Invest now or later in branding?
Whether you’re just getting started out or have an established business, know that there’s only so much you can do by learning about branding…
I get it.
When you’re interested in something or you’re eager to learn more about something, you immerse yourself in it. Like most business owners, they immerse themselves in everything they need to know about something… if it will help grow their business.
Many people who get the “branding bug” often hit us up because they’re constantly surrounded with news clips, Instagram videos, blog posts, books, speakers, and authors who are all talking about branding — and the important role it plays in business.
Here’s the deal. There’s only so much you can do with learning about how to build a brand.
If you want to create or elevate your brand, but don’t have the financial means, consider finding options where you can have a done-with-you solution (as opposed to a done-for-you solution, as in the case with most agencies).
Not all branding agencies are the same, but as a branding company, we have options to collaborate with our clients in a “done-with-you” approach, so that they are led in the right direction (or we can approve the work they’re doing on their own).
For example, if you were to take a course about how to create a Brand Positioning, and you complete all the exercises to come up with your company’s Brand Positioning, how do you know if it’s right? How do you determine the degree of confidence moving forward in that direction?
(if you have no problem there, then I suppose you don’t need to hire someone).
However, the vast majority of business owners understand the value of hiring coaches and consultants to steer them in the right direction.
If you’re a small business with no investors (and you’re self-funding the business), you don’t need to invest the same amount of capital when you’re starting out versus when you’re a bit more established.
It’s not appropriate and it could even be cost prohibitive — unless, of course, you’re independently wealthy or have unlimited capital resources.
If you’re struggling with the decision as to “when” and “how” much you should invest in your brand, I invited you to just make a decision “when” and “how”, as opposed to “if” you’re going to invest in your brand. Why? Because if you’re going to be in the game of business in 2020 and beyond, branding should be on your top list of investments.
Below outlines some pros and cons of working with an independent contractor versus a branding agency.
Weigh the pros and cons for each to determine which one best suits your needs.
- Direct, one-on-one access to them
- Can be less expensive than an agency
- Relies on and has the flexibility to bring on supplemental creative support on an as-needed basis
- At times, may be faster than an agency
- Direct access to them (and for everything), which means they have too many competing priorities
- You get what you pay for (sometimes “less” can end up costing you “more”
- Doesn’t have the shared creative or intellectual capital of working inside an agency
- May be more challenging to access and schedule meetings
- Tend to be more professional with established roles and processes
- Shared creative and intellectual capital of the branding team
- Access to the right people for the right tasks and responsibilities
- Committed to running a business, and unlikely to just ‘disappear’
- Can be too rigid or strict in their ways
- Can be more expensive than an independent contractor
- Depending on the size of the agency, you typically pay more to have direct access to senior executives of the firm
- May be less likely to be flexible and offering highly customized solutions
So, whether you do-it-yourself or do it with a trained branding professional. Or whether you hire an independent contract or a branding agency, invest in your brand by hiring experts, as opposed to simply learning more about branding.