How much should I invest in branding?
What is branding?
First things first. What do you consider as branding? Many people distill branding down to a set of design elements that they can leverage to sell their products or services. This is perfectly acceptable if you're a small business or just starting. But if you've been around the block a few times, you know that branding can bring much more meaning to a company. Indeed, it can become the most valuable company asset.
Your brand becomes the gut feeling that your company inspires. It's your reputation before you ever meet your customer or client. It's the first impression you make. You have once chance for that. What are you going to do with it? All of the above is expressed through art, copy, culture, and service. But right here, right now, at what level do you invest? It can be difficult to navigate, so here are some suggestions to consider.
Don't wait until you really need it.
Our advice may seem counterintuitive, but a great time for change is when business is comfortable. Comfort is relative, so consider these questions:
The best time to invest in your brand is when you have cash and before you find yourself cornered by the competition. It's a forward-thinking commitment. Our branding process alone takes anywhere from six to ten weeks. Generating branded content involves resources and consistency, and the benefits are long-term. If you’re aware you need marketing or branding and feel pressure to make money right away, then you’ll be frustrated by the amount of time it takes to see gains. This bit of wisdom cannot be overstated.
Smaller, younger brands can seem to take so long to get off the ground while more successful brands seem ubiquitous and enduring. Apple or Coca-Cola don’t need to advertise in the sense that they’re well known. But the fact that they dedicate so much of their budget and resources to maintaining a brand standard is a big reason they’ve climbed to the top and remained there.
Where are you in your growth cycle?
Our Brand Plans provide different levels of service to equip companies at various stages in their lifecycle. For instance, the Emerge Plan suits smaller companies that need to lay the foundation for deeper brand work that can be done down the line. Good candidates for this plan include established small businesses and funded startups that need to take things to the next level.
If you are an established small business competing with larger companies, consider a plan like the Evolve Plan which provides a deeper look into what makes your business unique. Why should someone choose you over your more established competitor? We root out the answers and provide more robust deliverables with this package.
The Evolve Plan includes everything our Emerge Plan has plus defined client personas and brand attributes in our Brand Matrix Workshop. The latter of these can be used as cultural and brand pillars by answering the questions:
What do you do?
looking to define their culture and solidify their brand long-term should opt for our Transform Plan. As the name implies, this package is for companies looking to undergo cultural and image renewal within their markets. This package includes everything as the previous two plus written core values, a brand competitor report, and our premium company brand guide.
The Brand Competitor Report surveys the competitive landscape and digs into specific ways you can differentiate yourself.