As all small business owners know, there are a lot of valuable things to invest in early on.
First there’s your inventory, then you want to have all the latest systems in place and then you might need some advertising to help people find you… The list goes on.
But there’s one thing we often forget about, and without it, all these other investments might be worthless.
I’m talking about your brand.
Without a strong brand, people won’t remember (or trust) your advertising.
Without effective advertising, it will be difficult to drive demand for your offering.
Without demand, you won’t have a loyal customer base to sustain your business.
Without a customer base…. You get the picture!
Establishing a strong brand is one thing to prioritise early on, so you can start reaping the rewards sooner.
Is branding really an investment?
The short answer is, yes. An effective branding strategy will easily pay for itself (and then some).
Now let’s start by saying a brand is much, much more than just your logo.
Your brand encompasses everything from your customer service, to your product quality, to your company values.
However, all of these things are fairly intangible to your potential customers. So how can you show them you're a business worth trusting and caring about before they spend money with you?
This is where your logo and other visual branding elements become your secret weapon. They help you communicate all of this value to people in seconds, so they can feel confident choosing you over the competition.
Just think about the last three businesses you spent money with - did they have a strong brand? Chances are they did and that’s part of the reason you shopped with them. And if they didn’t? You probably had a hard time remembering them just now, didn’t you?
And if you’re still looking for more hard evidence of how a strong brand directly brings a return on investment, I have one more example for you.
Just think about any Apple device; there is a laundry list of competitors out there making products at a lower price point, with the same (sometimes better) functional benefits, yet time and time again, people are happy to pay a premium for the latest iPhone or MacBook. Why?
What all these market leaders have in common is a strong brand.
Now you might not be competing on this international scale just yet, but no matter your goals, the same principle applies. Your brand is the foundation that will help you attract more customers (with much less effort) and command a higher price in exchange for what you’re offering them.
Ultimately, if you want to charge a premium price for your product or service, then you need to look like a premium quality business, and that’s what effective branding can help you achieve.
Branding is a long-term business decision
When you invest in your branding, you're laying the foundation of something that will become a highly valuable business asset for you in the future.
If you’re considering trademarking your name and logo one day, you’ll want to ensure you’re happy with them! Unless you really like spending extra money on filing fees…
What’s more, inexpensive logos generated from online design services or at too-good-to-be-true prices are often based on templates that aren’t really unique. This not only leaves you with branding that looks like everyone else’s, but it could cause problems if you ever try to trademark those assets in the future.
Getting your branding right in the early days can definitely make your life easier in the long-run as your business grows!
Basic branding won’t hurt though, will it?
So I’ve spoken a lot about how the right branding can help your business, but if you’re making do with some DIY or kinda-dodgy design work right now, could that actually hurt your business?
My answer is: it may, or it may not, but do you really want to risk it?
If you’re lucky enough to have found your blue ocean, or a pocket of the market with low competition and lots of demand, then you might just get away with that MS Word logo for a little while...
Buuut if you’re in a mildly competitive industry (like most of us!), or anything where appearances are important for customers to take you seriously (fashion, hospitality, beauty, marketing, the list goes on) then your visual branding really does need to be a priority from day one.
So Kat, what if I’ve done my current branding “on the cheap”? Am I screwed?
First of all, don’t panic, it’s definitely not the end of the world! But I do recommend taking the opportunity to get it sorted sooner rather than later. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
Here’s what you need to do:
Grab my free DIY brand audit, and see if it might be time to give your branding an overhaul.
If so, reach out to a professional graphic designer for some help! I promise we don’t bite, and you’ll feel instantly at ease once you hand over to someone that does this work daily.
If that lucky designer you choose happens to be me, you can grab my price guide or get in touch here. I’d love to help you ditch those branding headaches for good.
I really hope these tips put you at ease and show just what a difference some professional branding can make for your business. If you have any questions for me, I’d love for you to leave them in the comments and I’ll answer you!