Okay, maybe that’s a tad on the dramatic side. (What, Leela? You? Dramatic? Just to get attention? Never!) I did just get a new logo designed for a new venture. So, it’s not exactly logos that I hate.
What I hate is this faffing around with logos as an excuse for not doing other, real, important stuff with your business.
There seems to be this ‘conventional wisdom’ *shudder*, that the first thing you should do is give your business an awesome name and then you should totally go and spend all of your money on creating a cohesive brand look and feel.
I was in business for years making quite good money before I ever even thought about branding. Branding is a “nice to have”, not a must have – and anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to make money from selling you a logo.
5 reasons branding is a waste of your time
Reason #1: No one remembers your logo. Unless you’re McDonald’s, no one gives a damn because they’re not seeing it enough for it to sink in. Advertising research shows us that people need to see something seven times before they even notice it (in reality, this probably means they need to see it four, five or nine times) – and even then, how many other messages are they getting a day? Why would they remember yours?
Reason #2: Branding doesn’t sell for you. Sure, it can help the perception of your business as being larger/smaller or whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, but perception is only a very, very, very tiny part of the sale.
Reason #3: Investors don’t invest because of your logo. I know of one company who had no branding whatsoever around their company and was looking for funding. A potential investor asked them about the whole lack of investment in their brand and their answer was simple:
“With limited funds, we decided it was more important to invest in foundational value – product development, sales training, getting the right team members. Getting the right look and feel for the brand is something we’re happy to develop once the foundation is in place.”
Reason #4: Your business is going to change 20 times in the next two-to-three years. If you’re just starting out, the nature of your business – what it means to you, how you want to communicate it – is going to change completely over the first few years of your business. You’ll probably be over the logo that seems so awesome now within a couple of months. Why commit? Why spend the money? Why not hold off and see where things go?
Reason #5: Branding is important. Okay, so I don’t mean to say that there is no importance at all around branding. I do get how a cohesive brand appearance can communicate a message to prospects and clients. My point is simply that it shouldn’t be the first thing you think about – or even the second thing. Branding comes somewhere towards the end, when you’ve got everything else sorted out.
What’s way better than branding is:
1. Sorting out your micro niche, and
2. Developing a Unique Value Proposition that directly targets those people.
This is the real secret to marketing (you heard it here first!):
Marketing is simply communicating your Unique Value Proposition to your Micro Niche. Everything else is details – tactics – and even those tactics rely on having these two things in place.
But more on that later …
In the meantime, please feel free to tell me why I’m wrong…
Leela Cosgrove is Managing Director of Business Writers Anonymous, focused on sales, marketing and business development. She is also a firewalker, has a black-belt in Tae Kwon Do, a penchant for tattoos, and enjoys bands such as Rammstein, Li Bach, Marilyn Manson, Pennywise and Bad Religion.