One of the most common things I hear when it comes to branding is: “Oh, I don’t need that.”
I think “branding” is something that’s typically associated with direct-to-consumer marketing. They associate the word “brand” with a logo, fonts, some colors, and not much else. And while they’re right about logos, fonts, and colors being part of a brand, they’re not the complete definition: everything your company produces is also part of your brand. Fonts, colors, and logo are just the tip of the iceberg.
That means, if you’re:
pitching to customers
pitching to investors
handing out business cards
empowering a sales team
sending out emails
writing on a blog
attending trade shows
producing or hosting events
creating a LinkedIn business page
posting anything on social media
….you’re building a brand.
Branding is simply the expression of your company in the world: who it’s for, what it gives to people, and how it’s different from everything else out there.
So if you’re doing anything on that list, yes, you’re building a brand. And If you’re doing all of these things without at least a little thought to your brand, you might be building a bad brand. Or at least one that’s not as good as it could be.
We’re in a tough economic climate: my LinkedIn page is full of layoffs, the outlook on the economy feels bleak, and it’s hard to feel that focusing on branding is anything but ornamental and extravagant. But, depending on your industry, at least one of these two things are true:
Sometimes focusing on your brand just means having a good framework in place when making some of your decisions: it’s not necessarily spending tens of thousands on a fancy new logo. (Side note: if you think you might just need a good framework, book some time with me! I’d be glad to help you get on your way.)
If a human being is going to look at anything your company produces, branding is far from an extravagance: focusing on sales and conversion at the expense of your brand is only going to hamstring your future progress. All too often I see companies unwilling to focus on their brand and they just put a bunch of money behind content that doesn’t resonate with their buyers - or worse, makes them look sloppy and actually detracts from what they’re trying to build.
So, yes- it can feel like we’re headed toward the iceberg itself, and spending time thinking about our brand is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. But I’d argue that, actually, failing to think about your brand while you’re going about your business is actually a waste of every email you write, event you produce, post you create, deck you present, and business card you hand out.