Most people, when they think of the difference between BIG and SMALL Business Branding think Apple, Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, and how they can look so good, and be so ubiquitous…

But remember, these are big, established, revolutionary brands. Those are wonderful brands, but they aren’t meant to be your guide for small business branding. In fact, you should most likely do the opposite of what the big brands are up to.

To go back to Apple for our example, they have a simple, clean, beautiful apple icon. Most of their advertising only shows this icon, often as a singular color against a background that creates a sharp contrast.

It’s stunning. It looks high-tech, futuristic, and expensive. Which is perfect for Apple.

Chances are, it’s not a good look for your business though. I don’t know what business you are in, but chances are if you are selling mops, it’s not going to do you much good to have a brand that looks and feels like Apple’s, even if it is as equally beautiful.

The big brands play to their advantages with their branding. They are big, established, and they know it.

A brand like Ferrari is creating a prestigious perception through their branding, and they can because they have a rich racing history and beautiful cars.

As a small business, can you say you have the same history? If you can, go for it, but if you cannot, be true to yourself.

A company such as Amazon has competitive advantages that you might not. They sell everything and their brand communicates that wonderfully. Everything from A to Z, with a smile.

But if a smaller or more specific focus, trying to emulate the Amazon brand wouldn’t work for you at all! In fact it would hurt you as people would come to expect a level of service and a large variety of products that you don’t deliver.

To put things more bluntly, you have to make due with what you have got, and be authentic. You may not be able to tell the story Ferrari can, or match the variety and service of Amazon, but that’s ok because you have your own strengths to play to.

Perhaps you don’t have the massive inventory of Amazon, but you have handpicked, curated, one of a kind items. If so, your branding should reflect that one of a kind nature to your inventory, as that is something Amazon could never match.

As a small business you can be more personable, more customized, or more boutique. You can be more nimble, more focused. You can be branded as the innovative newcomer, or the fun alternative.

The point being is that there are many unique, great ways to brand your small business, but emulating a big business’s brand is not the way to do it. Their brands are specifically curated to play to their strengths, which are very different from yours.

You should aspire to to have your brand be as powerful as theirs, but you shouldn’t aspire to be like them. That isn’t a good brand. Play to your strengths, what makes you special, and watch as your brand becomes its own force in the marketplace.

That’s small business branding done right.

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