In a recent survey of small business owners, we aimed to find out how many businesses truly have a strategic brand. Some of the responses were troubling.
- Lack of brand values. Almost 40% of businesses didn’t have clearly defined brand values or were unsure about what that even was.
- Confusion. Over 30% of businesses thought that people were confused about what their brand represented.
- Better than your competition? 1/3 of businesses couldn’t clearly define what made them any better than the competition.
- Internal brand guidelines. Almost 70% of businesses had no internal document for their brand guidelines, to help them maintain consistent visuals and messaging.
- A brand that attracts a buyer. Over 60% of businesses weren’t confident that their business’ brand was powerful enough to attract a buyer for their company.
- Brand audit. 70% of business owners say they’ve never done an internal audit of their brand.
- Customer surveys. 70% of businesses said they had never surveyed their customers in an effort to better understand and connect with them.
And the most alarming stat we found…
- Ineffective marketing efforts. 100% of businesses said that they felt like their marketing efforts aren’t as effective as they could be…. 100%. 10 out of 10 small business owners. Crazy, right?
(Want to see how your brand ranks? Try the Brand Evaluator tool)
Weak Foundations Will Crumble
Our findings seem to fall in line with our own anecdotal evidence we’ve seen first hand over the years. Business owners are struggling. Many of them don’t have defined values, leaving them in a constant state of confusion–with no identity to align with. They’re causing confusion in the market and don’t know how to relate with their audience.
The reason it’s so troubling is that the very struggles that many business owners have can be easily traced back to a lack of a brand strategy. When you inject a strategic framework into your business, which gives you tools to make more informed and thoughtful decisions regarding building your brand – many problems that you once had, seem to fade away.
Having a strong and strategic foundation simplifies everything.
In fact, this has been echoed by a number of our BrandGPS customers. After guiding them through our process, our customers can’t believe the improvements they see to their business. Often times, almost immediately. Having a strong and strategic foundation simplifies everything. Decisions that once seemed difficult, now have an obvious answer. The feeling that you’re wasting money on marketing efforts starts to fade.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
You’ve probably heard this said before – garbage in, garbage out. The time, effort, focus, and money that you put into something will be directly tied to the results that you get out of it. This principle manifests in our personal lives, as well as the business world.
If I told you that I wanted to have a six-pack, and a chiseled beach body in 3 months, but then proceed to tell you that my diet would consist of pizza and chocolate shakes, and my exercise would be doing 1 push-up each day – you’d probably laugh at me, wouldn’t you? It would be absurd to expect such great results while putting in such minimal and pitiful effort.
It would be absurd to expect such great results while putting in such minimal and pitiful effort.
How often do our actions not align with our expected results?
- You’ll pay your buddy from college $100 to design your logo, and then expect to reap the benefits of a world-class brand strategy.
- You won’t spend 30 minutes to create a basic survey to send to your customers to better understand them, and then wonder why your messaging and communication isn’t connecting with your audience.
- You’ll wonder why you don’t seem to be attracting as many customers as you thought when you slap your $100 logo on a $10,000 sign.
Whether it’s a priority to you, or not… whether you are intentional about it, or not… whether you think it’s important, or not… you will have a brand. That brand is your reputation. If your reputation is causing confusion, and sending the wrong message to customers, there’s no amount of clever marketing tactics or catchy advertising campaigns that will save you. And as you frantically try and figure out a solution to why your business is slowly slipping out of your control, you’ll waste a lot of time and money along the way.
Branding on a Budget of $0
We hear this a lot. “Your BrandGPS process sounds awesome, and I can really see the value and how it could help my business… but…”
- “We just can’t afford it.”
- “We have other priorities right now.”
- “Maybe it’s something we can implement later on.”
- “We really just need a logo right now.”
These are not good reasons to give up on branding for your business. Even if you can’t afford to hire a professional branding agency like Longitude°, you can still be strategic in your branding. We’ve written a number of articles that could help get you started on the right path, as well as published a free guide called “The Business of Branding.” These types of resources should be utilized and implemented in your business.
There’s plenty that you can do to grow your business into a powerful and profitable brand. Don’t give up on building the brand you want, simply because you don’t believe you can afford it.