The Importance of Branding

The Importance of Branding

The Importance of Branding (plus a laugh)

I have to admit – I laughed when I saw this one. Whether it is real or just yet another prank that has circled the internet – I am not sure, however it does highlight the importance of branding in your business and the need to get it right! Megaflicks may not be a business in Australia – yet it is definitely a well circulated “joke” thanks to this poor logo design.  This business is known – but not in the intended way.

So how important is branding?

A brand is more than just a logo. It is about the message that is communicated and recalled and associated with your business when people identify your logo. It simply starts with your logo.

Branding is a highly important investment in your business and it can be a bit of a process! Realistically it is something that does take a lot of work in the first year or so of your business, however it is something that is definitely worth the time and the effort. Think of the difference between those who have their homemade business cards and details written down on a piece of paper versus those who have the professional business cards and a clear understanding and ability to communicate what they do and how well they can do it. The person with the homemade cards and details may be better at their job – but the person with the professional brand has a more professional image and better able to “cold sell” and obtain new customers with their professional approach.

Many business owners (especially new business owners) are overly reluctant to invest time and money into a full branding project – especially since branding and graphic design experts can come with very high price tags. Admittedly – in the early stages of my business – I was also hesitant. I was very careful with where my money was spent as I was trying to prioritise my costs with respect to what would have the most impact on the growth of my business. The thing is branding needs to be looked and reviewed on a regular basis. You need to make it work for you rather than against you (as per the Megaflicks logo above).

It comes back down to the old “Time vs Money” scenario. You spend the money or you spend the time. In some cases you spend both – however you spend the money more effectively with the knowledge behind you. Branding doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money – if you are prepared to take the time to learn more about it yourself and invest time in the research process. If you know what questions to ask and to work through, you can facilitate the process of branding more effectively. Admittedly the process will be a bit slower than when you work with a specialist in the area, however if you are prepared to take the additional time you can save yourself a lot of money in the process as well as develop a better understanding of your brand and how you might incorporate it into your everyday business practices.

A strong brand has many advantages:

  • You / Your business becomes more readily identified in the marketplace
  • Business growth as word spreads
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Increased word-of-mouth advertising
  • Increased monetary value of your brand
  • A clear understanding of what you and your brand represent
  • Makes “selling” your business much easier (since customers will be familiar with the product and the business already. Your reputation will proceed you!)

Even in the early stages of my business – people had begun to recognise my logo! That is fantastic! For example “I saw that you had helped create the posters for … Your logo was on it! Are you able to do something like that for me?” and the fact was … my branding project had barely begun. I had only just started getting my logo out there and promoting a more consistent message.

So how do you know how to build your brand?

Before you can answer this you need to take a close look at your business and what it is that you are trying to do. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm a bit and play around with some ideas. After all – everyone needs a place to start.

  1. Firstly – what values do you represent? Write down as many as you care to at this point – sometimes people fill a whole page! Be as creative as you like when writing these – there are no real rules here – just stick to words that represent values. (Tip – if you are getting stuck think of a business that you truly do not want to be like and write down the values that are the opposite! For example – one of my values – honesty – comes from the fact that I truly do not wish to be like the other businesses out there that I have found to be dishonest and misleading to their customers!)
  2. Narrow it down– You don’t want so many values that people get overwhelmed – or that you truly have no idea what to do with it! If you are having trouble narrowing it down consider: Is it a value that is clear and easy to communicate to staff and/or customers? Does it fit with the good / service you are trying to be known for?
  3. Add a bit of flavour to your statements – select the 3 – 4 top values and put them into a vision statement of some sort.
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