What the hell is branding? Why does my little business need it?

If you own a business big or small, it’s everything. Sure it's the logo. It is definitely the logo, but that is just the start of your brand. It's the specific colors, not just red or light blue, but the exact Pantone swatches, the CMYK and RGB formulas to match. It’s the mission statement you live and breathe by. It’s how you package your goods and services, it's how you answer the phone, it’s in your email signature, your tweets, the sign on the door, the tags on your goods, the thank you notes, email newsletters; it's the cards you hand out at those uncomfortable networking mixers, the carpet, the tile in the company workroom, the soap in the bathroom (be honest, you love it when a business has great-smelling soap and you walk around smelling your hands like Mary Katherine Gallagher until it wears off). 

Many people who come to us are just starting out with their business. They’re a startup, and they’ve left their cushy 9–5 for the luxurious 24/7 hustle of entrepreneurship and the hardest they've ever worked in their life. Small companies don't often think they need to flush out their branding to the fullest extent of a McDonald’s or Coca-Cola because they aren’t a global corporation. But it’s simple math. McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have a vast number of products in many, many locations globally. Their brand is on EVERY. SINGLE. PRODUCT. and in EVERY. SINGLE. LOCATION. So your small business that starts with just one location and a website can certainly brand that entire location and the entirety of the product line with some stellar branding. It’s doable because it’s just a ratio.

Start with a logo. Then put that logo on everything.

Start small. Start with a logo, some colors and some typography. Then put that logo on everything. Stickers, tags, bags, the window, your car, business cards; make T-shirts and give them away, hats, phone cases, pens, pencils, notepads...I could go on, but this list is endless, and we’d be here forever. The point is, send your brand into the world to multiply and be seen by all. Make people notice, then make them remember by never going away. No one can afford to put their logo on everything, but figure out what your clientele would use and appreciate. Not everyone needs custom-branded No. 2 pencils, but if you’re a company that sells paper goods, then you do. Someone buys a journal; you give them a free pencil. They lose that pencil at the coffee shop, someone else picks it up, and now a new person knows you exist.   

Not everyone needs custom-branded No. 2 pencils...

You can’t just do one thing though. One well-placed ad isn’t going to bring you all the business you need to make it through the holidays. One brilliant tweet isn’t going to meet weekly sales goals on slow hump-day. You must figure out the right combination for you. It’s overwhelming, right? That’s why there are people like us that do this advertising and design math for you and then help you execute it. 

Many hours can be spent just on fine-tuning one letter, because as the most important part of your business, it must be perfect.

Branding is expensive, but it’s an investment. It is your most prized investment besides your firstborn. Lots of folks are out there making cheap logos. There are cheap cars too, and how do you feel about a cheap car when it breaks down in an inconvenient place? Logo design takes hours upon hours to craft. It's not throwing darts at trendy colors and rifling through fonts on Microsoft Word to find the perfect one. We spend days on them, sometimes weeks. Many hours can be spent just on fine-tuning one letter, because as the most important part of your business, it must be perfect.