Branding is a key component to a successful business, and that includes when your'e first starting out. It seems a lot of businesses regret not spending more of their efforts on branding in the early days.
Do you regret not putting more focus on branding? How high of a priority is it to you now? Share your thoughts in the comments.
A recent survey found that small businesses are spending less and less time on branding initiatives such as logos and other marketing and sales activities when they're first getting off the ground. Three out of four believe looking professional online boosts sales, but don't prioritize that ever-so-important early branding. Meanwhile, six in ten say a company's brand and website influenced their own purchase decisions.
Three fourths of those surveyed said a professional looking website helps attract better customers, according to the survey, which was conducted by 99Designs as reported by eMarketer. The latter utilized data from the survey to illustrate areas SMBs owners and managers dedicated most of their time when starting their businesses.
It's no surprise that finding customers ranks so highly here, but it seems a little odd that logo and branding rank so low given the largely agreed upon importance of these elements in actually getting these customers. Even company, which is obviously a major part of branding is just about as low a priority based on the the findings.
Women invest more time and money into getting a logo and company brand than men do when starting a business, and more women than men believe a professional-looking website is a priority, 99Designs found. Age plays a role as well. the older the respondents, the less importance they placed on the look and feel of their business.
Over half of businesses surveyed think they've possibly or definitely lost business because of a poorly designed site. In terms of industry, real estate and transportation/delivery businesses are most likely to say a company's look and feel isn't important.
"Despite differences among the sexes and industries, most respondents did believe in the power of branding – especially a professional-looking website – to drive and sustain business," the firm said. "More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) agreed that a professional-looking site 'will help me attract a better customer.' Two-thirds of respondents (63%) strongly agree with the statement, 'how positively my customers perceive my brand is important to me' [and] 'Being memorable' ranked second – at 54% of respondents – only to 'Providing the best customer service' as a top priority in sustaining a long-term, viable business."
In its research, eMarketer points to another study conducted in December. This one is from The Alternative Board, and asked small business owners which areas of their marketing strategy they would have improved upon when starting their businesses if they had it to do over again. Over half said brand building, which was reportedly the top response by far.
While not attached to its actual survey on the subject, 99Designs actually has a pretty helpful infographic about steps you can take to improve your branding efforts when you're getting started.
Robert Jones, a strategist at brand consultants Wolff Olins, recently wrote of what small companies often get wrong with their branding efforts, and how to put them right. He says they're not thinking about their brand at all, while focusing on the day-to-day, and focusing too much on ads and not enough on experience. They're not communicating brand values to employees, are failing to innovate, and are being too secretive, he says.
If you had it to do over again, would you put more emphasis on your branding efforts when you were starting out? What are some things you're doing now to improve your brand? Discuss.
Images via eMarketer, 99Designs