Self-Service Branding

If you were buying a suit for a very important event, would you settle for the inexpensive one-size fits all option at a bargain store or invest in having one custom made for you? Although the cheaper option gets the job done – to provide you something to wear to the event – it wasn’t meticulously tailored to present the “best looking version” of yourself at such an important event.

So what does buying a suit have to do with branding? Well, the same holds true when companies take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to branding. A tight budget often leads companies to see branding services as an inconsequential commodity. Many resort to self-service platforms like Wix, Squarespace or crowd-sourcing services to obtain logo, website, presentation collateral, etc. to help launch their business. Like the bargain suit, these services provide a low-cost and timely option, but don’t put a company’s best foot forward.

Developing a brand is about establishing an identity. Branding sets the foundation that allows your company to grow, transcend and keep up with the times without losing sight of its founding principles or its customers’ trust. True branding experts are storytellers who understand that their job is more than just creating a consistent image.

Before thinking tactics, you need to develop a strategic game plan and a compelling story that resonates with your audience(s) and allows you to build from there. Like tailors, branding experts know it’s all about the details and will spend countless hours getting to know every aspect about your company to help you present your best foot forward.

“PRICE IS ONLY EVER AN ISSUE IN THE ABSENCE OF VALUE.”

Perception is everything in an age where consumers have endless options at their fingertips. Differentiation is what builds a brand’s equity. Just like you want to stand out in a room full of suits, your company needs to find a way to shine among its competitors. Successful companies – like Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple and Google – use their brand not just create an emotional connection with their consumers, but to create loyalty as well.

Much like finding a person wearing a custom suit more “presentable” than others without being able to pinpoint why, our buying decisions take place at a split-second, emotional level that happen in the subconscious. Only effective branding can help your company establish this connection with your target market – a connection that will definitely pay off: only a 5% increase in customer retention can increase your company’s profitability by up to 75%, according to research by Bain & Co.

Self-service branding can be helpful to some start-up companies in the short term, but it’s typically short lived. Just like buying a custom tailored suit, investing in custom tailored brand strategy will help your organization standout and “look its best”, while skimping on the less expensive option will cost you more in the long run.

* Source Link: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/1590.html

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