Branding is Overrated

Branding Is Overrated

Branding Is Overrated

That’s right, branding is overrated. I know you just fainted at the thought of such heresy. Now get  up off the floor and hear me out.

In my humble, but accurate opinion, too much time and money is spent on branding. Too many businesses try to brand themselves too soon and that is worthless. Worthless that is until you and your company have enough customers and sales to be concerned about branding.

Let’s start from the beginning. When should you spend money on branding?

New Business Branding

I’m sure you’ll agree that in the beginning a business SHOULD be more concerned with sales than branding. Let’s face it, as a wise man once said; “You’re not really in business until you make the first sale.”

But how often do we read about or hear about entrepreneurs spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on logos, taglines, color schemes, etc. before ever making that first sale? Most businesses start on a shoestring budget anyway so why worry about branding until you’ve got some customers who MIGHT want to be loyal to you?

The reason new businesses put the cart before the horse is because branding is what they see big business dong and they feel they should do the same thing.

I suggest you take the advice of Jim Cavale and Forrest Warden of Iron Tribe Fitness, “Build the brand with sales.”

Once sales are paying the bills and you’ve begun developing a following, then, and only then,  should you spend money on branding.

Why Branding in the First Place?

We brand our businesses so that when people hear our name or see our logo or hear our tagline it leaves an impression.

If I say, “You’re in good hands with…” I’m sure you’d be able to fill in the blank.

Question? Does that make you want to go out and buy insurance?

Answer: Probably not. But if you are in the market to purchase life or homeowner’s insurance and heard a commercial or read an ad, that particular company would POSSIBLY lead you to a broker or agent.

Branding is also used, as Cavale and Walden discuss in the book, No B.S. Guide to Branding by Direct Response, to develop customer loyalty and identification.

Take CrossFit for example. If you’re familiar with CrossFit you’ll know it has been compared to a cult in its following. CrossFit has a simple logo and tagline, “Forging Elite Fitness.” You’d be hard-pressed to find that tagline anywhere other than the main website, however.

What you WILL see are ad-hoc logos from various CrossFit gyms and Crossfitters proudly wearing t-shirts from their own gym and the various gyms they’ve visited. All-in-all, they see the CrossFit name as the brand.

So branding can bring a sense of belonging or awareness of services or products.

What about a brand such as K-mart?

Branding Can Hurt

K-mart has seen good times and not-so good times. It’s brand like so many others can be associated as a good brand one day; the next day it is considered a low-class brand.

A brand in and of itself, if not protected, can hurt a company. By not maintaining the brand, a company can lose its luster. Let’s face it, who admits they shop at K-mart today? (With apologies to die-hard K-mart fans)

I could give you many other examples—but I’m pretty sure you get the point.

Bottom Line Branding

What should you do then when it comes to branding? I suggest you build your business centered on great product and/or service. Stay customer-focused and provide legendary customer service. Do this and you’ll make sales AND develop a loyal clientele.

Branding has a place in business. It can, and should, separate you from the competition. Don’t, however, put the cart before the horse, “Build your brand by selling,” the rest will follow.

Here’s to your success!

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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