When you are starting your business, you need a strong brand message that your customers, and potential customers, can identify with and support.
The best brands in the world stand for something they believe in – and they invest in making sure everyone knows what it is.
But there are a few common misconceptions that might be keeping you from doing this for your business. Even if you think you’ve already got it covered, you might be losing out on customers if you aren’t making your branding or marketing strategy work for you.
Here are the six main errors that prevent businesses from investing in their brand.
1. I Have a “Brand” Already
This misconception is one that gets a lot of people. Thinking that your branding is enough, even when it is not, can make your business less visible to customers and will make it harder for you to reach potential customers down the line. You need to have a clear brand that people know, and if you aren’t visible enough, then you need better branding.
Whether this is getting a logo that is easy to spot and will connect people instantly with your brand or creating a new marketing campaign that will relaunch your brand, you want to ensure that you stay on top of this and make yourself recognizable to your customers. If they don’t understand your brand or if they can’t see you, they won’t support you.
If you don’t have a good understanding of how your current brand and messaging are helping your business grow, then it probably isn’t doing the job you think it is. You want your branding to have a clear message that it sends to potential clients, and if you take a look at your brand through a customer’s eyes, you might find that it doesn’t say what you want it to.
So, don’t be afraid to make adjustments, or to completely start over. If your brand isn’t building your business, then create a new one that will. If you run a business that requires you to go into people’s homes, then reliability and safety are two of the most important things to give off. So, make your branding send that message to potential clients and it will help keep your business booming.
2. I Want My Brand to Stay Neutral
The fact of business is, people don’t like companies that don’t have opinions and stand for something. Branding often gives out a specific message, which tells customers what you think about certain topics, and how you are better than your competitors. If you don’t want to stand out by saying that you are the best option over others, then you are not doing your business justice.
Staying neutral might allow some customers to stay with you for the long haul, but by putting yourself out there, you are not allowing others to find and support you. If you want to be known as the greatest option in your area, then you will have to make your brand noticeable, and be able to separate yourself from the other brands out there.
For example, if you run an exterminator business, you will see that many of them use mice or rats in their logo and branding so that customers see their vehicles and know what they do. This also helps to catch people’s eyes when they see it. This gives a clear message of what they do, and if they have a phrase like “Most Reliable in Town,” then they are saying that they are better than the competitors.
This means taking a stance, but remember, this is business. You don’t want to be just another face in the crowd, so to speak, you want to stand out for doing things right. So, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and say what you are the best at. Make sure you create branding and marketing campaigns that build on that brand message.
3. Lowest Price Wins Every Time
This is a misconception that seems to be rampant in the service industry, and several others, because many customers do spend time searching for a low-price option. However, although price is an extremely important element of your business model, it is not the only thing that matters. Customers might shop around, but if they pay for a service, they will pay for better service over a half-done job.
Yes, customers want a good price, but they also want to be treated with respect. And, if you are a plumber, electrician, carpet cleaner, etc, you will be going into their homes to fix an issue and want to be polite. This means that though the cheapest option sounds good for their wallet, having a guy haul in wearing muddy boots just in time to walk all over their new floors is not something they want.
Even if your prices are not the lowest around, you probably know that your products or services are worth the higher price. So don’t sell yourself short. As long as you know that the price is fair, then your customers will too. This goes for every product and service around, which could be anything from selling shoes to housewares.
If someone wants something nicer, they will pay the extra price to get the high-end option because they recognise that it is made well and will last longer. For instance, they will opt for a higher-priced carpet option if it is more stain-resistant than the cheapest one. Price is a big part of your business, but your brand still needs to be first, and investing in it will be worth the cost.
And, if you have good branding and great service, you will gain a good reputation from your customers and have those that will stick with you even if there are cheaper options. Get them to love you and your product or services, and they will stick around.
4. What About the Money?
Spending money when you are trying to make more from your business does seem a little odd, but the old saying is true; you have to spend money to make money. This is because you need to invest in your company so it can grow and make you more money in the future. Spending money on things that don’t matter, like new technologies you don’t need, will drain your resources.
Spending money on branding is well worthwhile. If you don’t have enough money to start with, you may consider getting a business loan, which means you can start designing your branding right away. This can make it easier to still keep up your daily functions without dipping into your business fund. This can also help you get to branding even faster, which will allow your returns to start coming in right away.
Branding is a long game, and though you will likely start to see an increase in awareness immediately, it will not double your business overnight. If you keep it up and make our brand more visible though, it will help you in your future endeavors and increase the number of customers that seek you out.
This is ideal because having customers come to you means that your branding is working. Whether you invest in digital advertising, sending out coupons, new signage around the store or headquarters, or put more brand messaging on your company vehicles, any of this can make a difference once people start seeing it. It can also help build your reputation and credibility in your area.
So, though you won’t get your money back right away, think of it as a long-term investment, and down the line, you will be happy you did it.
5. I’ll DIY It
Every brand starts with the main person in the company, which is the owner and operator. You are the one that starts your business with some money and an idea and makes it into a profitable company. So, it is not a bad idea for you to handle the branding yourself. Who else knows your business better than you do, right?
However, the one thing missing in this equation is the knowledge and experience for how to go about creating your brand identity. If you don’t have this, it might be a tough road that will keep you from holding true to your original intentions of boosting your brand. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn.
There are branding courses available that you can take to learn the process of creating and using your brand for marketing purposes. This can teach you what to do, where to start, and how to keep at it so that you don’t lose hope and stop. Doing things yourself can be a great way to start, since you know the brand better than anyone and can work to create branding that projects your company message.
This will also cost much less than hiring professionals to do it for you, although that is a great option for those who can afford to do so, so you won’t need to invest as much as you might think. With these classes, you can learn how to narrow down your brand messaging so that it is all consistent and concise, make it exciting to customers, and ensure that you are bringing in more customers.
6. Where Should I Start?
Getting an idea off the ground sounds great when you are passionate about it, but doing it is a whole other story. If you can’t decide where to start and what you want your branding to say about your business, then you will never get anywhere with it.
You need a clear message that you can translate to customers, and if you are confused about creating your brand identity and planning and implementing your marketing strategy, then they will be confused when they see it. You can’t expect people to do the work to figure out what you are trying to say, and they will not take the time to do so. Making your branding precise and focused will ensure that it is understandable.
But, if you don’t start, then you will never finish. Getting started means that you need to set out what your brand is about and what you offer. Do you have fixed prices or do you offer negotiations in the price? If you have the former, then opt for branding that focuses on the fast service due to no haggling. If you offer the latter, then talk about your negotiations and the ability for customers to get a lower price.
No matter what you are about, you can find a way to market your business to customers through your brand. And once you become a brand that people know, you won’t have to do as much in the future to keep existing customers and bring in new ones. However, if you can’t pinpoint what your brand stands for and why it runs the way it does, your brand will always be weak.
So, start this process the same way you started your business: with a clear message and a great idea.
Investing in your business means investing in your brand, and if you don’t use your brand to boost your sales or revenue, then you aren’t getting the most out of it. Branding can work wonders, especially for struggling businesses who need to grow, and being seen by potential customers is the best way to bring in more business.
Whether you want to do this on a small scale or a large one, defining your brand can only be helpful for your business. So, take these misconceptions and work through them to get your business where it needs to be and to ensure that your branding is top-notch.