Back to all posts

10 excellent examples of small business branding

Here's our top 10 examples of small business branding to inspire and enhance your own brand's identity and success.

Rose McMillan · July 8, 2024
10 excellent examples of small business branding10 excellent examples of small business branding

Go to section

Go to section

Brand identity is an important aspect of any small business. But since many small business owners have to work with a small budget and limited time, it can be a challenge knowing where to start.

Great branding can have a huge impact on the entire customer experience. It can boost business growth, build customer loyalty, and highlight your business’s unique characteristics.

So whether you’re looking to launch a new brand, build a brand style guide, or want to invest in brand identity design services, we’ve got some branding tips to help you get started. We’ve broken down the key steps that small businesses need to take to build their brand and visual identity, what makes branding important, and ten great examples of small business branding to help inspire you.

What is business branding?

Business branding is a social selling technique that builds a relationship between a business and its customers. 81% of consumers need to trust a brand to consider buying, so a strong identity is crucial to improving customer loyalty and reaching prospective buyers.

Branding showcases and shares your unique identity with the wider public, highlighting your product's quality and creating a lasting impression. It takes between 5-7 impressions for users to become aware of your brand, so you need to find new and innovative ways to promote your products and create a connection. This helps you stand out amongst your direct competitors and grow your business.

A creative sits at his desk choosing a color palette and font package for a brand

What is the difference between big business and small business branding?

Small businesses don't have all the assets that big businesses do, so their options can be limited when it comes to creating marketing strategies. However, there are some benefits to being a smaller business that can help when building brand identity.

Let's explore these differences in more detail:

  • Resources: Small businesses have limited budgets, and staff that have to wear many hats to cover all the necessary roles. They also have less advanced tools and instead rely on more affordable options.
  • Audience reach: It's harder for small businesses to reach larger national or international audiences so they have to focus on more local or niche marketing approaches.
  • Flexibility: Larger businesses often place a lot of emphasis on consistency meaning they're slower to adapt to new trends. Small businesses however can adapt quickly allowing them to be more creative.
  • Strategy: A small business can focus on grassroots marketing and authentic brand storytelling, while a bigger business will focus on more integrated campaigns and long-term brand equity.
  • Customer relationships: Large-scale enterprises can struggle to create personal interactions making it hard for them to build customer loyalty.
  • Brand image: Smaller businesses have to work harder to establish themselves in their market, bigger businesses have the benefits of an established reputation and polished corporate identity.

How to build your brand identity

Branding is about more than just creating a cohesive visual identity: it's a culmination of visual and nonvisual elements that showcase your brand personality.

Taking on a branding project for a small business is a great opportunity to showcase what makes it unique without the pressures of multiple stakeholders and large corporate budgets.

Determine your brand's purpose

Every business needs to have a 'why'. This is what speaks to potential customers and explains your core values and the main reason your brand exists in the first place. It explains why your customers choose your brand over your competitors and is a crucial part of your branding strategy.

Your purpose should closely align with your brand stories so ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why did you create your company?
  • What principles have guided you as you've evolved?
  • How will your values guide you in the future?

Crafting a clear purpose statement can help you combine these answers and explain the reasonings for your brand to your customers.

Know your target audience

As a small business owner, you need to know who your target customers are: What are they looking at and how does your business relate to their needs and resonate with these potential customers?

You can't create a brand identity if you don't know who you're talking to so take time to discover who your primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences are. It helps to develop specific customer personas that define their likes and dislikes, hobbies, needs, and values.

Create assets

Branding is about more than just your logo design: it involves comprehensive brand identity design to create a cohesive visual identity. Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to translate these insights into marketing materials.

Additional branding assets include:

  • Logo
  • Color palette
  • Typography
  • Brand voice
  • Iconography, photography, and graphic guidelines
  • Brand style guide

When building these assets you should remember the three Cs:

  1. Clarity: How clear is your brand voice? If your audience has to work to interpret your content, then your branding isn’t clear enough.
  2. Consistency: All your brand marketing needs to share the same message, whether it’s on your social media platforms or a billboard. Consistency builds trust and customer loyalty.
  3. Commitment: Great branding takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get things right the first time. Staying committed to your strategy is key.

Build a brand story

Your brand's story is a big part of building your brand. Not to be confused with your origin story, your brand story builds an emotional connection between your brand and its target audience.

