So, you’ve launched a new business. Woohoo! Go you good thing.
It’s probably safe to say that your product or service is AWESOME. Your fit-out or office is looking insanely cool. Your warehouse is full of stock… And your logo is done?
And yet… crickets.
Foot traffic is low. Purchase orders are low. New business meetings in your calendar are few.
Why? Because somewhere along the line you’ve overlooked the most important foundation of your business… Your BRAND.
You are not alone. We see this so often in business. Entrepreneurs dropping cash loads of investment on ‘all the other things’, but when it comes to building a magnetic brand, they decide not to invest.
It got me thinking… What’s holding business owners back from investing in their brand?
Here are a few (possible) reasons that come to mind:
- They are tight.
- They are not (really) ready to launch.
- They don’t know where to find the right brand designer.
- They don’t know what it should cost.
- They don’t know how long it’s going to take.
- They don’t know what they will get from their investment.
There could be millions more, but let’s see if I can KO (or Knock Over) some of these barriers.
Barrier 2 // Not (really) ready to launch
For side-hustles, or businesses in their beta phase, it makes sense to hold back on brand investment. You want to test the market, understand where your customer are playing, and confirm that there’s an opportunity first. Once you know your business has legs – then it’s time to invest in the brand development.
Barrier 3 // Where to find the right brand designer
Firstly, do not contact your ‘cousin’s son, who knows how to use Photoshop’.
A referral is always a great place to start. Contact other business owners (who’s branding you admire), and ask if they would recommend their own brand designer?
Creative Tip: Designer’s LOVE word-of-mouth referrals!
If you want to support local talent, look for ‘brand designers’ or ‘brand studios’ on that are based in your area/region. Or if you’re open to working with anyone, widen the search to Interstate, National or International. Where should you look? You’ll find a plethora of talented brand experts on Instagram, Behance, LinkedIn, Google and Pinterest.
Do your research and invest in a creative expert (or team) to develop / evolve your brand identity.
Consider the following before you decide who to work with:
- Can I afford their fees? (more on that later)
- Do I find their folio of work inspiring, and/or does it suit ‘the feeling’ that I want to create for my business?
- What kind of creative process am I looking for?
From an experienced creative or team, expect the creative process to be more strategic and collaborative. They will challenge your thinking, offer up new ideas and lead you through the creative process – from initial brief to final execution.
From a junior-mid weight creative, expect the creative process to be much more transactional. You’ll likely need to provide more direction – and have a very specific execution in mind.
Barrier 4 // What does brand development cost?
This is a tricky one to answer, as the cost of brand development varies enormously in the creative industry.
Your investment will be impacted by:
- the designer/team/agency you choose to work with (varied rates)
- the deadline (priority fee), and
- the scope of brand assets required (what you need to launch)
For a small-medium businesses (SMB’s) a ball-park investment might be:
- Start-up phase: $3k – $6k
- Up-level phase: $6k – $20k
- National / Global take-over: $20k+
Barrier 5 // How long will brand development take?
Like the investment fee, the timing for brand development will vary. For an SMB, you should allow 2-3 months for brand development. Remember, you’re investing in a creative expert to develop and design you a magnetic brand – so don’t rush the process!
They will need time to:
- Get to know your business and understand your brief
- Research your competitors
- Develop concepts
- Present concepts
- Make revisions (based on your feedback)
- Design your brand assets
- Make further revisions (based on your feedback)
- Finalise your brand assets
- Hand-over your brand assets
It’s a lot to fit in, right?
TIP. It’s importantly to check the capacity of your chosen designer before you commit. If they are fully booked for the next 3 months and you need to launch ASAP, then consider looking elsewhere.
Barrier 6 // What you get for your Brand investment
A brand is more than a logo. So, make sure you’re getting all the brand assets you need for your business – and that you know how to use them.
It’s so much easier to connect with your audience when you can confidently stand behind your brand, and you know exactly how to use your brand effectively.
Depending on whom you decide to work with, brand development can look quite different.
However, generally your core brand package should include:
- Brand mark (your logo – in all necessary file formats)
- Business cards design
- Stationery design
- Email signature
- Messaging (tone of voice direction for your copy)
- Style guide (outlining logo variations and usage, colour palette, fonts, and collateral examples).
When you’re briefing your brand designer, think about how you will be engaging with your customers/clients. Are there other pieces of branded collateral that you need created? Get these done too. Your goal is to ensure that your brand is consistent and magnetic at every touchpoint of your business.
The scope of brand assets might need to be extended to include:
- Proposal template (to win the job)
- Presentation template (for the pitch)
- Pull up banner (for events)
- Leave behind flyer/brochure (for new business opportunities)
- Social media profiles (where are your customers finding you)
- Social media posts (5-10 template designs to get you started – get these set up in Canva)
- Email (EDM) templates (Essential for building your database)
Other important assets
- Signage (if you have a physical store)
- Packaging (if you’ve got a product)
- Website (essential for reaching your audience on scale)
- Infographics (to explain your own processes/systems)
- Icon Library (to communicate your services / offerings)
- Photography (your own library of branded imagery + Staff Portraits)
My Creative Direction tip for today:
If you’re serious about launching (or re-launching) a business, then make sure you prioritise dollars in your budget to invest in your Brand. Trust me. It’s 1000% worth it.
Your Brand is made up of lots of moving parts, so partner with a reputable Brand Designer that can build you the foundation you need to stand strong in the market – long term.
With a crafted package of brand assets, you’ll have the tools you need to connect with your customers confidently, and consistently – building a loyal audience of fans that keep coming back for more.
If investing in your brand is still making you nervous then let’s schedule a call.