I’m so passionate about branding because I know the benefits of what great branding can do for your business.
And some small business owners think that they don’t need to worry about branding because they’re not looking to become a big corporation.
But branding isn’t only for big companies. Branding is for every type of business...even for the small businesses out there.
If you’re ready to give up the overwhelm of trying to figure out how to keep your business open...and you’re ready to set your business up for long-term growth, great branding is what you need.
When you’re first starting your business, I get that you have to be resourceful and be smart about where you spend your money.
You need equipment to produce your products. You need materials. You need business cards. You need a logo. A website. You need to market yourself to bring in business so that you can eventually invest in great branding.
And so for the time being, you decide that you’ll just figure it out on your own.
And that’s why so many people put it off.
But then let’s say you’re a year or two or three into your business, and you feel like, at this point, you should have enough profit margin to invest in something so crucial, but as soon as income starts to roll in, it goes right back out...not allowing you to create a business that’s sustainable.
Does that sound like you?
Branding is like a game plan…it’s your strategy for long-term growth. Branding helps streamline everything upfront so you don’t end up wasting thousands of dollars on marketing or redoing a website that didn’t bring you any results in the first place.
I can get into deep discussions about this with people. I’ve heard from business leaders that branding is not something you should worry about when you’re first starting your business. But they’re more or less talking about your design or the visual aspect of your business (which still is very important).
A lot of business owners have a hard time figuring out who their target audience is or what irresistible offer they’ll have available to their customers. They’re still trying to figure out who they are as a business.
I get that. But people don’t realize that that is actually part of branding! It’s the brand strategy and development side of your business.
If someone offers to do your branding for your business, make sure it’s someone who will help with your strategy too. Because branding isn’t only about your visuals. Branding includes the strategy that actually helps your business grow.
Think of branding as the foundation of your business. It helps you establish your vision, your offer, your values, how you’re different from your competitors, your brand personality and voice...all the fundamentals you need to build your particular business.
It’s kind of like the age-old question of…
Would you rather invest a bigger chunk of money upfront or pay smaller amounts over time but end up spending twice or even three times as much in the end?
Let’s address a couple of myths I hear all the time when it comes to branding.
With great resources out there, we’re becoming more and more of a DIY society.
But the thing is, if you’re not an expert in branding and haven’t been trained, you’re only hurting yourself in the long run.
If you do want to create your brand on your own...at the very least get guidance from a professional so you’re not alone. They’ll save you from the overwhelm AND help you take the most direct path when it comes to creating your brand.
There’s a lot when it comes to branding. But it doesn’t have to be huge undertaking with an expert.
Listen, you work hard for your business...it’s your dream. And I genuinely want you to not only have a business, but I want you to have a thriving one. Not one that looks like your competitor down the street.
I want you to have one that’s uniquely yours. One that makes people choose your business over someone else’s. Because you have your own journey and your own story to share. No cookie cutter stuff, ok?? That’s what I want for you! Your own unique brand.
I’ll admit, ever since I was a little kid, I absolutely love to learn how to do things on my own.
One day, our kitchen sink got plugged up, and we couldn’t get the water to drain at all. At first, I tried doing all the things I knew how to do.
I boiled some water and poured it down the drain.
I went out and bought baking soda and vinegar and tried that method.
I even bought three different types of product that guaranteed an unclogged drain.
And yet...still nothing worked.
I spent hours online learning all the different methods to try.
And I tried them.
I even learned how to undo the pipes under the sink and cleaned out all the gunk. It was so gross. I did this a few times because nothing seemed to be working.
I went out and bought more products and even bought a snake.
I want to say I spent around $150 over the course of five days trying to unclog the kitchen sink on my own.
Five days is a lot of time when you’re busy.
And it’s five days I could’ve spent focused on my business.
We ended up calling a plumber. They were quick to come over and got our sink all cleared up in a matter of minutes.
It ended up costing me $230. Which, yes, was still more than I paid for my products….
But I still had a clogged sink when I tried to do it myself.
And those five days?? I would never get them back.
If I had called the professionals from the very beginning, I could’ve saved myself the $150 I spent on products that didn’t help…AND I could’ve spent the time focused on my business.
Next time, I’m calling a professional. Lesson learned.
So how does this relate to your business?
We’ve all experienced some kind of do-it-yourself brand.
We all try and save money where we can. I totally get it. And I applaud the resourcefulness. I really do.
Let’s say there’s a business that sells high-quality jewelry. And they say they care about all the details of their products, and only use the best quality materials to command those high-dollar prices.
They want you to feel like royalty.
So you order that necklace you’ve been eyeing for awhile...the one that you decide to spend a little more money on.
But when it comes in the mail, it doesn’t come in a professional looking box, but a padded envelope addressed in sloppy handwriting.
And when you open the envelope, the necklace is in a ziploc bag.
It’s got a business card inside. But it’s printed on cheap paper...and from an inkjet printer.
Looks very homemade.