Your brand story should answer questions like:

  • What does your brand believe in?
  • What points does your product solve?
  • How does your business solve customer problems?
  • Why did you decide that your business should address those pain points?
  • Where do you see your business in the future?

Your brand story is more than an elevator sales pitch. It's an explanation of how and why your brand relates to your customers.

Research competitors

Before you can stand out in your field, you need to understand what's already out there. Research the businesses that offer a similar service or product to you, whether that's in the online marketplace or local geographically.

Consider both direct and indirect competitors. For example, if you're a local bakery, you should consider other bakeries (direct competitors) as well as general stores that sell baked goods (indirect competitors).

When gathering data ask questions like:

  • What do they offer and how do their prices compare to yours?
  • How do they promote their business and what marketing channels do they use?
  • What do customers like about them and what are common complaints?

By identifying these patterns and trends you can identify their strengths and weaknesses and capitalize on them. For example, if other local bakeries are criticized for their lack of variety, you can highlight the amount of options you provide.

Adapt over time

Brand identities naturally evolve over time as they adapt to meet both new customer and market demands. Once you've created your initial identity you should take time to refine it based on customer feedback.

Testing new strategies can help you stay ahead of the curve. For example, you could try out new logos or taglines via A/B testing to see which is better at bringing in new customers.

Image shows a graphic designer testing different color patterns and fonts for small business branding

Tips for building a strong brand identity

Focus on quality

What's the difference between a small business and a brand? A strong sense of identity that sticks in your customer's minds. Small business branding is all about quality.

To draw in your ideal customer you need to focus on marketing activities that prove that your products and services can compete with other businesses. The key to revenue growth is obtaining (and maintaining) happy repeat customers: ensure they're completely satisfied with your service.

Build a strong online presence

77% of consumers prefer shopping with brands they follow on social media. Having a strong online presence can have a huge impact on your branding efforts.

Stand out from your competitors with carefully curated social media posts or invest in search engine optimization strategies so you can reach more customers organically.

Be unique

A unique brand identity design is a great way to stand out from your competitors and resonate with your customers on a personal level. Start by developing a distinctive tagline that captures the essence of your business and choose an identifiable color scheme that reflects your values and ethos. These elements work together to establish a strong, memorable connection with your audience.

Learn new branding strategies

The more you know about branding strategies, the easier it is to build a successful brand for your small business. Researching and understanding branding techniques is just the first step. Take time to experiment with different ideas and approaches to discover what resonates most with your target audience.

It's unlikely that your first attempt will be a hit, but by continually refining your strategies, you’ll be able to create a strong, memorable brand that stands out in the marketplace.

The best examples of small business branding


A screenshot of the website homepage for Billy Kirk

Founded in Los Angeles by two brothers, BILLYKIRK has dedicated the last 25 years to helping support and grow the American leather industry. Their branding illustrates their commitment to traditional craftsmanship, durability, and a timeless style that speaks to their target market.

Their brand speaks to those who value quality and heritage. This authentic voice helps them craft long-term relationships with their customers, helping them to create a loyal fanbase.

2. Death Wish Coffee

A screenshot of the website for Death Wish Coffee

In a market that's already monopolized by big brands, Death Wish Coffee found a way to reach a whole new target market without offering anything particularly unique. For years coffee brands have catered to family-friendly markets. Death Wish Coffee took a different approach.

They chose darker brand colors to highlight their high caffeine content and their more direct and brash brand voice speaks to a younger demographic of hardcore coffee drinkers.

3. The Sill

A screenshot of The Sill's website homepage

The Sill markets itself as a plant expert for people living in cities. They offer a range of plants, from the simple day-to-day house plants to some of the larger, rarer plants that you may struggle to find in rarer areas.

Their branding aims to make gardening cool again and looks at plants from an interior design perspective. They support their customers by offering a mix of plant care products and gardening advice while selling trendy plant accessories like pots and wall hangings.

4. Dollar Shave Club

A screen shot of the home page for Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club is a subscription-based shaving service that delivers razors directly to their customer's door. Its branding focuses on its high-quality products, easy delivery, and affordable options while planting itself as the future of shaving.

Unlike larger competitors, they offer a range of products associated with shaving like skincare and razor accessories. Their branding ideas are often tongue-in-cheek, and their marketing strategy has a humourous and quirky tone.

