When Should You Invest In Branding?

How the Power of Branding Can Help You Grow your Business

In This Article

No matter if you run a B2B or B2C business, whether you’re product or service-based, branding is always a good idea. While the decision to invest in branding your business seems obvious – ahem, you definitely should – the question of when you should start throwing down your hard-earned cash on your brand might not be so obvious. 

Branding can be costly for any organization but can pay off in spades if done correctly. It is easy to see the value of a strong brand when we look at mega-brands like Coca-Cola, whose goodwill and intangible assets were valued at $34.6B at the end of Q3 in 2022, a 17% increase year-over-year. But what about smaller brands or B2B businesses where traditional consumer marketing tactics don’t have the same impact? 

Does Branding Pay Off for Small Businesses?

To test the value of brands, B2B Marketing conducted a study on the impact of branding on B2B financial services, an industry where the power of branding is often overlooked. Their findings consistently demonstrated that nearly one-third of business won was through branding. So, if branding is an area of your business that you have been overlooking, you could be throwing away opportunities. 

We work with entrepreneurs and business owners at every stage of building their businesses. Sometimes we advise clients that there are other steps they should consider before heavily investing in building their brand. 

The question is, when should you invest in your brand?

Signs It Is Too Early to Invest in Your Brand

For new businesses, branding and marketing can feel like an exciting opportunity to flex your creative muscles. It is a chance to tell the world about your new venture and what you offer while demonstrating your personality. Many new entrepreneurs want to throw their small savings into this area of their business from the outset since they think it will fire things up. But you might want to wait. There are a few critical pieces you need to get in order before diving into branding.

You are not clear on your offer

When starting a business, it can be tempting to offer everything to everyone. You don’t want to turn away any opportunities. So you use broad terms to describe what they do while saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way.

At the beginning of your journey, this tactic can be a great way to understand what you want to offer and what you want to outsource. Our time is one of the most limited resources, and to prevent feeling burnt out, you might realize that by offering what you excel at and leaving the rest to partners or other suppliers, you can grow faster.

You Are Unsure Where Your Business Will be in the Next 6-12 Months

In the early stages of business, a lot can change in the first six months, especially if you’re unclear about your offering (see above). Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. According to Fundera, 20% of small businesses fail in their first year. If you think your business will be upended in the next six months, you should not heavily invest in your branding. 

At the beginning of your journey, this tactic can be a great way to understand what you want to offer and what you want to outsource. Our time is one of the most limited resources, and to prevent feeling burnt out, you might realize that by offering what you excel at and leaving the rest to partners or other suppliers, you can grow faster.

You Don’t Know Who Your Target Market Is

This point is critical. Your brand is not about you – surprise! –it’s about your customers and the space you occupy in their minds. So, we can’t build a brand if we don’t know who we’re building it for. 

When we zone in on your ideal client, we like to know everything about them to get as specific as possible. The wider your audience, the more people you need to market to. This means your marketing dollars work extra hard for less impact. If you narrow in on your ideal target market, you will get higher-quality leads and opportunities. 

Your Brand Is Not the Problem

Some business owners love to continuously tinker with their brands. While your brand, like your business, is ever-evolving, if you constantly change your brand, you might be creating confusion for your audience that does more harm than good. In this case, it might be worth evaluating your current brand and your marketing tactics to see what exactly is missing the mark.

Before investing in your brand, get crystal clear on these three questions:

Who are you?
Who do you help?
Why does it matter?

If you can answer these questions, you have some critical information needed to create a brand. Now, let’s get clear on the right time to invest in your brand.

Before investing in your brand, get crystal clear on these three questions:

Who are you?
Who do you help?
Why does it matter?

Invest in Branding When Launching a New Business

Once you have a viable business, it’s time to invest in your brand. Whether you like it or not, when you’re building a business, you’re simultaneously building a brand.

We’ve had clients say to us – we don’t want a brand because we don’t want to invest in that, we just want a logo … and a website and colours and typography and messaging that connects with our target audience … but not an actual brand – to which we kindly reply, those are some of the fundamental elements of your brand, friend.

