What's the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions rebranding? A new look? A better website? Well, for the majority of small business owners its money, and lots of it. And that is a reasonable thought when the top branding agencies can cost upwards of $80,000.00 for a single identity. A large portion of small business owners likely share the position that a brand just simply isn't worth spending $20,000 on, let alone $80,000, but they couldn't be more wrong.
We were no different when we embarked on our first major rebranding. What surprised me the most was not that it was worth it, but the degree of how powerful and valuable it was.
If you want a quick summary checkout the executive summary at the end of the post.
Think the unthinkable
Having a great brand that you take pride in is an unbelievable motivator of change. It makes you think about improving things that you previously wouldn't have thought to address. Where previously you might not have thought much about your brand or logo, having one you like will ensure it stays on your mind. When things are on our minds, we tend to find uses for them. Naturally throughout your day, you will see things that you think can be improved simply because you have this nice new brand on your mind that you like and want to share.
We were no different. After we completed our rebranding, we wanted to put our mascot onto everything. A lot of things we previously never considered addressing started to become topics of discussion. It wasn't just the tangible things that we sought to improve, we also focused on intangible things like communication with customers and our voice on social media. This is because a brand is more than just a picture with your name on it, it's the physical representation of the guiding principles of your business. It includes how you speak, the way you look, your customer policies, and the general way you carry yourself.
Suffice it to say we definitely came out winning in the improvements department with our new brand and mascot Ubie.
Improve confidence in your company and close more business
Any undergrad business student can tell you that brand impressions help drive conversions and consumer confidence. What they might not be able to tell you is that what the customer sees matters.
If your brand looks like it was made in Microsoft Paint no one in their right mind is going to trust you to renovate their house or sell you a yacht. On the other hand, if your brand looks professionally done and polished, customers will assume your products are going to have the same level of care and polish put into them. That's what builds confidence in your company before you even get to interact with a customer, and confidence is what ultimately sell products.
A great practical example is that a lawyer in tennis shoes and jeans is not going to inspire the same confidence as one in a suit. People naturally judge things by the way they look. So use that to your advantage and present them an amazingly polished brand.
Seeing your impressions
Impressions don't matter if your company looks the same as your competitors. Standing out and being unique is part of what a good brand should do. When you are unique, your impressions are meaningful because they are noticed and remembered. When people notice the same company over and over, they tend to think "they must be one of the best". So you might very well have fewer impressions than a competitor, but the customer will still think you are better because they noticed you more than they noticed your competitor.
Company buy in
One of the biggest challenges a company can face is getting employees to engage beyond the scope of their position. To do that extra little thing that can make a good company great. There are a lot of things you can do to achieve this: bonuses, team building excursions, corporate events, or even just being an engaged executive. One thing that is often overlooked is how much power a strong brand can have on an employee's willingness to go above and beyond the call to help improve the company.
Having a logo, in our case a mascot, that employees can rally behind gives them a sense of unity. It's why all sports teams have strong mascots, and why fans go to such lengths to show their pride in their team. The same happens when you develop a strong brand that accurately represents who you are. Your employees come together as a team to get behind your brand and push together as one unified force to achieve more and do better.
On an individual level, employees can have the same sense of pride in the company they work for that sports fans have for their teams, or business owners can have for their companies. This pride is what motivates people to push past what is expected to what is unexpected. It helps them think outside the box for different ways to express their pride in the company, just as sports fans find clever ways to express their pride.
Great branding can also help with traditional quality of life improvements for your staff. Internal branding for your office can be a powerful resource to help improve the overall happiness of your staff. Just like you think outside the box for customer facing elements of your business, you will find yourself doing so for internal elements as well. You might soon find yourself with a new branded breakfast corner or a great looking break room that your staff can't wait to use tomorrow during their break.
What do we think?
In short, you should absolutely invest in branding. It is the life of the company personified in a single cohesive image. It is this personification that motivates you to improve and stay the course of your core values. You'll find, as we did, that your pride and support of your new image will motivate you to fix problems you didn't know existed, share your message in avenues you hadn't considered, and improve in ways that are surprising. Start your branding process, find out who you are, and show the world.
Executive Summary (TL;DR)
For those who don't have the time to read through the entire article, here is a summary of the main points that are most overlooked when considering a first time brand or a rebranding.
- Higher perceived quality: Customers judge by what they see, having something that looks good makes them think you and your product are great.
- Better consumer perception: Standing out and being memorable will make people think you are the better option because they see you more than your competitor.
- Thinking outside the box: When you have something you're proud of (your brand) you look for ways to use it, which inadvertently helps you solve issues you didn't consider solving before.
- Improved staff morale: Employees are willing to do more if they believe in where they work, and branding helps them believe in something.
- Better staff unity: Just like a sports team employees can unify behind a mascot, logo, or brand.
- Better office environment: A cohesive brand makes it easier to design a great looking and enjoyable office space.