As a small business owner or service provider, branding is a crucial part of your business success. Is your brand playing on the same level as your competitors? Is it attracting the right kind of clients?
Surprisingly, brand identity is not the first thing that comes to mind for small business owners facing a growth stunt. When desperately seeking new clients or customers, many business owners instantly start to question their marketing efforts.
In speaking with potential clients about their brands, I have been asked, on several occasions, if I offer marketing services - a more recognized, quick-fix approach for growing a business. The truth is, 1) I am a Brand Specialist, not a Marketer and 2) without a cohesive brand strategy, running the occasional ad or paying a marketing company to increase visibility will lead to major disappointment.
You might now be thinking - should I rebrand? Is it the right time to hire a designer? Is it worth it? If your business is experiencing any of the following, it may signal a need for a brand evaluation, whether it’s changing directions or creating direction for the first time.
8 SIGNS YOU SHOULD INVEST IN BRANDING
1) You Don’t Know What Branding is
Branding is much more than just a pretty logo. Your logo is a part of your brand identity, just like your color palette, website, fonts and business cards but these things aren’t the brand itself. There are lots of things that go into creating a brand. Let’s start with following:
What is Brand? The perceived emotional business imageas a whole. If you want to stand out, win more business and make a real impact, you need a brand which appeals to your people on an emotional level. Your brand is what other people think and feel about you.
What is Brand Identity? The visual aspects which serve to create an association between your brand and its stakeholders. In other words, your visual identity is the face of your company. Let me develop a simple, beautiful face which your audience will remember.
Don’t mistake your brand and your brand identity as the same thing. They go hand in hand but they are not the same. If you are unfamiliar with these branding nuances and have thought of branding as a series of pretty visuals, it may be time to talk to a brand strategist or brand designer about your brand strategy.
2) You Don’t Have a Clear Target Audience or Audience Following
In order to attract your target audience, the people with whom you will love working, you need to first define your niche. Who do you want in your tribe? This is a key component of branding. A good brand strategist can help you narrow this down, then create a brand voice to match your new audience.
3) You’re Considering Paying for Potentially Expensive Advertising
Always, always, start with your brand. Remember your target audience? It will be nearly impossible to create a cohesive marketing strategy if you don’t know who you are addressing. Make sure your message, tone, voice, and feeling are clear, consistent, and targeted. Don’t waste your time paying for marketing pieces that leave a bad negative or confusing impression on a potential client. Before presenting yourself to the world, make sure you have a rock solid understanding of who you are and how you want to be known.
4) You Aren’t Experiencing the Business Volume You Would Like
Not booking clients? Hearing crickets? Sales should naturally keep growing. Even if the sales aren’t going down (but aren’t going up either) it means you are becoming a boring brand. A good brand can take a company to new heights, a stagnating brand can cost the company a lot.
If you get plenty of traffic to your website but no one is buying, that’s a good indicator that you may need to rebrand-especially if you’ve tried improving your services and marketing strategy and it still hasn’t made a difference. Rebranding can bring an old, outdated brand back to life, spark the interest of new customers, and reignite the interest of your past customers.
5) New customers are heading elsewhere
This is a very important sign. There is a vast difference between old customers and new customers. Old customers have already become loyal to the brand. A brand like Nike has a lot of loyal customers. Even if their brand strategy stagnates many people are likely to keep buying from them. A true measure of current brand strategy is what new customers are buying.
6) You're attracting the wrong customers
If your brand is attracting the wrong clients and customers, this is a big sign that it's time to rebrand.
You’ll only attract what you reflect, so make sure your brand style reflects the kind of style your ideal clients are looking for. If you find you are attracting people who don’t want to spend much money, perhaps it’s time to rebrand so that your brand, website, and services are sleeker and more sophisticated, aimed at attracting higher-end clients who truly value your services.
7) You don’t get social media interactions
When it comes to social media you shouldn’t be counting social media followers as a metric for success, you should be counting social media interactions. When a brand is fun and interesting it will have a lot of people tweeting at it and talking about it. When this doesn’t happen you need to rethink your brand strategy.
8) You're a newbie with no brand identity
Many people assume newbies don't need to invest in a brand identity because it's expensive and a low priority for a new business owner. This couldn't be further from the truth. Think it's expensive to rebrand? It's more expensive not to invest in your brand.
Over the last few years, the level of professionalism has evolved and, these days it is so high that it makes it hard for newbies to stand out or make an impression with their businesses and blogs.
If you want to start a purposeful, sophisticated business, you need a quality design that doesn’t scream newbie.
Without a cohesive business brand, a recognizable face and voice so to speak, a marketing campaign will feel disconnected and unprofessional. It will lack the ability to genuinely capture your target audience's’ attention. Before interacting with the public, it’s important to know why a brand exists, who it’s addressing, what unique thing it has to offer, and its overall identity. Forming a cohesive brand identity will lay the foundation for brand recognition which will happen over time through consistent marketing.
Making the decision to rebrand can be TOUGH. But you don’t have to do it alone.
Leave a reply and tell me which category you fit into. What branding questions you have? If your ready to hire a designer to help your brand reach new heights, I encourage you to read up on my service.