If you have a business, you have a brand. In the eyes and minds of your clients, your business occupies a space that takes up meaning. When you invest in your brand, you have more control over the space you occupy in the client’s mind. At this point, investing in your brand is a decision to invest in your business. 

Essential Brand Investments

Depending on the amount of capital you’re working with and what you know about your market, you can choose to invest in different levels of branding for your business. If you have an online business, essential brand investments you should consider are:

  • Logo design
  • Brand visual identity (colour palettes, typography, iconography, graphics)
  • Photography
  • Website design

You can extend your brand as your business grows to include more assets, which are just as vital to brand success, such as:

  • Brand positioning
  • Messaging (your vision, purpose, values)
  • Collateral
  • Stationery (letterheads and business cards, and digital such as email signatures and presentation templates)
  • Merchandise

You don’t have to invest in everything all at once but when you launch a business, factoring branding into your budget is critical. 

If you can answer all the questions in the above section and have a viable business, investing in your brand can give you the platform you need to present a professional business and attract new customers.

Invest in Branding When You Want a Solid Platform to Market Your Business

If you have a solid business and are ready to attract new/more customers, you should have a brand in place.

Your brand forms the backbone of your marketing strategy. Branding positions you within your market and guides your messaging. Without these details in place, your marketing will lack substance and direction.

Solid branding will give your marketing more sticking power. It will make your advertising more impactful because it will connect with the right people. It will also help guide your team to execute marketing strategies effectively.

Whether your team consists of employees or external suppliers, branding and clear guidelines can help you keep everything cohesive and consistent across all platforms and media.

If you have yet to invest in your brand but want to market your business, branding will be an essential first step to ensure your marketing is successful.

Invest in Branding if Your Business is Evolving

Perhaps it’s time for a rebrand? 

Businesses and markets are forever evolving, which means your brand will, too. There are several reasons why an established business might consider a rebrand. Companies may choose to rebrand their business due to:

  • A significant decline in sales over. Perhaps you’ve lost relevance in your market or are being out-branded by a competitor. 
  • New competitors taking top spots in your market
  • Expanded or new offerings to meet the needs of a new/changing marketplace
  • The desire to change your image
  • A scandal that has marred your brand reputation

Rebranding is no easy task and can be more challenging than initial branding if you are trying to retain your customer base while expanding to new markets or recovering from a scandal. 

If you choose to rebrand your business, investing in the right professionals to take you to the next level should also be a consideration. Experienced brand strategists and a skilled creative team should be able to guide you through the process, but it will be costly. 

Invest in Branding if You Want to Raise Your Prices

If you want to elevate your brand and business to appeal to higher-paying clients, it is worth investing in creating a premium brand experience from start to finish. 

As stated at the beginning of this article, many businesses start off wanting to appeal to everyone, not turning business away because they want to bring in as much as possible. After a while though, you might decide you only want to work with a specific type of client, or your expertise has outgrown your clients’ needs and you’re ready to offer your high-value skills at an increased price point. 

If you want a higher investment from your clients, you can invest in your brand and the experience it offers. Premium brands offer more than just a polished look and feel, they map out their customer journey to ensure clients feel like they are VIPs at every touchpoint. 

Premium brands know that their brand experience goes beyond their graphics and is integrated into their communication, the materials they use, the little extras they provide for their clients that make the experience unforgettable. These extras can be in the form of handwritten notes, birthday gifts, noting special days for clients and sending bottles of champagne to celebrate launches, the creative possibilities are endless – but these brands take note of what matters and connect with their clients through these opportunities. They provide services that make their clients feel like they’re working with the best. 

Final Thoughts

Investing in branding is investing in the success of your business and is not something to be taken lightly. With over 30% of consumers basing their decisions to work with businesses based on their branding, it is not something you should skip.

Your brand is ever-evolving to meet customers’ needs in our dynamic world. Working with the right team to understand your brand and business will help you make the right decisions when creating a brand experience that connects with your customers.

If you’re creating a new business and unsure where to start with branding, download our free guide to branding on a budget to put some touchpoints in place.

Branding on a Budget?

Get our free guide to the essential items you need to get started branding your business.

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