“How should I start branding my company?”
It’s a question that start-up businesses and bloggers should ask and think about carefully. But all too often, branding takes one or more of the following branding-avoidance paths that lead businesses or blogs to mediocrity, obscurity, and eventually, demise:
BRANDING DENIAL: Branding? Branding doesn’t matter. My product will sell itself.
BRANDING PROCRASTINATION: I’m too busy to think about branding. I’ll work on my brand after I launch my website and things calm down.
BRANDING CHEAPNESS: I paid some guy 20 bucks for a logo. That’s good enough.
BRANDING CONFUSION: I know branding is important, but there’s so much information out there and so many online classes that I feel overwhelmed.
If you’re on one of these paths (or about to head down one of them) we’ve got good news for you: Chapter 2 Creative is here to help you get on the right path.
We want you to have the most successful business or blog possible. That may mean some hand holding, and it also might mean some tough love. But we are committed to raising the bar on the quality of business and blogger branding.
Let’s look at the different branding-avoidance paths and the path you should consider instead.
Branding Denial: I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Branding
There are some anti-branding folks that offer a misguided analysis as to why they think branding is not important. There are also misguided folks who think the cheaper the better, because, after all, it’s just a stupid logo. Who really cares about a logo? Sell a great product or service and your logo will be irrelevant. Right?
First, branding goes far beyond your logo or colors and typography. Branding is the entire experience you provide your customers. And where does your customer’s experience usually start? On your website.
And your website is where your brand visuals—logos, colors, typography, images, and copy—must immediately shine, impress, and sell, because once they land on your site, your potential customers will spend less than 10 seconds evaluating whether they want to stay or bounce.
So imagine if a potential customer landed on your site and saw that your name or logo was meaningless or disjointed or boring or inconsistent with what you were selling. Imagine if you chose unpleasant colors and unreadable fonts. Imagine if your “voice” used offensive language and had a jarring tone. Imagine if you had spelling and punctuation and grammar mistakes throughout your copy.
It bears repeating: The experience you provide your customers is your brand. Your brand is what they think of and feel about you.
We are pretty sure to do not want your customers to think of your business as meaningless, disjointed, boring, inconsistent, unpleasant, unreadable, offensive, jarring, and error-filled. You control the signs and signals to your customers to make sure that does not happen through your branding.
Second, investing in branding will create the best possible first impression for your customers so they stay on your site and think of your business as meaningful, cohesive, entertaining, consistent, pleasant, compelling, enjoyable, smooth, and error-free.
And yes, that means creating a memorable, unique, engaging logo too.
Branding Procrastination: I’m Too Busy for Branding
Waiting to develop a brand strategy while you are in the thick of selling can be a huge challenge. In fact, waiting to develop your brand until after you start selling is probably costing your business income. Why? Because without having a cohesive brand strategy, you are missing out on all the tangible (and intangible) benefits that a brand brings to the table. Good branding will:
- create a FIRST IMPRESSION that will cause potential customers to stay with you and learn more;
- provide meaningful, accurate, and CONSISTENT messaging that will ring true with your target audience;
- establish TRUST and LOYALTY with your customers from the beginning;
- positively reflect your values, purpose, and AUTHENTIC self, which in turn will allow you to ATTRACT and CONNECT with your audience;
- encourage your audience to tell others about YOU because they know you, like you, and trust you; and
- make you PROUD, which in turn will EMPOWER you and MOTIVATE you to continue providing the best experience for your audience.
Bottom line: don’t wait to brand your business. The ability to attract, retain, engage, and wow your audience will take far less effort if you have a stellar brand to compliment your hard work.
Branding Cheapness: I Don’t Want to Spend Money on Branding
We get it. Working one-on-one with branding and design professionals can be expensive. Large corporations spend hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on branding. Mid-level companies can spend tens of thousands perfecting their brand. And small businesses can expect to invest several thousand dollars for high-quality, one-on-one branding packages. You should, however, always consider branding an investment rather than an expense. Indeed:
If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design. | Dr. Ralf Speth, CEO Jaguar
But if you’re not in a position to invest in one-on-one brand consulting and design work, a less expensive alternative might work for you: In-house branding (sometimes known as DIY branding). It can be an efficient, cost-friendly option for small or start-up businesses looking to create a unique and memorable brand. Even larger corporations can benefit from in-house branding. In fact, the multi-million dollar non-profit that Corey worked for asked her to rebrand the company—a move that allowed the company to keep the rebranding effort in-house and obtain a stellar brand, all while saving many thousands of dollars.
Of course, unless you understand branding and design principles, you will have a hard time getting it right. And your brand is way too important to get it wrong. Which is why if you plan to do branding work in-house, following a quality step-by-step online branding course can make the branding process manageable. And, if the course is done right, you will end up with a tremendously valuable asset you can use to connect with your audience.
Branding Confusion: I’m Overwhelmed By Branding
If you are on this path, you are well on your way to making the right decision to invest in your brand—you just happen to be stuck in trying to determine how best to go about it. Your options are:
- Do nothing;
- Hire a branding and design professional for 1:1 consulting;
- Search the internet and piece together branding and design advice; or
- Learn how to brand and design your business or blog through online courses and classes.
Doing nothing is not recommended. And piecemealing information from across the internet to create a brand can help, but is time consuming and can simply result in more confusion and overwhelm.
Hiring a competent branding and design professional can be the easiest solution. There are many options; be sure to do your homework to find someone who will be able to provide you what you need. Here at Chapter 2 Creative, we are certainly happy to talk to you about all your branding or rebranding needs and find a cost-effective solution to your needs. We offer a variety of packages and à la carte services with special packages and pricing for bloggers and nonprofits.
For significantly less cost, you can keep your branding in-house by following a step-by-step branding course/program. A brand course can be an excellent cost-effective method to create a brand (or help you rebrand if you already have an under-performing brand). We will be offering a comprehensive brand course in 2019 that may fit your needs and budget.
If you feel overwhelmed, contact us. We can help you come up with a plan for your brand.
■ ■ ■
At Chapter 2 Creative, we are committed to making sure the branding and design process is not overwhelming. Peruse our blog, and email us with questions you may have about branding, design, blogging, writing, or anything else. If you are ready to jump into one-on-one branding and design, take a look at our pricing and give us a shout. If you think a branding course may be your best solution, we can’t wait to tell you more about our upcoming brand course. We are here to help!
Are you on a branding-avoidance path? Let us know in the comments below your biggest roadblocks to creating an awesome brand for your business or blog.