How much importance do you put on branding in your overall business plan? For many, especially start-ups, branding tasks often get put on the back burner to simmer until there is more time or money. This may be a big mistake, according to this article in Fast Company.
In “Brand Early, Not Often,” author Emily Heyward writes: “While a business may not need strong branding to get off the ground, its chances of becoming a smash hit are greatly magnified by investing in their brand—in the form of sharp creative strategy and great design—from the beginning.”
While there are any number of reasons why branding isn’t a top priority, Heyward says most of the explanations fall into one of three areas:
- “We understand the importance of branding, but right now we have to focus on other things.”
- “We just want to get it out there; we’ll see what sticks and make changes as we go.”
- “Our product speaks for itself. Our [fill in the blank] is simply better than the competition.”
Heyward goes on to refute each of these excuses, leaving readers with a renewed sense of importance about the efforts put into their own brands. But it’s how she concludes the article that really caught our eye:
“But a logo does not a brand make. A brand is much bigger than its executional elements. Building a ‘brand’ means taking the time to figure out what drives your target audience—what they truly care about, deep down, at the most fundamental level—and finding a way to connect with those feelings and needs, through language and design,” Heyward writes. “Establishing this point of connection, beyond rational benefit, requires that you really ask yourself what your audience wants, and craft a creative brand experience around these insights. It’s about putting your consumer first—above your product features, above your personal beliefs or suppositions, and then harnessing the power of design. Can seeking this understanding and connection with your consumer wait?”
We couldn’t agree more. When branding is successful, there is a distinct connection between the brand and its consumers. Connection can be created in many ways, such as through language and design as Heyward mentions, but also through promotional products. (Learn why promotional products work here.)
Unfortunately, as with the big-picture branding decisions Heyward discusses, there is often the same lack of urgency when it comes to incorporating promotional products into branding campaigns. Many marketers decide to purchase branded merchandise as an afterthought, often bringing in a promotional consultant at the last minute or resorting to purchasing items online and sight unseen. This often leads to marketers being at the mercy of what stock is available for short-turn orders, resulting in products that may not properly align with the established brand. Also, product quality can be an issue, with inferior merchandise doing more harm than good to overall brand reputation.
To truly harness the power of promotional products, work with a qualified promotional consultant at the beginning of your branding discussions. You’ll get sage advice on how promotional merchandise can support and enhance your brand—and make all the right connections with your customers.
Want to know more about how promotional products can boost your branding, book an appointment by clicking here or call us at 248-538-4700 to learn how. Mention the blog, and we’ll send you some SMART Swag to get the conversation started!