When people think of branding, they often think of just a logo or business card. Or they think they will never have the budget to “brand effectively.” Branding is something that is easily attainable and affordable if you put the right thought and effort into it.
Dispelling the five popular branding myths below is key to starting that process and transforming your business.
Branding is not rocket science. It simply requires focused thought about what you want your business to stand for and to whom, and then a commitment to communicate that message through everything you do visually and experientially. Once all the processes, websites, and logos are in place, you aren’t done. You never stop being a steward for your brand. You need to constantly be vigilant and regularly do a “system check” on your materials, business practices, customer service, and messaging to ensure your brand is clear and consistent. You also need to commit to living your values and ensuring that all your employees and partners can verbalize and live those values as well.
Effective branding can be done on any budget, truly. The real key to effective branding is making sure that you have defined, in detail, your ideal audience and that your business messages speak directly to their needs and the benefits they value.
Once you have done that, you can work more effectively with a designer to determine your logo or website experience and a writer to craft your brochure and website messaging.
Consistency and clarity in messaging (visual and verbal) – NOT how much money you spend promoting your brand – is what makes your brand effective. So if you can spend only $200 on a logo, you can still ensure that it communicates exactly what you want, to whom you want to reach.
True, you may not be able to do multimillion-dollar ad campaigns or sponsor extravagant sporting events. But with clear, consistent, and strong messages, you ensure that even those three or four activities you can afford to do are laser-focused.
Brand equity can make or break a company. And if you think branding has no financial impact, just ask private-equity firms that “buy” brands for billions of dollars, all for the brand cachet or loyal customer base.
That’s the reason people will pay three times as much for a white T-shirt at Nordstrom than they would at Target. Your brand translates into bottom-line sales when done effectively.
You can’t deny that if you build a strong foundation and communicate it to the right people at the right time, you will attract just the interested customer you seek. In addition, a strong brand guides all the other marketing decisions that fuel your company’s growth: where to advertise, whom to partner with, how to price your product, etc.
All designers are not the same. Some designers get it and some don’t. And, sometimes, you get what you pay for in that regard.
Good designers should understand your target market, the message you want to convey, and how imagery, font, color, and spacing affect the subconscious connections people will make about your company. And they should be experienced enough to make some clear recommendations. It’s worth it’s weight in gold to spend a bit more on a designer and work with someone capable who asks about your brand and your ideal customer.
Branding and direct-response marketing are two different things. People need to experience your brand multiple times before it sticks. You need to have it out there, present in all your customer touch points, before deciding whether it works.
Branding is about awareness and “mindshare” (the spaces you occupy in people’s minds when they see your logo or hear your name). That takes time to build. The Nike swoosh had no meaning during the first three months after it was introduced.
Branding is about storytelling. It’s about being smarter, more personal, and more creative than ever. Avoid the myths above and transform your business with a successful brand that is supported by your entire organization and fan base.
Thanks for spending some time with me today!