The dictionary describes an asset as “anything tangible or intangible that can be owned or controlled to produce value and that is held by a company to produce positive economic value is an asset.”
For the majority of business owners an asset is usually something tangible such as machinery, computers or a vehicle. Too often, investing in the intangible like a brand is not perceived as an asset, but rather as an expense to the business.
I find it an interesting phenomenon that people readily spend $20,000, $40,000 even $80,000 on a vehicle, that from the minute it’s driven off the lot, it loses value. Added to that, it costs money each and every day. Between registration, insurance, maintenance and repairs, petrol and tyres a vehicle becomes a very expensive asset. Yet when it comes to spending money on developing a brand for a business, owners immediately feel that this is one area that they are justified in cutting corners.
Why is this? After all, your business is what is going to make you money every day. Isn’t it worth investing in a good brand to help you gain more recognition, establish a reputation, grow your loyal client base and help you increase profit? To me, this situation should be the reversed.
Imagine if you invested the same amount of money into your brand as you do a vehicle? The impact it would have on your business would result in your business being perceived as more established, obtain connection with your customers, enjoy faster growth and ultimately increase the value of the business.
If the above suggestions for investing in your brand are not enough of an incentive, then perhaps the cost of rebranding a few years down the track will be. Many businesses rebrand after 2-3 years in business. This is because they cut costs at the start. This results in them spending far more in a rebrand as they have to not only develop a new logo, but they have to re-establish their new brand story, voice, culture and experience not to mention business stationery, website, collateral, uniforms, signage etc. It is a very expensive business mistake not to get your brand invested in.
I’d like to highlight 5 ways that you can transform your business from an expense into an asset.
You need a plan
Like any good journey, you need a clear destination and a plan of attack on how to get there. The same goes for your business. Here are a few things to think about when crafting your brand strategy.
– What are your hopes and dreams for the business?
– What is the purpose of the business?
– What is your promise to your clients?
– What image do you want to project?
– What kind of reputation do you want?
– How do you want the brand to look and feel?
– How do you communication with your customers?
– How do you want your staff and customers to feel when they interact with your business?
Ensure that you invest time and thought into developing your brand strategy. Having clarity about what you want to achieve will result in less distractions along your journey, which is what often damages brands. If you find this process a struggle, get your team or key clients involved. If this is too challenging, it is worth investing in a branding studio. Developing a brand strategy is a one-off cost for a lifetime of business structure.
Discover your brand personality
If you don’t know who you are, how is anyone else supposed to know? Developing a brand with personal characteristics will subconsciously create a much stronger connection with your customers. Understanding ‘who’ your brand is provides you with a rock solid foundation on which to grow your business. Once you know ‘who’ your business is, you’ll be able to craft everything visual, spoken and written for the business to match the personality. Your company culture and even the brand experience for your customers, all stems from your brand personality. For example, if you are The Ruler like Mercedes Benz, you will have very different visuals, language and tone to Jeep, which is The Explorer brand personality. Find out more about brand personalities at www.brandpersonalities.com.au
Invest in a professional designer
With the advent of websites such as 99Designs, Fivver or VistaPrint, it is very tempting to opt for the cheapest way to get your logo or business cards designed or printed.
Your collateral is the first touch point that your client usually has with your business. Before they work with you they might pick up a business card or brochure, find your website, or see your vehicle signage as you drive by. If these pieces of collateral are poorly designed and executed, the result will be that your business will look unprofessional. This will reflect on you as a business owner who doesn’t take their business seriously enough to invest in it. A professional graphic designer will be able to choose the correct colours, find fonts that enhance your brand personality and make you look as though you are a well-established business. The benefit of this far outweighs any expense.
Create a style guide
Once you have the visual aspects of the brand developed, look at getting a style guide created. A style guide will highlight what the brand personality is, the language and tone for the brand. It will include the breakdown of colours and fonts and highlight how the logo should and shouldn’t be used. It may also include the style of images you use for the brand, the words to include in descriptions, relevant social media hash tags and anything else that may be used in your collateral to promote your business. The style guide ensures that everyone who comes into contact with developing, promoting or working within the business understands what the brand stands for and how the visual aspects should be reproduced.
Consistency is king!
Once you have developed your brand strategy, you understand your brand personality, you’ve engaged a designer to create you an awesome looking logo and matching collateral and you’ve shared your style guide amongst your team and suppliers, all you have to do is remain consistent. Don’t deviate. You’ve spent too much time, energy and yes, money to start messing with your brand. Stay the distance. Keep sharing the same strong brand message with your customers on your website, through social media and via face to face contact with your customers. Make sure that your brand experience is the same for your customers each and every time. This consistency will create a safe, reliable and trustworthy interaction resulting in them remembering your brand, telling their friends and ensuring that they come back time and time again.
By focusing on the above five strategies you can transform your business into a brand. A powerful brand can elicit loyalty from satisfied customers and allow a company the ability to charge a higher price than its competitors.
If you, as a business owner don’t take our business seriously enough to develop the brand properly, then how can you expect your clients to want to do business with you? Think about it.
Find out more at www.debbieobrands.com