You know, I hear a lot of talk about ‘Branding’ yourself or your business – i.e. creating an ‘image’.
Of course Branding has its merits – look at Coca-cola, Honda, Sony, Virgin, Lego, Sunny Delight, The AA, T-Mobile, for example – but Coca-Cola, Lego and T-Mobile are not reading this column: you are. And for small to medium sized businesses, it can be a complete waste of money.
Don’t be fooled into spending a lot of money on ‘branding’ for the sake of it: big corporations like those I mention above have been in business for many, many years. They’re well-known, they have buckets full of money to spend on branding and YOU won’t be competing with them any time soon. (Unless you know something I don’t!)
Saying that, it’s a good strategy to keep the future in mind at all times: and by establishing a strong logo and image at the start is a good investment. But I have to stress – do NOT go spending large amounts of money on branding.
Saying that, when I started out, I had several name changes of my business, I had several different logos, I used different images too. With the advent of Internet, it got even easier to see another, bright, shiny thing that makes you go, “Wow, I like that, I think I’ll copy it!” and bingo! Your logos and image are in the recycle bin because you’ve seen a nicer font. And get this: what if you’ve spent a load of dough and you decide to change your image? Ouch!
If you’re not artistically inclined, it’s definitely worthwhile finding a graphic designer to help you put together a ‘look’ that you feel suits your style, personality and the image you want to project to the world. (‘Elance.com’ is a good place to find someone, and it’s not expensive.)
But don’t imagine that branding alone will make you more profits. It definitely will not. So don’t get fooled into anyone telling you to spend a lot of money ‘establishing a brand’. You could be flushing your cash down the loo.
¡Adios the noo!
PS – Next week: one of my personal favourites: how to steal from your competitors, just like Sky, Ford, the
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