As a serial-entrepreneur and small business owner myself, I know exactly what it’s like to bootstrap a business.
We all do it in our own ways, but for me, at the start of my business journey, it looked like moving halfway across the world to cut my personal living costs in half. Okay, that reason and intense desire to experience life in a new culture. But that’s for another time.
If you’re reading this, chances are, you have a brand or business, or at the very least have an idea and are itching to get it into the world. There are many routes a business owner can take for so-called “branding.” What is branding, anyways?
Oh… So it’s not just a matter of choosing your three favorite colors and typing out your name in Helvetica in a coloured circle? Daaaaamn Chelsea! Who knew?
I love the way that Shopify’s definition of branding puts it into the lens of the customer. Branding is about the way your customer sees and perceives your brand. It’s actually not about YOU thinking a font is pretty, or that a shade of ocean blue probably suit because it’s calm and also your favourite colour. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news here, but your branding, at it’s core, isn’t about you, but rather about your ideal customer.
It’s doing the deep work to discover and refine your values, what you do, who you do it for, where their values intersect yours, and WHY people will choose to buy from you.
It’s then, and only then, that the logos, the stunning font selections, colour theory, illustrations (all the fun stuff) can be born in a way that is aligned, that will convert your ideal customers into a) fans and b) customers.
As a designer, I’m (unfortunately) very familiar with the perception that design work, particularly branding, is overpriced, or at least, very expensive.
When I’m met with these perceptions in my Inbox, DMs, or (cringe) my face IRL, I know that this person doesn’t realize:
The behind the scenes work and hours that go into design (branding especially)
Sadly hasn’t realized the amount of money it is costing their business to be running on DIY or amateur branding.
The above quote is directly related to the ROI that brands experience once they invest in professional branding. Do you want to know why?
It’s because branding is integral in a consumer’s decision making when it comes to purchasing. Why can Nike charge 10x more than Walmart for similar sweatpants? How can Apple sell phones for triple the price of Samsung with similar features?
The answer is two fold, because it is in part related to the quality of the product, however the increase in quality does not reflect equally the percentage of price increase. In theory, popular companies like these can charge whatever they want for their products, with big thanks to their branding and the widespread recognition it has created. Consumers know, like and trust their brands. They recognize them and desire to buy from them. When you’re a sought after brand, you no longer have to partake in price battling your competition, because people will buy from you even if you’ve got the highest price on the market.
If you’re looking for ways to reach your audience and gain more customers but keep coming up with minimal results trying all sorts of marketing strategies; continue going back to basics and looking inward to your branding.
Does your brand convey a particular message? Speak to a particular person? Convey a particular feeling? Does it look attractive and use a style that would catch the eye of someone in your target audience?
If your answer was no to any of these questions, it’s likely time to re-brand (or invest in branding in the first place). Once you’ve done so, you’ll (likely immediately) start seeing results in the way of it feeling easier to reach, connect, build trust, and ultimately make sales to your ideal audience.
I hope you found this helpful- please reach out with any questions you have about branding or re-branding your business and the investment/ ROI associated with the process.