From sole proprietorships to big global companies, we have worked on different kinds of branding projects for many years now. There is but one common factor that we have found in all these projects – Fear – The Fear of being a brand.
As a branding company we consider branding or brand renewal as an exciting opportunity that leads to growth and innovation. Then why do businesses see this process as something so scary?
The first responsibility of any branding agency should therefore be to address this fear of branding.
The main cause behind this fear is the uncertainty involved in branding. What if it fails? It could if you lack the experience and expertise of branding; but with expert knowledge and useful resources it is highly unlikely that your efforts could fail.
There are many reasons that make businesses feel jittery about being brands. Understanding each one of these can help you in getting over the fear of branding.
Lack of awareness
Unless you are aware of what branding can do to your business, you cannot help getting scared about being a brand.
It is like walking into the unknown. You have no idea where you are going or what will happen to you. The only way to get over this fear is to arm yourself with the right knowledge and tools of branding.
It is like practicing before trying an act of public-speaking….taking an anxiety medicine before undergoing a medical procedure…drinking something strong to handle the fear of flying.
A professional branding agency or a branding consultant can tell you everything about what it takes to be a brand and where it can take you. Done the right way, branding can actually change your business in a positive way.
The Need for more investment
Turning your business into a brand, especially if you are doing this through a professional branding agency, does not come cheap; but if you are a startup that cannot afford such an investment, you always have other options.
You could hire a freelance graphic designer to do your logo design for a nominal price. You can even crowdsource the design of your logo or website for free. The designs may not be up to the mark; but they can do until you can save up some money for rebranding.
If you want your brand to be meaningful and something that represents your business, there are a few things you need to determine beforehand:
Take a look at the kind of designs the branding specialists have made for their previous clients and see how these designs relate to their businesses. Assess your goals and find out who is the best partner who can address them.
No instant returns on your investment
Branding can’t be seen as a campaign or a strategy that brings quantifiable and measurable returns.
It is the assist that multiplies and expands your marketing campaigns and existing customer acquisition strategies. It is an essence that makes your company recognizable in the eyes of your consumers.
In fact the returns on your branding spends cannot be measured monetarily. It is more about the reputation it creates for your brand and the loyalty and trust it builds in your customers. It is these things that matter the most for the long-term success of any business.
High Barrier for entering new markets
Being a brand can become a barrier to enter new markets. You will need to establish a new office and a new company in the new market, starting from the scratch.
Apart from being time consuming, this can also be fairly expensive. Nevertheless, there are a few cost-effective strategies you can adopt to break into a foreign market without any limitations.
If you already have a successful brand in your home country, you can get in touch with business owners in the foreign market to open franchises of your brand.
They will run business in your name by paying you a certain fee and giving you a cut from the profits every year. However, this could be a risky proposition for many businesses. Moreover, you will need to have firm brand recognition in the new market before you break into it.
You can sell your products through agents and distributors in the foreign market.
With the contacts and network they would have already established this strategy can make it easier for you to break into a market you are not familiar with.
You may have to work out the shipping logistics and the likes; but once that is taken care of, the rest would be same as selling in your domestic market.
The good news is that you can also use social media to reach out to audience in the new market directly.
Another easy way to break into a new market as a brand would be to find a partner in the foreign country who can invest in your business and help you with marketing.
With a stake in your business, a partner would do his level best to establish your brand in the new market. In fact many countries make it mandatory to get a local partner if you want to set up your business. Alternatively you can also enter into a joint venture with another company.
The strategy that you choose depends on the industry you belong to and the country that you want to enter into. Even if you do hire an excellent branding agency to break into a foreign market, you cannot really expect a ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of solution.
Need to hire sales people and put in more marketing efforts
Most businesses think that they have to hire sales people and put in extra efforts to create awareness about their brand and promote it. However, the truth is, once you hire a professional branding agency to do your brand design for you, all these things would be taken care of.
Most branding companies are capable enough to make sure your brand is recognized among your audience. In fact creating awareness about your brand, driving traffic to your website, implementing strategies to engage your audience, and analyzing the performance of such strategies are all a part of branding.
Make sure you get details about the various services that you get from the branding agency, once you sign up for a branding package.
Your brand is a reflection of your business. It plays a very important role in the success of your business.
Becoming a brand from a business should not scare you. Hire a best branding agency, tell them what you need, and enjoy the success of your business while they handle all your branding activities.