A small business owner may hear the word all the time, but not fully understand what it entails. What exactly is a brand, anyway?

For starters, the brand is the identity of the company. Without one, it will be much harder for potential customers to relate to a product and be motivated to buy. That is one reason why this element is so important. 

Overall, a brand is key to success and growth. A poor quality one could mean the small business' financial plan suffers, and it might be more difficult to increase revenue and expand. Thankfully, there are plenty of strategies one could take in order to focus on a brand and improve this crucial part of the company.

When a personal brand is the right idea
For a small business owner, there are often two directions one could take when determining a brand – personal or corporate. According to online marketing specialist Scott Levy in an article for Entrepreneur.com, this decision must be made before a brand can take off or be moved to social media.

What is a personal brand? Essentially, it is an identity designed specifically for the business owner. It allows clients and potential customers to learn a little about the face behind the company and even engage directly with the person calling the shots. This can be good for a number of reasons. For example, a personal brand allows an entrepreneur to build a following separate from the firm itself. So, if the financial plan were to fall apart and the company split up, the next venture might already have a strong foundation of support.

However, a personal brand has its downside, Levy explained. With one, everybody will follow the day-to-day activities of the business owner. That means privacy could go right out the window. If any mistakes occur, it is on the face of the franchise to pick up the pieces, which may make a person feel extremely vulnerable. A corporate brand – where the company as a whole takes center stage – can often withstand problems better and reduce the pressure on those making the decisions. Ideally, a small business owner will be able to balance both in order to create the best possible company.

Boost a small business brand
Once an entrepreneur decides which brand to go with, they'll be able to move forward with crafting the perfect strategy. Most importantly, they should be confident in their abilities, according to April Neill in an article for the Chicago Tribune.

Neill noted that it is important to determine what the brand stands for. This level of confidence can trickle down throughout the company, from financial investment advice to day-to-day operations. In order to figure this out, the small business owner should think about who the target audience is, and then attempt to show them what makes the company valuable and unique.

Then, the firm has to create a social media strategy and a brand voice. In today's age, the Internet dominates the landscape. Any company without a presence here is missing out, and the more platforms the better. Figuring out which site to use – be it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or many more – depends on the target audience. Wherever they go, the business should follow. Communication should attempt to connect emotionally, and the best brands do their fair shares of listening as well as talking.

Overall, Neill explained that the brand has to be consistent. This way, it will be easier for customers to remember the company over a longer period of time. All messages have to fit into the brand profile, and a reputable, reliable firm will do better when it comes to building clients and expanding the business.