There is little that marketers or designers love more than to brand or re-brand a company’s image. New logos, new materials, and new websites are fun and make good money. At the end of what is usually a three-to-six month marathon of meetings, revisions, and heated debates over the right shade of blue a brand is born into the world. It is at this point of having all this sexy and shiny new material for your business that the shocker hits you… It looks great, but now what?
That Eerie Silence…
Where’s that wave of new customers drawn like moths to the flame with your new logo? Where’s that rush of PR to fawn over your new website? Why aren’t social media sites buzzing about my clever taglines and “relevant” messaging? What could I be missing? Most small businesses feel “all dressed up and nowhere to go” at the end of a great branding project. It all seemed so important when we were debating about stock photography, but now it all feels so pointless.
Necessary But Useless
As of writing this, I just finished a branding-binge making a website, photo art, and social media pages for my wife to get her started on a cooking blog (theneuroticchef.com). It was a lot of fun getting it all made, and we both certainly felt proud with the work at the end of the day. But when it is was all done we both still feel a bit of a let down realizing all we really just accomplished was the Internet’s version of “putting your shoes and coat on.”
(The Neurotic Chef - Complete with Photography and Branding!)
Branding is necessary but useless. You can’t go out into the world naked, and if you have to dress up, you might as well look good. But all that work just gets you out the door, the real work lies ahead of you with networking, advertising, interaction, communication, and content. My wife’s blog looks awesome (if I do say so myself) but in the end, it is her ability to regularly update it with great content, interact with her readers, and participate in cooking communities online which will get results.
So How Do I Know If I Have Good Branding?
“If branding doesn’t directly grow my business, then how do I know if I have good branding?” Well, there are two main goals your branding should accomplish:
- Does my message and my image give me and my staff have a clear understanding of what I do, what my value is, and who we are?
- Does it give my customers a clear understanding of what I do, what my value is, and who I am?
Branding is about having a clear path in front of you. It should make you feel confident talking to customers, proud to be seen, and feel like it makes it easy to communicate with potential customers. Think of it like having great tools to build a house, a great suit to wear to a party, or a sharp wit to enter a debate. It’s a great start, but that’s all it is.