The importance of consistent corporate identity for small businesses: a Q&A with Sidney Gibson

We ask advertising and corporate identity expert, and author of ‘Does my Firm Look Big in This?’, Sidney Gibson, why corporate identity is so important for your small business to stand out against larger corporations.

A particular platform that rocketed during the pandemic was Instagram – and it’s still growing and developing. As of 2022, over 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile per day.

As many companies continue to build their presence on Instagram, it’s now more important than ever to keep up with these business trends. Although Instagram has many features, we’ve outlined some key tips and tricks to support your business growth on the platform:

How can small businesses compete with companies that are getting bigger and bigger?

For a small business to compete with a larger company, they’ll need to be consistent and control everything they’re putting into the world very closely. Big companies can easily lose their way with that, and as more people are involved in a decision, their messaging can get lost.

Small businesses can compete with this by remaining uniform in their writing styles and messaging. Corporate identity is not just visual. This often can get diluted in larger businesses due to the number of messages that are going out, and the number of people that are working on them, whereas small businesses have a huge advantage here.

Small companies can demonstrate how they’re better than big companies by doing what they promise consistently and on time. By demonstrating your brand identity and messaging you’ll be able to build confidence in customers that you’ll be doing the same when you provide your product or service.

What do you think small businesses could learn from how larger companies present themselves?

Learn from their mistakes! One thing small companies should look out for is the mistakes of large companies. Just because they’re big, doesn’t mean they’re always doing things right, and when things go wrong, there’ are a lot of lessons to be learnt from an outside perspective.

When a big company’s branding falls short of its own rules, it won’t be able to have the same control a small business has to fix mistakes. It’s important for small businesses to do it right and not muddle through. They should take advantage of how nimble they are and correct mistakes before prospective customers notice.

How can small businesses look better than big ones?

It’s important for small businesses to focus on what they know and to make it count by doing things properly. Small businesses will need to work harder with their corporate identity, but the rewards are much better.

We have this technique called the ‘big wall’, where you stick everything you do onto a big wall and ask yourself whether it’s consistent and if it’s saying the right things to potential customers. This is a great visual way to understand if you’re projecting the right message to your audience.

Big companies can spend as much as they like on advertising campaigns, but it all comes down to the person taking money ‘over the till’, and whether they’re projecting the values of the company. Bigger firms might have more resources, but this mass is much more difficult to control, and employees can be less likely to align with a corporate identity.

Smaller businesses can make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and why they’re doing it to ensure all those outside your business are having a consistent experience.

An illustration showing DNA

How can small businesses benefit from a corporate identity programme?

A corporate identity programme is all about the recognition of a brand and helps to ensure your business’ standards are consistent with every touchpoint to customers.

The big wall technique can help with this, but it’s important to consider your identity before you start talking to customers.

Instagram captions have a limit of 2,200 characters, so the first line must grab your audience’s attention and help them to decide whether to read on.

Also, including a few hashtags will help with your organic reach. Make sure they are relevant to your content – searching for keywords will help with this. You can use tools such as RiteTag to find popular hashtags.

Is an identity programme worth the money for small businesses?

I’d say definitely yes. It’s much more effective to create things that will fit to an already existing brand identity, rather than just creating things ‘as and when’.

It’s about doing something properly from the start, which can seem extravagant initially – especially if you’re a small business – but it’s worth it in the long run. You might be able to save costs by just getting started with content, but by establishing who you are from the start you’ll be able to see greater benefits in the long run.

As businesses grow larger and larger, it’s more important than ever to ensure you stand out by establishing who you are and why a potential customer should choose you. Your business needs to align with your true purpose and ensure it’s communicating this to your customers.

To find out whether you’re communicating your purpose effectively, sign up for our free 30 minute communication review or fill out the form below.


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