Does My Small Business Need Branding?
Unless you’re Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, or any other of the industry’s seasoned pros, your branding efforts have probably been somewhat of a headache. “What imagery will attract the right people to my brand?” “Do I need to use the same fonts on my website as on my business cards?” “What type of content should I post on my social media to convey the right messages for my brand?” These questions and more are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to establishing a well-known (and well-liked) brand. We don’t consciously think about it, but everything we see from a brand—from their website, to their interior office spaces, down to their clever tweets—are carefully and thoughtfully planned by in-house marketing professionals or branding agency experts.
Small business owners face many unique challenges when starting out to create an effective brand. It may not make sense for a Mom and Pop’s hoagie house, for example, to dedicate a large portion of their marketing budget towards branded corporate office furniture, but they can certainly benefit from a cohesive brand identity that sets them apart from the deli across the street. In short, all companies—large and small—need branding.
Where do I start?
Branding for a small business usually begins with a single question: What are your goals? If your goals are to increase brand awareness, then making your brand more visible through social media, branded packaging, or custom infographics might be the answer. If your goal is to re-focus and establish your existing brand, then a reprioritization is in order. If your business doesn’t currently have a distinguishable brand, then it’s time to build one from the bottom up. These goals may evolve and change as time goes on, but it’s a good idea to have these in mind when talking to a branding agency. Whatever your goals are, SFM will work with you to achieve them.
What do I need?
As previously mentioned, it may not make sense for a smaller business to invest in all the branding “bells and whistles” that major brands need. Smaller businesses usually get their feet wet with a new or refreshed logo, updated website, improved social content, and the printed marketing materials necessary to conduct business, such as business cards. These basic brand assets can have an immediate and lasting positive impact on a new or fast-growing business, and will set up the business owner for any improvements or additions needed down the road.
Medium- to large-sized businesses may benefit immensely from a more thorough dive into their brand. Having an asset library, brand book, custom social graphics, and complete marketing materials are must-haves for any growing or well-established business. If your existing branded materials could use an upgrade or a modern refresh, SFM will work with you to create something you love again.
How much should I spend?
Because the effects of branding can be felt for years to come, and the fact that each company has different branding goals and needs, identifying a “typical budget” for branding isn’t easy. Branding costs can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to a few hundred thousand. Larger agencies, who work with major brands, have been known to charge upwards of $500,000 for a brand or re-brand. At Social Fire Media, we believe in a transparent, fair, and flexible pricing model for all of our services. We understand that each client has unique needs, and we want to work with those needs—and budget—to achieve our clients’ goals.
The bottom line
Branding isn’t a short-term solution for dwindling sales or a sudden loss in customer brand loyalty. Rather, it’s a long-term and valuable part of steadily growing and establishing a company’s place in the market and in the mind of the consumer. A strong brand can influence the purchase decision and give a business the unique identity it needs to drive brand recognition and gain brand loyalty in a crowded market.