Why Going Cheap on Your Branding Is One of the Worst Mistakes You Can Make
Your brand has a life.
Believe it or not, this thing you’ve created has legs to stand on, living and breathing every day. While this may sound high-minded, statistics prove otherwise. According to a study compiled by Bop Design, 54 percent of people don’t trust brands. But for those who do, 64 percent cite sharing a common bond with the brand as their primary reason for following or purchasing from them.
Why is this the case? Because your brand is your business's first impression, and if done poorly, possibly the last. To some, branding seems like a luxury investment (and in some cases, this is true). However, going cheap on your brand development could not only lead to a disconnect with potential customers, but could also result in your company shutting its doors as a result of low sales. It's a nightmare scenario for most entrepreneurs, which is why I’m going to go over a few reasons why investing in your brand is one of the wisest investments you could make.
A story you can sink your teeth into.
Breathe life into your business with a brand story or mission statement. Let’s be honest, coming up with your brand’s story is not an easy task. It’s going to take a lot of self-reflection and doubt, running through your purpose as to why your business exists in the first place. Additionally, this mantra will be what dictates every piece of copy or content your company puts out, creating a skeleton of how your voice will sound.
Let’s look at Whole Foods. The company could have created a wholesome-looking logo to lure people through its doors, but the multi-national retailer takes careful measures to back up its introduction to consumers. The brand has built a foundation of offering healthy and nutritious foods, and this foundation informs every marketing initiative and company development. From offering in-store educational experiences to teach consumers about food and emerging brands to getting involved in community-building programs through donating food to shelters and supporting local vendors, Whole Foods doesn’t just view its brand story as a marketing ploy, but leans on its pillars to guide the brand forward.
As Kissmetrics points out, there’s an actual science to what we deem as an authentic brand story. This breaks down to what’s essentially called neural coupling, or the emotional connection we feel when hearing a story. However, reaching this point might not be easily solved on your own, especially if you’re in a time crunch to launch.
While it’s up to you to have an agency or consulting firm take over your entire branding objectives, a lot of this is going to come from you. It’s not a bad idea to gain an outside perspective from someone to ask you the tough questions on why you started your business and what it represents, as well as where exactly you want it to head. The love you feel for what you’ve created is something most will understand, which is why having a third party pull the beauty of that out of you and translate it in a way others can comprehend is vital.
Because once you release your brand to the outside world, the perception of what it represents no longer belongs to only you anymore.
Your brand is more than just a logo.
A common misconception by novices in the branding world is making the assumption that a logo and a brand are synonymous. While your logo is one of the most important visual assets for your company -- it is just the beginning. From there, you need bring your brand to life by embodying your values through marketing initiatives, product development and customer experience enhancements. Your brand’s goal is to represent an idea or shared truth between you and your audience, and that shared truth should permeate into the ethos of your business. It’s a common bond that drives towards a specific mission, which is something you’re going to miss the mark on by simply going for a cheap logo with the idea you’ll fix it later on.
When it comes to your logo, this symbol is going to represent an ethos that reflects upon how your company is aiming to change the world. Take the Whole Foods logo, for example. Many consumers in every major market across the country not only instantly recognize the green Whole Foods font, but new consumers also immediately recognize what the Whole Foods brand stands for thanks to the homage its logo pays to fruit and natural foods.
There’s plenty of places you can get a quality logo that won’t break the bank (I recommend checking out Deluxe). Remember, your logo is literally going to be everywhere your company is, so make it worth the ink it’s printed on. Plus, when done right, your logo is going to serve the purpose of telling your brand’s story without saying a word. So you have your logo … now what?
People talk, so you should listen.
How your brand is going to interact with the outside world will largely dictate the success of your company. From trade shows to social media, every interaction can give a valid perspective on who your company actually is. As Pew Research notes, more than 68 percent of all U.S. adults are on social media, so the potential amount of feedback you might receive could be tremendous.
Your brand is going to represent that universal truth you share with your consumers. Although discovering this is going to be tough, the rewards will be tremendous. People will no longer just be fans, but evangelists for what you’re about. Which begs the question: Are you ready to not just tell your story, but make it one that can stand the test of time?