Many small business owners struggle to describe their company’s branding. Some will say it’s the products or services they sell, and others may say it’s the logo and the colors they use.
In fact, even the gurus of the internet seem to be confused as to exactly what branding is. Some sites define it as “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products,” while others describe it as “the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.”
Trying to identify and describe your company’s branding can be a challenge because there are so many different components that must combine to create a cohesive company brand. To help clear up some of the confusion, we’ve created a list of five of the most common branding myths we hear from clients and added our brief explanations of the facts.
MYTH 1: A company’s logo is its brand.
FACT: Part of this common misconception stems from the original use of a “brand” or symbol that was once used to easily identify ownership of cattle and other goods, but now “branding” has grown to encompass a number of elements that are all used to identify your company and create a brand narrative. Logos are just one very small element of your company’s overall branding. Logos are the symbolic representation of a company, but the brand encompasses many more layers. Logos are just one very small element of your company’s overall branding.
MYTH 2: Only companies that sell products or services have brands.
FACT: Many individuals are brands, think of people like Oprah or Ellen, and even locations like towns and cities can be brands as well. Those people and places embody values, styles, experiences, and more than many can identify and relate to. Many social media influencers take advantage of their own carefully cultivated personal brands by partnering with companies with complementary brands and user demographics to make money through co-marketing and affiliate marketing.
MYTH 3: I can have my company’s branding done by hiring a designer to create a new logo and website.
FACT: Having that done is a great start. However, your company brand is much more than just your logo and website. It’s the overall personality of your company: how your offices or stores look, how your employees dress, the voice your company uses when it communicates with potential customers, the style of your packaging, the customer experience with your company, and the narrative you create to connect it all together. While a graphic designer is an integral member of every branding effort, other marketing experts, content creators, copywriters, and company leadership team members should be involved in the overall brand creation as well.
MYTH 4: Branding has zero ROI.
FACT: While it may be difficult to directly calculate the ROI of your company’s brand campaign, the truth of the matter is that your brand is a core element of your business’ success and can bring enormous value to your company in a variety of ways. Your company’s branding is a valuable business asset that is key to increasing awareness, guiding the company culture, attracting talent, shaping opinions, and growing loyalty. While it can be difficult to specifically identify the exact ROI of branding, there is no doubt that investing in your brand is a valuable investment in your long-term success.
MYTH 5: Branding is too expensive.
FACT: Branding doesn’t have to be a million-dollar effort. Branding is establishing the personality of your company and then using that as a guide for creating a company culture, your company’s voice, the feel of offices or stores, user experiences, and more. Having a marketing agency and designer to work with you as you develop or refresh your brand can actually be a cost-saving experience. Having branding professionals working with you as you go through the process can help you to evaluate your current brand and then work with you to focus on just the areas that need improvement. Establishing or refreshing your brand could just be a matter of doing many of the things you already do in a new and better way.