Solutions to small and startup business branding obstacles
When you are small business just starting out, you have to spend your money and time on what matters most for the growth of your brand. Your goal is to spend every limited resource as wisely as possible to increase your business impact and reach. How do you decide what is important, and how do you prioritize skills within your team? How do you develop your product or service and look good doing it? With these challenges, branding can often seem daunting. Worse yet, it might fall by the wayside. Where do you start? Who do you hire?
In this article, we will look at three typical branding challenges faced by small businesses and start-up teams, and how they can be overcome.
Obstacle 1: Not understanding the avenues of modern brand engagement
When you think about small businesses and start ups, you might visualize young, fresh-faced individuals hot on the trail of their freshly-graduated dreams. Perhaps surprisingly, the reality is that the average age for startup founders is around 42 years old, and the age for entrepreneurs founding high-growth companies is 45 years old. Read this Forbes article, and also this article on Business Insider for more information. In South Africa, where our own company is based, we have seen this to be true with our local clientele.
The technologies at play in the branding and marketing sectors are ever-evolving. Increasing potential is being developed, but with this comes the responsibility to keep on learning about them. Older entrepreneurs or Startup founders focused on developing their product or service may not be aware of every modern opportunity for brand engagement. They may use the tools in a sub-optimal way, or feel overwhelmed at the thought of it all.
How can this be overcome?
Never be afraid to ask questions. Hire capable designers and marketing team members who understand the technologies they work with, and who are eager to grow and learn as these technologies keep changing. Make sure that your designer/s and marketing team know the goals you have in mind for your brand. If clear goals are set for your brand, a good graphic designer and marketing team will be able to suggest which avenues and technologies are the most effective combination for achieving these goals.
Obstacle 2: Misunderstanding what your audience wants to know
When you start something awesome, you want to tell the world exactly how awesome it is and why. It is such a joy to describe every technical feature of your product or service in the finest detail – after all, you are pouring all your efforts into it! You are asking yourself “What would I want to know about this?”, forgetting that you already have a wealth of background information baked into that question. As a result, new businesses fall into the trap of explaining these details on such a deep level that an uninitiated first-time observer becomes overwhelmed with information. The first and foremost audience question is: “What problem does this solve for me?” - This is the question that should be addressed in concise terms. No matter how awesome your business is, this branding challenge has to be overcome if you want maximum conversion.
How can this be overcome?
When creating the visuals, diagrams, webpages, content, and social media posts that form your brand identity, always consider that your audience wants to see information as simply as possible, as fast as possible. Ask your audience what their questions are. Think about your product from the point of view of somebody who has never heard of it. Break up your concept into digestible sections. “What problem am I solving?”, “Is it easy?”, “How quick are the results?” and “How Cost Effective is it?” are all good customer-point-of-view questions that can be directly answered with your branding and marketing efforts.
Obstacle 3: Assigning design duties to team members with other roles
With a limited budget, it might seem the most sensible to not allocate funds for a team member or contractor devoted exclusively to design. For instance, you may be tempted to assign design and marketing duties to a single team member. Although it is advisable to have these two roles work closely together, the scope of modern brand engagement is so wide that having a single team member do it all will minimize the impact they can create with their efforts. Both roles require extensive research, adaptability and knowledge. Assigning team members who have the space to dedicate themselves fully to their respective roles will reap more reward for your brand in the long run.
How can this be overcome?
Bite the bullet and budget for design and marketing respectively. If you are just starting out, your design requirements may not be as extensive, and you can contract the work on an as-needed basis. Look for a graphic designer or company that is willing to work with clients at all stages of their business journey. Early market research and planning by an assigned team member will prove valuable, so for the just-starting-out it is advisable to allocate more to marketing than design. When you have begun to develop a marketing strategy, start allocating more of your budget for design. Have the design and marketing departments communicate closely to develop optimal strategies and work with knowledgeable designers who can offer support and expandability for your growing brand collateral.
Read more about tips for effective brand identity in this article.
If you are looking for a brand identity consultation, or need advice about your branding design strategy, contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve your brand-identity goals.
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