5. Bombay Electric

This image for Bombay Electric demonstrates the branding used in their gift package and tags

Bombay Electric is an upscale fashion outlet located in Mumbai, India. Their branding is filled with bright, vibrant colors and kaleidoscopic images. Created by Paris-based designer Micheal Thorsby, the branding elements match the beautiful vibrant colors that are often synonymous is India.

Gradients are used through their products to ensure brand consistency. They were created to resemble blurry abstract photographs, aiming to look like art installations from famous artists including Ann Veronica Janssens's installation. This complex branding hoped to bring in a more sophisticated and fashionable audience that values brand loyalty.

6. Popcorn Shed

This image shows the website home page for Popcorn Shed

When it comes to small business branding, Popcorn Shed knows what they're doing. Their goal was clear, they wanted to bring back the childhood magic of popcorn while incorporating gourmet adult flavors.

Inspired by stories like Willy Wonka, the packaging is fun and playful, filled with bright colors and whimsical designs. Unlike larger companies, Popcorn Shed takes a hands-on approach to creating their product. While other brands typically use spray-on techniques to coat their product, Popcorn Shed hand coats their product to get the best result.

7. Bien Cuit

A screenshot of the homepage for Bien Cuit which is french for "well done" in reference to the steak serving preference

Taking their name from the French phrase meaning "well done", Bien Cuit bakery in Brooklyn, New York has quickly become a local legend. Known for its dark and crunch sourdough bread, the brand highlights the benefits of slow-baked bread compared to the cheaper and more convenient store-bought options.

When flipped their name highlights their main goal - bread "done well". Their visual branding is classic and chic, they don't try to oversell their product and instead rely on their existing customers appreciating their craft and therefore higher price tag.

8. The First Mess

A screen shot taken of the website home page for a small business brand called The First Mess

The First Mess is a vegan food blog based in Ontario, Canada. Run by Laura, now a published vegan cookbook author, the blog shares plenty of delicious vegan recipes along with the odd post on using up some of the less exciting ingredients in your fridge.

The blog's success comes from its ability to evoke positive emotions around plant-based food. While often polarizing, the blog's imagery highlights the beauty of plant-based food with bright colors and diverse textures. Laura was quick to recognize this and formats all her images to fit perfectly on sites like Pinterest where a lot of her audience sits.


A screenshot for the brand R X bar. The headline reads "twelve grams of protein. Zero grams of B S"

RXBAR is a strong brand targeted to strong people. Its branding and packaging stand out for its simplicity and transparency which resonates strongly with health-conscious consumers. The brand prominently displays its core ingredients on the front of its packaging, emphasizing the natural ingredients inside.

This straightforward approach builds trust and appeals to those seeking clean and straightforward nutrition options. The brand differentiates itself in the crowded snack bar market by focusing on whole food ingredients and avoiding unnecessary additives. By only displaying the logo design and ingredients, their branding denotes their transparency and helps them build a loyal fanbase.

10. Imperfect Foods

The image is a screenshot for a brand called Imperfect Food who aim to fight food waste

Starting as a crowdfunding campaign in 2015, Imperfect Foods has grown into a strong brand and food delivery business. Their brand vision is to help eliminate food waste and build a better food delivery system. They source food from local suppliers across 38 US states and deliver produce directly to doorsteps nationwide.

What makes their business branding so successful is their ability to market food imperfections. Mass food suppliers often want to highlight the uniformity of their products, as many consumers see imperfections as poor-quality produce. To combat this they took on a simple yet effective brand strategy. Their website and social media accounts are filled with lovable characters created by adding googly eyes and stick arms to misshapen produce. This playful marketing strategy helps to shift use perception and grow their small business.

Wrapping up

Strong branding is essential for small businesses. It impacts customer experience, boosts business growth, and creates brand loyalty. It doesn't matter if your small business is struggling with budget and time constraints, brand marketing is an effective way to showcase your business's unique characteristics and help it stand out from your competitors.

Small business branding is about more than just great visuals. It's about crafting a compelling brand story, understanding your target audience, and consistently delivering your message.

But one of the first and most crucial steps to take is understanding your audience. With Capsule CRM you can better understand what your customers like and don't like about business, helping you to better meet their needs and grow your brand. To find out more, try Capsule CRM free for 14 days.

Try Capsule CRM free for 14 daysGet started