Small businesses struggle with individuality according to new research

UK small businesses are merging in to one with one in six not adequately describing their offering.

According to figures released in Vistaprint’s Small Business Uniqueness Report, small businesses show a lack of individuality when it comes to branding characteristics including language, colour and font. This has prompted concern over the impact this has on wider small business stability.

The report, by leading small business print and digital marketing material provider, Vistaprint, found a strong percentage of UK small businesses do not adequately describe themselves and some don’t even include a description. For many, the internet is the first point of interaction between brand and customer, however if small businesses don’t use appropriate language to communicate, they could rank poorly in internet searches and consequently miss out on sales opportunities.

For those small businesses that did describe themselves, much of the language used was found to be generic and did not express individuality. 74% of small businesses used the same top ten adjectives repeatedly within website copy.  These included Family run, Independent, Specialists and Friendly. By using the same language, businesses risk merging into one and need to consider better ways to stand out from competition.

The study suggests that small businesses are also not leveraging colour choices to stand out. The vast majority (46%) choose blue in their branding followed by grey (21%) and then red (18%).  Colour choices can say a lot to a customer about the type of business they are and Vistaprint recently found the colour blue represented competence, dependability, trust and security.

Jake Amos Head of UK Marketing at Vistaprint said: “There are so many brilliant creative and individual small businesses in the UK, however there is a disconnect in how many of them communicate that individuality to the world. It can be overwhelming for small business owners when first starting out and knowing the best way to brand and market their business is an important step in their journey towards success. We created this report as we want to support small businesses in uncovering their unique qualities to help them better stand out from the crowd and achieve their vision”.

Font also plays a huge part in distinguishing a brand’s individuality so using different typefaces could mean poor brand recall in the future. The report found 77% of UK small businesses use more than one typeface for website copy and 51% use three or more.  Sans-Serif was the most popular font with a quarter of websites choosing this typeface. Arial was a close second with 19% choosing it. Small business owners should consider using one distinct font across all of their marketing materials to ensure brand consistency.

Amos added: “Small businesses were born to stand out from the crowd. That being said, it is always challenging to juggle different entrepreneurial roles when first starting out.  As a result, there is a need for additional support.  Businesses have individuality, they just need a helping hand and the tools to know how to communicate it.”