is a deep process that requires thinking about what your business stands for and its values. 

It’s more than just a logo; it shows ‘who’ you are to the world and ‘speaks’ when you're not there, Business Recovery Adviser Michael Duncan said at an Ai Group webinar for small business owners last week. 

“Figure out ‘who’ your business is and why it exists,” Mr Duncan said.  

“Once you know that and can communicate it, it'll attract the people it needs to attract.” 

Standing out from the crowd 

Many small business owners think factors such as price, quality or customer service give them an edge over rivals.  

That might be how you compete, but your brand is deeper than that,” Mr Duncan said. 

“When you’re creating a brand for your business, you’re trying to create a perception of who you are, who you're serving and what you're trying to be. 

“Ultimately, you're trying to have some say in what people would say about you when you're not there. 

Businesses that have gone through a branding process and given thought to how they present themselves and how they wish to be seen are more successful.” 

Buying a brand 

People buy brands, not products.  

“They know what sort of product they want, and they're committed to buying that product — whether it's a car or shampoo doesn't matter,” Mr Duncan said. 

“What you’re really deciding is whether to buy ABC or D, based on ‘who’ the brand is as a company and how they present themselves.” 

More than a logo 

A logo is the first thing many small business owners think about when considering branding. 

“For many, it's as far as they get in their branding journey, and they end up trying to ‘say’ too much in the logo,” Mr Duncan.  

“It means the logo can look cluttered and unprofessional. 

“As you grow bigger and your market goes beyond your local area, you need a simple logo that people can identify with.” 

This is why it’s important to consider visual identity more broadly, factors such as: 

  • colour palettes; 
  • typography;  
  • photography styles and treatments;  
  • patterns and grids;  
  • layout;  
  • copy (wording) and  
  • video style or audio. 

“It’s the reason why iconic logos such as Apple’s apple or Nike’s swoosh are so effective,” Mr Duncan said.  

“When you see these logos, you can recall the business behind it with quite a high level of detail because these companies aren't trying to do a whole lot more than create a connection to their visual identity. 

“It’s this visual identity that gives iconic logos the strength they've got. 

“Your visual identity is how people identify with you and will go on to hopefully connect and engage with you.” 

‘Who’ is your business? 

Thinking of your brand as a person can help shape its identity. 

Can you articulate what's important to ‘your person’? How do they act and speak? What do they wear, what kinds of places do they go to, and who are the types of people they hang out with? 

“That ‘person’ typifies your target market,” Mr Duncan said. 

“When you start thinking about your business in those terms, you will be better placed to think about how to position your business and where to look in terms of expansion and growing your sales channels. 

“The business needs to be its own personality — it’s not an extension of you or your business partners.” 


Touchpoints are all the places a potential or existing customer or client might encounter your brand. 

In the physical world, touchpoints might include: 

  • signage, 
  • brochures, 
  • business cards, 
  • vehicles, 
  • uniforms, 
  • product packaging and 
  • receipts and invoices. 

In the digital world, people might see your brand on: 

  • your website, 
  • social media and 
  • business directories including your Google Business page. 

When it comes to adding to your branding toolkit, do you have the visual identity ingredients to make it consistent with what you already have?   

If there's consistency, people will see an element of your business and know ‘who’ it is, and they will think of you when they need you next,” Mr Duncan said. 

“This careful consideration gives you some control over how well people can identify with your business. 

“Without consistency, you're in a big pond with a lot of fish hoping to be caught.” 


If your business has changed or the brand is no longer telling the story it should, a rebrand is worth considering. 

“The most established brands are constantly evolving their visual identity to better suit the values of their brand,” Mr Duncan said. 

“It can be done and should always be considered.” 

You get what you pay for  

Branding projects can vary widely in cost.  

“Sometimes, the more you spend or the more time you're willing to invest in the process, the deeper experts will dig,” Mr Duncan said. 

“They're going to spend time understanding exactly who your business is.  

“They'll challenge you on it. They will look at your market and competitors and see what’s happening globally. 

“They will come back to you with something that helps you stand out. 

“A good brand saves money and creates money rather than costing it.” 

What next?  

Consider your next steps. 

Is your brand what you want it to be and how it needs to be? 

Does it need a slight shift or a major one? 

Do you need to talk to an expert or do some homework?  

“The next steps are up to you,” Mr Duncan said. 

For further branding advice and support, please reach out to the Business Recovery Advisory Service (BRAS), a free one-on-one business advice programme for small businesses in eligible LGAs in Victoria. The service is delivered by Business Victoria in partnership with the Australian Industry Group. 

Register here for the next BRAS webinar: Taking your business online: creating an effective digital presence for your small business

Wendy Larter

Wendy Larter is Communications Manager at the Australian Industry Group. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a reporter, features writer, contributor and sub-editor for newspapers and magazines including The Courier-Mail in Brisbane and Metro, the News of the World, The Times and Elle in the UK.