Is it really necessary to invest in branding?
Yes, because image matters. Your image is people’s perception of your brand and just like when you meet someone for the first time—you only get one first impression. So, you need to make it count. For this article let’s define branding as your strategy, messaging, logo, and support materials like a website or brochure.
If you are in sales are you likely to pull up to a customer’s location in a Lamborghini? What kind of a message does that send? Maybe if you are selling a super high-end luxury item it’s okay, otherwise pulling up in a car like that is probably going to give the wrong impression about you to your customer. Think of your branding in the same way. What message do you want to send? Does it look professional? Does it convey your values? Does it inspire confidence? These things are even more important if you are just starting because you may not have customer testimonials or referrals to help persuade customers to choose you over your competitors. Branding can help you look more established thus instilling confidence. Think about your own experiences. Surely you’ve visited a website that looks like it was created with a basic template with no real hierarchy of information, blurry images—you know what I’m talking about. What does that say about the company? Were you encouraged to engage with them or did you go somewhere else?
Another often overlooked marketing item these days is the business card. When you are handing them out in person you get the chance to make an impression on behalf of the company. However, if your cards are sitting on display somewhere for people to take, will they be drawn to them? Do they reinforce your brand characteristics?
Too often people get so focused on getting their business up and running that they forget about the branding process until the last minute, or they just don't think it's necessary. I recently had a potential client tell me that they were "just going to get a logo done" and then if their new venture took off and they got investors they would come back and do a full branding. Done right, the branding process takes time—and if you are in search of funding it can be even more important (remember the image thing?). An experienced brand designer will have you go through a series of exercises at the beginning designed to get you thinking about your brand and lay the groundwork for the design phase. In these exercises, you'll hone in on your purpose, vision, mission, values, and strategic objectives. That’s the strategy part and it is necessary to get a logo design and messaging that is on target and provides you with a roadmap to get where you want to go. It's also necessary if you are serious about succeeding and attracting investors.
So yes, it's worth the investment and it's worth taking the time to do it right.