4 Tips For Branding Your Growing Business
For small business owners the brand often starts off with “personal branding” rather than “corporate branding”. The transition is difficult.
As entrepreneurs our small businesses are our "babies". We have created the business, brought it into the world, nurtured it, watched it grow, and ached to give up (some) control to other caregivers and stressed each time it entered a new phase of life.
Does this sound at all familiar?
I have been lucky to have had a diverse experience in my career: large companies, small companies, client-side, agency-side, employee and owner. All these situations had one thing in common, branding is a challenge. The brand needs to speak to those within the company as well as to its audience.
Looking at small businesses, we have now had numerous occasions where a branding exercise has either come to a halt or has gone full circle. This is mainly due to business owners not being able to solve the difference between personal brand and the brand of the business. (Please note: I am using the term "branding" very loosely, as branding includes far more than just the logo.)
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is the trademark of an individual and their knowledge. This form of branding is crucial because the digital impression you give the world can make or break your business. Your personal brand gives you the opportunity to stand out in your industry because your competition is just one click away. You not only need to leverage your personal traits, but your experience, and knowledge on your services.
What is corporate branding?
A corporate brand is the definition, evolution and image of a business' identity. The brand identity must represent the core of your company, this includes your products or services, offerings, values and most importantly your audience.
The corporate branding is used to reach out to your intended audience. It is meant to attract your audience and make them understand your services so they can relay the traits that represent your company. Nothing else matters until you attract your audience with your brand.
Branding challenges in growing small businesses
Many entrepreneurs start up their businesses as solopreneurs, or with a very small team of like-minded individuals. Therefore the brand often starts off with “personal branding” rather than “corporate branding”. But once the business owners want to stop being the identity of their business and begin giving their responsibilities to their team, the branding will need some adjusting to be adapted to a larger entity. The realization that occurs is that the brand must transition from their personal branding to a more clearly defined brand for their market, and then the separation anxiety begins…
Our first instinct is to keep our personal values and messages within our identity because that’s what got the business to the point of growth in the first place. But now it is time to let go of some of the control and allow your brand to evolve. In doing so, your brand will transform to its new position in the marketplace, which will give your business the chance to grow without the brand challenging where you might take your business.
4 tips for re-branding a growing business
Here are some of our tips that can help you in this growth stage of re-branding, or "updating" your brand.
1. Find a Marketing Partner That You Trust
Look for a partner that has experience in branding and with whom you feel comfortable. It is important to find a marketing partner that you trust and that understands your business, your growth plans, and your market.
2. Trust Your Partner
Once you have found a partner that you trust, you will need to have confidence in their ability to translate your input into a brand that meets your business objectives, not your personal preferences. This new brand is not about the colours YOU would prefer, the words YOU would like or the icon that represents YOU the best. It is a combination of visual elements that will attract your audience.
3. Reign in Your Expectations
As a small, but growing, business, your budget for the branding exercise will undoubtedly be moderate. In that case, do not expect a branding exercise that includes a strategy team, creative team, and graphic designers. You will not get hundreds of unique designs, with unlimited revisions.
Even the largest organizations have ranges in what they have invested in their logo design. Here are some examples (Reference):
- Pepsi spent $8 million for their 2008 logo redesign
- Twitter spent $15 (no typo) to purchase the rights to an istockphoto image of a bird
- Nike co-founder bought the famous swoosh image from a graphic design student for $35 in 1971
- BBC switched from slanted fonts and splashes of colour to blocks with letters for $1.8 million in 1997
- BP spent $211 million (yup, no typo here either) for its logo design in 2008
We are not suggesting that you should not like what you end up with, but the priority is that the logo meets the business needs and that will likely require some compromises for the business owners.
4. Focus on the Marketing Strategy and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
In the end, the overall objective your marketing efforts is to increase your bottom line. Whether the strategy includes engaging existing customers for increased sales, increasing awareness, acquiring new customers, or all of the above, your logo and brand needs to work well. Focus on the strategies and identifying quantifiable goals (KPIs). Only this will give you the return on your investment and ultimately achieve the growth in your business that you were looking for.
Branding is not an exercise of "design". It is a strategic task that requires a marketing partner who understands your business.
Contact us now if you have a growing business that requires a digital marketing strategy to support your growth.
At Mawazo, we help business owners grow their revenue by creating a measurable strategy for their digital marketing and executing it as their marketing team. We acquire leads for your company, engage them with personalized communication, turn them into customers and retain their loyalty.