Branding 101: Understanding the Process, Benefits and Costs

Starting a new business is so exciting! For many, opening a business is the most exciting part of the journey. You choose your company’s name and create your logo. You’re inspired by your mission statement and, perhaps, you’ve launched a website and social media pages. It’s all so exhilarating, but, in all your planning & executing, did you open a business or did you also establish a brand


What Is Branding?

Branding, at its simplest, is a marketing concept that involves establishing a distinct image and voice for your company. Your brand is your identity, but brand-ing is what you do to shape it. This is the predominant way of influencing how your customers and the public perceive your company, even before having a one-on-one experience with it. To successfully brand your company, you will need more than just a logo; you need to create an entire experience that grips your audience on some level, be it emotional or mental. 


Is It Necessary to Brand My Business?

To be very clear: Branding is not an option; it’s a necessity. Whether your business is storefront or based online, branding can have a major impact on your long term success. For instance, consider Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal. 


Imagine being on the cereal aisle of the grocery store contemplating corn flakes. You are faced with many options, but your eye is drawn to the big blue box of Frosted Flakes; but why? Maybe the royal blue-colored box caught your eye or the bright image of their mascot, Tony the Tiger. Perhaps you see the slogan, “They’re Grrreat!” and the sound of Tony roaring out the words floods your memory. No matter which element influences your decision, each aspect is an important part of the well-established Frosted Flakes brand. Kellogg’s put Frosted Flakes out for sale in 1952, and today it remains in the top 3 most popular cereals in the U.S. Now that’s the kind of long-running brand dominance businesses dream of having!


Branding is what sets you apart from your competition. It’s your opportunity to make an impression on your audience and influence them to choose your business or product, just like Frosted Flakes. Marketing aside, having a solid brand gives your customers an assurance of consistency, and that gives you the benefit of brand loyalty among your base. 

How Do I Brand My Business?

To build your brand, you will need to create masterful elements within four major categories:


  1. Brand Image
  2. Brand Voice
  3. Brand Personality
  4. Brand Values


Brand Image

This is the visual aspect of your brand. It includes creating a logo and choosing colors that give consumers a feel for your company. Your logo design should be attention-grabbing and you may already have an image in use or in mind. Consider consulting a professional logo designer because there are psychological factors that go into professional logo design. Professionals access knowledge on how to use the psychology of colors in marketing, which can play a significant role in your overall brand image effectiveness. 


Brand Voice

Your brand voice comprises of the words you say and publish, as well as the messages you convey. This includes your website content, social media content, blog posts, mission statement and ad campaign content. Voice takes the visual element of image even deeper into the consumer’s psyche. 


Brand Personality

When branding, it’s a good idea to consider your brand as an individual. We expect people to not only have their own unique look and voice, but also a personality all their own. Your brand is no exception because it has to be designed to reach people, and people connect to what’s relatable. Your customer service philosophy and the environment you create for customers and employees (in person or online) help to establish your company’s unique personality. 


Brand Values 

Millennials and Generation Z-ers are driving the U.S. economy and there is almost nothing more impactful to them than corporate social responsibility (CSR). According to The Millennial Impact Report, millennials care about social issues over institutions and they are largely influenced by their peers. To capture brand loyalty and support with current and future buyers, ensure you communicate which causes your company is supporting. Specifically, choose charities and movements that matter to your current and desired customer base. 


Just as if your company were an individual, be sincere in what you do and your brand values will work for you. 


How Much Does Good Branding Cost for a Small Business?

If you’re trying to figure out how much you should budget for professional branding services, the price range varies greatly. In order to give you a clear idea of how to allocate your funds, let’s take a look at the costs of branding – a la carte style. 


Logo Design Costs

Working with a professional comes at a price, but depending on the route you choose to take, logo design can cost you anywhere from $0- $2,500+. It will be least expensive to use existing software on your computer and design your own. However, if you’re serious about having high quality professional design, the price can range from very reasonable to ouch. A comprehensive logo design service should cover every visual aspect of your brand image. 


Brand Style Guides

A professional marketing company can create an entire style guideline for your company. This may include creating editorial style guides, visual style guides and brand guidelines. These services are especially important if you plan to drive business and traffic online. Marketing strategists spend several hours researching your market and developing a plan to help you connect with your target audience. Services like these will likely cost around $1,000 upwards to $5,000. Well-developed brand style guides will produce a road map for establishing your brand voice, personality, and possible suggestions for building your brand value. 


My Business is Established, What Can I Do About Branding?

You can rebrand! As long as you desire to keep your business alive, you can always choose to re-establish your company image. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog on how to effectively rebrand your business. In the meantime, check out Echo Stories’s awesome case study about how Burberry revitalized its image with rebranding. 


MSDS Entrepreneurs is a team of entrepreneurs committed to helping business owners, practitioners and independent agencies grow their businesses. Take a look complete look at the services we provide.

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