Running our own businesses for nearly 20 years, plus consulting with countless businesses, we know full well entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted. It can be a rollercoaster. It can be exhausting. It stretches you, it challenges you and you have to get pretty damn good at prioritising. Because the list of things you could do is always going to be infinitely longer than the list of things you should do.
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business” ― Steve Forbes
Very often we talk to businesses that are hesitant to invest in branding. We get it. It doesn’t feel as tangible as, say, running a digital campaign. But here is the thing, branding is a long term strategy, it is foundational to every single area of your business. Let’s explore two scenarios….
Sarah offers life coaching services. She has relied on word of mouth for 6 years now, but it’s not quite enough anymore. It’s time for some proactive marketing. She has a pretty simple site a friend did for her so is thinking if she runs some Google ads with a great introductory offer she will be able to lock in some new clients. The thing is, Sarah is not the cheapest life coach, but she is really, really good. Her brand and website aren’t doing her work justice at all, it’s been fine so far because a raving recommendation is pretty compelling. She pretty quickly spends $5000 on Google and while she has had enquiries, they don’t seem quite the right fit for her. Frustrated she wonders what type of marketing she should try next.
Sarah offers life coaching services. She has relied on word of mouth for 6 years now, but it’s not quite enough anymore. It’s time for some proactive marketing. She has a pretty simple site a friend did for her way back when, but she wonders if it is really as good as it could be. She starts talking with a branding expert who suggests they do a workshop to map out what her business is all about. Sarah wonders if it’s really necessary but she is curious so she dives in with an open mind. During that process they uncover that Sarah’s true superpower is working with women who are undergoing a huge transformation, it’s a discovery process she takes them through that is unique to her based on a cross section of studies she has done. Sarah feels excited now, she can see the potential in her business like never before.
Together they define the brand – the purpose, the values, the personality, the unique points of difference and importantly her process. Sarah has never managed to articulate her work like this before. They revise the brand identity, taking it to a more appropriate premium feel and update not only the look of the site, but every piece of copy. Now the user gets a real sense of what Sarah is all about and what she can do for them. Before Sarah even starts the marketing the work already starts to influence everything she is doing. The way she talks to new leads, the way she writes emails, her confidence in writing articles which she starts to distribute to publications, something she has never done before. When Sarah does start marketing the messaging and her target audience is so clear that the right leads start coming in almost immediately. She wonders how she ever got this far without doing this properly.
The answer is YES! You really do need to invest in branding, because…
- Branding defines your true north. What you stand for, and why you are doing what you do. It’s what you can come back to anytime you are grappling with a big decision. This is how you stay on course for where you want to be heading. Otherwise it can be easy to veer ever slightly off track, and not realise until you have travelled hundreds of kilometres.
- Branding is how your work manifests in the world. Branding is how you express yourself, how all potential customers learn and experience who you are. If it isn’t an accurate representation of what you do, it makes it almost impossible to get the traction you need.
- Branding is foundational to any successful marketing. If you spend money on marketing without having the foundations right, you are basically paying to amplify the wrong message. Your conversion will be lower, and likely not attracting your ideal customer. This means you need to spend more and more just to get by. And after a while, it is not sustainable.
- A strong brand is a business asset. Whether you want to keep your business, or potentially sell it, a strong brand is a business asset. It’s like the whole compound interest thing, done well it just keeps growing and growing over time.
Do the work people, do the work.
Jodie + Em xx