What’s your take on branding? Do you agree that investing in it is money and effort well spent? Or is branding something you tuck away at the bottom of your spreadsheet?
If that is the case you might justify your inaction around branding with the following excuses. Read on to see if you catch yourself thinking the following...
Hello? I've Just Ordered Some Branding
I've bought a stock logo and have printed it onto 100 linen shoppers.
Done. You move on to the next item on your list. But hey, not so fast! Your branding is not complete yet. By far. Having a logo is a great start and you’re about to send it into the world x100 for people to see. Great, especially because a strong logo is a key part of your brand building, but it still is only one single visual element. One element of something that has to be much, much bigger.
A Logo Alone Won't Do
Before you design your logo you need to have a brand strategy in place. A brand strategy is a document that defines the essence of your brand. It guides any design and communication decision you’ll ever make. Once the brand strategy is in place you can start thinking of how to create all the single elements at make up the brand identity. Your brand strategy really is the first thing you put in place. Once you have this you can start building out your brand.
The brand identity then will take many shapes. Visual ones such as logo, business card and letterhead, and brand elements that you can hear, such as naming, tone of voice, specific words, copy writing, jingle for your videos or podcast, etc. You’re going to create a whole world around your business idea. You can almost imagine it like creating elements that will act as portals into your world. And you’ll be dotting these portals around the places your audience hangs out. Each portal is an invitation for your audience to engage and to enter into your brand’s zone.
I Don't Need Branding Because My Product Is Totally Unique
Absolutely! Your product is your unique offering, you’ve worked hard on it and that makes you super well placed. But now picture your product in a quality gift box. Depending on your audience, your packaging could be iridescent foil or minimal typography embossed onto recycled paper. Fact is, that if packaged, presented and communicated in a way that appeals to your audience, your product will sell even better. People might even choose it over the fantastic product sitting next to it.
The right branding adds value to your products and has a direct influence on your ability to command a premium price. Having a strong brand will help you build a relationship with your customer, establish trust, and this will show in your books and in the way your audience feels about your business.
My Business Isn't Turning Over Enough To Invest in Branding
This really is a chicken and egg situation. Ideally you’d invest in branding from the start, but this doesn't always work like that.
Still, having no cash for branding isn't an excuse not to do it at all. You'll have to invest more time to get something basic right. You could build up a minimum viable brand and take it from there.
Don’t cut corners in the long run though. Ignore branding and your business will not flourish over time. It may never even take off because your lack of brand strategy means you’re kind of aiming in the right direction but you’re not targeting the right people. The brand strategy will take care of that as well as ensure you catch them at the time when they need you and have attention to spare.
If you’re serious about building your business you have to invest time and money into creating a strategy and branding it. Big companies spend a fortune on branding every year, because they know great branding is essential to their success.
Yes, branding is another task on your list. But if you are a creative sort you are going to love working on this. You can - and should - DIY as much of it as you dare. After all you know your business and customers better than everyone else! Your communications will be all the more authentic and you’ll have a lot of fun in this process of growing and tending to your business.