Many small business owners believe that having a brand is something only the blue chip companies need, or a trendy just-launched tech company. But if you’re just a bread and butter small business, there’s no need to invest in a brand.
And hey, it’s understandable that many small business owners see it as an extra expense. That it’s just a ‘nice to have’, but not essential for the running of the business.
But ignoring branding is a mistake.
Branding is key, it can’t be ignored; no, not even if you’re ‘just’ a local mom and pop shop. Here’s why.
It Gives a Professional Impression
Gone are the days that something you created in Paint with Comic Sans font can pass off as a logo. Even kids can put together nice looking branding material using online tools or Photoshop.
In 2021, consistent and clean branding gives that professional impression that’s absolutely necessary in today’s competitive environment. Consider it the absolute bare minimum.
And it’s not that difficult to at least achieve that uniformity. For example, you can give your business a brand refresh using print; think signage, letterheads, or business cards. The cost won’t be prohibitive.
Trust and Legitimacy
Scams are all over the place these days, sadly. People are careful to spend their money, particularly online. If your brand looks cheap, inconsistent, and all over the place, customers will go elsewhere. It’s that simple.
When people choose a business, they want to know that they’re investing in a company that knows what it’s doing. Companies that cover the bases, provide a safe and effective product or service.
If your brand screams cheap, running the business out of the basement vibes, you’re losing business. There are plenty of alternatives that ooze professionalism, and customers will go there instead.
Improve Business Recognition
Branding will help improve recognition for your business. Well-designed logos, for example, can be memorable. Ads that push the boundaries are often unforgettable. If you want potential customers to recognize your branding, ensure you’ve actually invested in it.
Think about this stat: it will take the average person 5-7 interactions with a given brand to remember it for good. If your brand is non-existent, do you think you will stand out?
Also remember, recognition isn’t just about ‘recognizing’ your logo and knowing what you sell. Recognition also builds the image of reliability, that your company knows what it’s doing (they recognize it, so it must be true, right?), that you’re a known entity in the industry.
Once a potential customer is faced with a choice of which company to go for, they’ll lean towards the one they recognize. It’s a reflex, a subconscious thing. Even if they don’t know exactly why, they’re more likely to pick the company they’ve seen before.
People are Loyal to Brands
We may think we have advanced as a species, but when we dig down to the roots, humans are still very much tribal creatures. We like feeling like we’re part of something bigger than ourselves. Brands build relationships.
We like to feel shared values with others; the products and services we use are extensions of ourselves in this way. That’s why you need a brand that gives off a recognizable visual image, something that creates a commonality with your customers.
If you don’t have a brand, then you’re all about the product or service you’re selling. And that’s not what people buy. They buy brands.
Just think about it: why do people buy a polo shirt that’s 4 times more expensive than something of a similar quality? That little polo player stitched on the chest. The brand.
Having a Brand Pays Off
The final reason why you need a brand is the return on investment (ROI). If you’re running a business, it ultimately comes down to whether something pays off. And branding turns $1 into multiple, it’s really that simple.
Think about it. There’s a reason big companies continue to pump millions of dollars into logos, design changes, posters; and it’s not because they ‘look pretty’.
Ultimately, they’re serving their stockholders. They know branding pays off in a big way. The calculations have been made to the cent. Can you really afford to ignore branding?