In our previous articles on branding, like the Abridged Branding Bible and the 6 Surprising Benefits of Brand Equity – we defined what branding means to us, and why you really want to make sure you nail it. So, if you haven’t read those yet, we highly recommend them just to get yourself up to snuff on all things branding.
Now that we’re agreed that branding is important and something you want to get on board with, let’s look at how much of your hard-won marketing budget should you allot for the branding process. We’re here to tackle exactly that thorny issue with some insight into how we here at Flying Saucer Studio step onto the branding field and work with you to create a brand that you’re proud of, and one that speaks to the very essence of your company.
To do this, your friendly neighborhood copywriters sat down with our COO and branding guru, Anais Aguttes. Here’s what she had to say:
Branding – what does that usually entail, process wise?
Well, we break branding down into two main areas:
- Brand Identity
- Brand Strategy
You can’t have a brand strategy until you have a brand identity, in our minds, so that’s where we tend to start. Our favorite way to begin to get to know a company that we’re working with on a branding project is to start with a Brand Manifesto.
OK wait - what’s a Brand Manifesto?
Of course! The way we think about it, a Brand Manifesto is like a distillation of everything that your company is and believes in. It’s a two to three paragraph document that is the essence of your mission, vision, and values – as well as the problem you’re aiming to fix with your product and/or service. It’s all encompassing, and something that we use to inform every step of our future work together – be it the completion of the branding process, content copywriting, or website design.
How do you create something like that?
Stakeholder interviews are a crucial part of this. Our content copywriting team like to get at least two or three of the main contributors, or co-conspirators, together and learn about them. What’s their origin story? How did they get where they are today? By figuring out what mind-bending problem they’re trying to fix, or how they’re trying to set the world on fire – you get a sense for why they decided to take this crazy leap that’s called starting your own business.
Wow, OK – back to brand identity. What’s after the Manifesto?
We use the Manifesto to start informing the production of the digital assets that will represent your brand both in print and online. This includes everything from your logo and color palette all the way through to your tone and voice guidelines.
Up next: Brand Strategy!
You got it! Think of brand strategy as the formation of who your brand would be as a person. Is your brand a nerdy, twenty-something hipster? Or is your brand a mid-forties professor who’s gone grey early and likes to drink a good scotch? Both of those brands have different things to say and different ways to say them, to very different people. Which one you choose depends a lot on who you’re talking to in terms of target market, but also how the company sees itself.
We often use the 5 W’s when addressing the brand strategy:
- What personas have you developed for your product, or service? Essentially, who are you talking to?
- Define your product, or service, and do it in the language that your personas would understand. If your target market is a young, tech focused entrepreneur, don’t be afraid to use technical terms and avoid oversimplifying your product, for example.
- Are you disturbing an already established market or industry? Or are you about to pioneer into new, uncharted territory? Which one you’re attempting to tackle can greatly change the way you talk about yourself and what you have to offer.
- We talked a lot about this in The Startup’s Guide to Customer Acquisition– part of knowing who you’re talking to is about knowing where to find them. You have to be aware of whether or not your target audience and personas are hanging out on Instagram, or Facebook. Are they reading online newspapers, or listening to podcasts? Knowing how they prefer to digest information and learn new things is practically half of the battle!
- This is where you must address the need that you and your company are filling. The problem you are solving, the thing you are fixing. Speak to them in practicalities while connecting with them emotionally about the problem and you’ll have them eating out of the palm of your hand in no time.
Of course, the key element to all of these things is that your messaging - be it copywriting on your website, articles on your blog, or how you word your social media posts and use your logo – is consistency. If you don’t have consistency, you don’t have a brand. This is why, for us, it’s so important to get all of the major stakeholders together and completely on board with the branding process. It makes them champions of their brand. They’ll pass that on to any future employees they bring on and ensure that consistency takes place. Of course, making sure that your brand book and branding guidelines are easily accessible to everyone plays a huge role in this process.
So how does all this play into cost?
Well, branding should always be seen for what it is – an investment in your business. That being said, the overall cost depends on how much of this you already have in place, how much you’re willing to do yourselves, and where your business is in its lifecycle. Keeping all this in mind, we’d recommend putting aside at least $7500 in order to get started, more if you’re looking for more support in the overall branding process.
Wondering how much you should spend on branding? Stay tuned for our next blog post to see a breakdown of the branding process and how you should budget for your specific needs as a business. Whether you’re bootstrapped, or a well established start-up with a couple of rounds of fundraising under your belt, branding is one of the best investments in your business that you can do.