You’d question the authenticity of the necklace, wouldn’t you? I know I would.
Be honest...how do you feel when something feels DIY? For me, if I’m honest, I don’t feel like the business is legit. I don’t think they’re experts in what they do. I think they’re hobbyists.
And if a company’s website looks unprofessional, I don’t do business with them because I don’t trust that they can do what they say they can do.
Your visuals are the first impressions of your business. And you want your visuals to align with your vision and strategy.
Do you want people to take your business seriously? Do you want your customers to know that they’re being taken care of by professionals?
Studies show that 90% of people judge the credibility of a business by how it looks.
People will judge whether you can really provide the solution they need based on their first impressions of your business. Don’t risk turning away potential customers with a brand that doesn’t look professional.
I met someone recently who wanted to get some feedback on the logo for his business. He spent a few weeks on one, but then asked a friend who was somewhat of a designer to create one that was better looking.
He loved the new logo his friend made. She was a modern calligrapher, and she hand lettered his logo. It was beautiful.
He had used this logo on his website and all of his marketing materials.
He got some compliments on the logo for sure, but he wasn’t getting any customers.
He loved his new logo, so he wondered where the disconnect was.
For one thing, his target audience was primarily male. And although some of his customers liked the logo, the majority didn’t feel like they connected to it. Which meant, they didn’t feel connected to his business and didn’t feel like his business could help them specifically.
Visually, he was attracting people who weren’t his ideal clients...and when those people realized that, they went on to take their business elsewhere.
The people who actually fit his target audience were not interested in his business at all because they didn’t feel a connection to this new look. They just thought, “This isn’t for me.”
It’s important to understand that your visuals are just one of many parts of your brand. It’s an important part because first impressions are vital, but it’s still just one part of your story.
Effective brand visuals (which include your logo) take a lot of skill and training. Creating a logo that doesn’t align with your strategy – vision, values, target audience, and positioning – could really make things confusing. (If you provide quality services with attention to detail, but your brand lacks detail, that will send a conflicting message to potential customers.)
The moral of the story is: bad design can actually cost you money.
Having your company branded professionally is an investment, yes...but it’s one worth making.
Branding companies can sometimes charge up to $175,000 depending on the size of your company. (I’m not saying you should spend this much...it just depends on a variety of things… the size of the business, if they’re a super recognizable company, if they need a major overhaul, etc.)
Not investing in a professional will most likely cost your business MORE if you don’t have a cohesive and consistent brand in place.
Some people think that cheap logo-maker sites are the solution to creating a brand, but those logos aren’t unique to your particular business and won’t help your business long term.
These sites are usually what small business owners default to to try and save money, but those logos feel homemade and aren’t custom to your business.
Anyone struggling to stand out from their competitors?? If you use a logo template, there’s a good chance your competitor has one that looks similar to yours. So what are you doing to help customers choose your business over theirs?
Someone who is willing to just create a “quick” logo for you isn't invested in the growth of your business. And most of these logos are a copycat of another which could cause a lot of trouble in your business later down the road.
Branding is one of the most important investments you can make for your business.
And while there are brand agencies that charge up to tens of thousands of dollars, there are some that focus on small-business branding and have affordable rates.
Just make sure you invest with someone who cares about the growth of your business and is not in it just to make a dollar.
Whether you realize it or not, your business has a brand.
How you choose the name of your company, how you deliver on your promises, the way you execute your services, and what your customers say about you – all of that creates an impression of what it’s like to do business with you. And that’s what branding is.
Your brand is what people say about you. It’s your reputation.
I met someone recently who told me that she had already made her business cards and just needed a logo.
I asked her why she made her business cards already if she didn’t have a logo yet. And she told me that she didn’t think having her logo on her business card was important.
I asked her what she did.
She told me that she helped businesses scale and grow through different programs she had access to. And that she also did some fitness coaching.
So I asked again what she did exactly, and she continued to tell me that she has in-person meetings to talk about nutrition and exercise to her clients.
And that she works at a gym. But that’s apparently her side hustle.
So then I wondered how her business was doing if she had to have a side hustle.
She went on to tell me that she also offers incentives for businesses to give to their clients to help them generate more referrals.
Are you confused?? I definitely was.
So I asked her what her main business was, and she said all of the above.
I don’t know how I could be, but I was even more confused.
I want everyone to succeed in their business so I asked her if she wanted some help with branding because if I’m confused about what her business is, I’m sure she was losing so many customers because they were too.
She said she didn’t need a brand because she offered different things. And that she actually does what I do…branding.
Just from that one conversation, I got the impression that she just wanted to make money. It didn’t matter how...and that she didn’t really care about helping people – or at least that’s the impression I got. She wasn’t an expert in anything.
If you’re confusing your customers about what you do and how you help them, you’re losing business.
Branding is one of the most important investments you can make in your business. It’s not just for big companies, it’s for small businesses too.
It’s important that you know who you are as a brand so you can help your customers understand who you are too.
Until next time,